Can Arsenal eradicate their Chelsea hoodoo this weekend?
Arsene Wenger sees his side host a Chelsea side that is still trying to find their feet under new manager Antonio Conte, slowly but surely the former Juventus man is getting improved results as his philosophy is taking shape. There is very little between the two sides. Just five games in and both have three wins, a draw and a solitary home loss to Liverpool. Thus far, Arsenal and Chelsea could not be more identical. Both Wenger and Conte will be looking to pick up where they left off in midweek, with high-scoring away victories in the EFL cup, against Nottingham Forest and Leicester City respectively.
Arsenal’s record vs Chelsea
Wenger has taken a lot of criticism for the lack of silverware in recent seasons, with the increasing presence of Billionaire Oligarchs in our game maybe that is not fair. However, in recent history, Wenger’s Arsenal have been sub-standard when it comes to encounters with Saturday’s opponents Chelsea.
Wenger hasn’t managed a league win over Chelsea in nine attempts, the last win being a 5-3 victory at Stamford Bridge in 2011. Since their last league triumph over the blues, they have only managed three draws and six losses, conceding 15 goals and scoring only twice. Function in that Arsenal have not scored against Chelsea in their last six meetings there is a train of thought that Chelsea may hold something considerable over their London rivals.
Have Arsenal turned a corner in the big clashes?
In the last few seasons, the Gunners have built a reputation for faltering in the big games but getting down to business against the smaller teams, something that has massively contributed to them consistently finishing top four under Arsene Wenger.
Last season saw a change in that pattern, Arsenal had the best record against teams in the top four, taking 12 points from a possible 18 and avoiding defeat. It was in fact slip ups to the perceived “lesser” teams that cost them, gaining fewer points against teams positioned between 5th-9th in the league.
Can Arsenal overcome what has become routine?
It must be remembered that the Arsenal boss was undefeated in his first 17 meetings with Chelsea, then came Chelsea’s “special one”, Jose Mourinho. Wenger still has not achieved a league victory over the Portuguese manager, so maybe the real hoodoo is with Mourinho and not Chelsea.
It is a new era at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte is a manager that deserves the utmost respect, that being said, he is still getting used to the hustle and bustle of the English premier league.
Arsenal have a huge opportunity on Saturday, Chelsea have been exposed by pace already this season, most notably against Liverpool. If there is one thing Wenger has in abundance within his current crop is movement and pace. If Arsenal are to be victorious on Saturday; Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi will need to show their worth to break down a stubborn and resolute defence.
A victory is a must for both sides, more so Arsenal. A second home loss to a Title contender is unthinkable this early into a league campaign. There is a constant feeling that Wenger’s position is only as secure as his last result, unrest will follow in the wake of another failure against Chelsea.
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