Chelsea’s continued chase to finish in the top four will be put to test this weekend when they take on Unai Emery’s Arsenal.
The fierce London bout, scheduled to take place at the Emirates, will be the last of Saturday’s round of matches in the English Premier League.
Chelsea heads into the derby on the back end of a 2-1 win over Newcastle United last Saturday at Stamford Bridge. The Blues were quick from the first whistle, as they got on the scoreboard within the opening nine minutes through Pedro. The Spaniard controlled an immaculate ball from David Luiz before drilling the leather past Martin Dubravka and into the back of the net for what was his seventh goal of the campaign.
The hosts however labored upfront after the goal, as they didn’t have a solid, natural striker in the starting team, given that Alvara Morata did not make the trip while Olivier Giroud was—as per Maurizio Sarri’s assessment—only good enough for the bench.
This as such provided the Magpies with a way back into the contest, one on which they grabbed with both hands as Ciaran Clark leveled the scores five minutes before the break. The Republic of Ireland international restored parity by getting on the finishing end of Matt Ritchie’s corner with a powerful header.
Jeers rang across the stadium at the interval, and understandably so, as the Stamford Bridge faithful couldn’t hold back their frustrations at the blunt attacking threat posed by their team. It is speculative whether the desperate cries acted as motivation for the hosts, as Maurizio Sarri’s charges stepped out into the second half an entirely different team.
Willian helped elevate his team from their invidious position by scoring Chelsea’s second goal moments before the hour mark. Eden Hazard, who was once again playing as a ‘false number nine’, took on the Newcastle defense before releasing the ball to the Brazilian who cut back into his prominent right foot and curled a beauty that went in off the post.
With Chelsea once again in control of proceedings, and in the full knowledge that a win would help extend their advantage over Arsenal who had lost in the early kick off, the hosts didn’t let their guard down, as the managed to hang on for the crucial win.
Things don’t look as rosier as they seemed during the first half of the season for Unai Emery, as Arsenal fell to a 1-0 defeat on their trip to the London Stadium last Saturday.
The London derby was kept goalless for the first half, only for it to spring into life after the interval. A determined and highly competitive West Ham United side stole the lead three minutes into the second half through Declan Rice.
Samir Nasri, making his return back to the Premier league after a two-year spell in Spain and Turkey, laid the ball back to Rice who sent a superb first-time finish past Bernd Leno. The Gunners just couldn’t find a way back into the match, as Manuel Pellegrini’s side held on to secure all three points that saw them move to the top half of the table.
For Arsenal though, their mundane performance has them fall further from the top four, as the North Londoners are now six points away from Chelsea in fourth, and seven behind Tottenham Hotspur in third.
Eden Hazard odds and specials
|Best Bets||Odds||Bet Now|
|Hazard to score anytime||+130 at William Hill||Place Bet|
|Hazard to score/Chelsea to win||+260 at William Hill||Place Bet|
There is little doubt over Eden Hazard’s attacking credentials, as the Belgium international ranks as one of best forwards in the world.
The 28-year old has ten Premier League goals to his name thus far, providing a similar number of assists.
Playing as a false nine has seen Hazard fall behind in the race for the golden boot, as the Chelsea forward is behind Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who are all level on fourteen goals—albeit the fact that the Belgian has the highest number of assists of all the top ten leading goal scorers in the EPL.
Given his adventurous approach and history against Arsenal, I’d venture to suggest that he stands a very good chance of getting on the score sheet on Saturday.
Arsenal vs. Chelsea betting prediction
Chelsea haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders as much as they did during the early days of Sarri’s reign, but the Blues have done just enough to keep their heads above water.
The Gunners on the other hand have been on a decline, with their woes set to compound again this weekend.
|Best Bets||Odds||Bet Now|
|Chelsea to win both halves||+220 at William Hill||Place Bet|
Arsenal vs. Chelsea recent results
Chelsea 3-2 Arsenal (August 18, 2018)
Alvaro Morata 20’
Marcos Alonzo Mendoza 81’
Henrikh Mkhitaryan 37’
Alex Iwobi 41’
Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea (January 3, 2018)
Jack Wilshere 63’
Hector Bellerin 90+2’
Eden Hazard 67’ (P)
Marcos Alonzo Mendoza 84’
Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal (September 17, 2017)
Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal (February 4, 2017)
Marcos Alonzo Mendoza 13’
Eden Hazard 53’
Cesc Fabregas 85’
Olivier Giroud 90+1’
Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea (September 24, 2016)
Alexis Sanchez 11’
Theo Walcott 14’
Mesut Ozil 40’
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