Arsenal vs. Chelsea - England Premier League Match Preview, Emirates Stadium, Islington, North London, England 3 PM EST Monday December 23, 2013
By Jason, Soccer Handicapper, Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Arsenal 2.37 / Everton 3.25 / Draw 3.40
Moneyline: Arsenal +138 / Chelsea +225 / Draw +240
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Arsenal was embarrassed in their last match losing on the road 6-3 against Manchester City, but they are still in first place. However, Chelsea only sits 3 points back, as does Liverpool, so the Blues may be in, at least, a tie for first place in the league table with a win this Monday night.
Before their big loss to Man City the Gunners had conceded the fewest goals in the league. Heading into that match they only conceded 11 goals in 15 matches.
Arsenal has only lost 1 home match all league season and that came in this first match.
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The Gunners are winless in their last 2 league matches and last 3 overall, playing to a 1-1 draw at home before the Man City match and losing in their last Champions League encounter. The squad got some great news this week, as FW Lukas Podolski is fit to play and will be available for the big match against the Blues. However, MF Jack Wilshere is out for this match to serve a 2-match ban for his treatment of fans in the ugly Man City loss.
Chelsea is not in great current form, as they have lost 2 of their last 4 matches. They did win their last EPL match, but were upset in the quarterfinals of the Capital One Cup this week losing to Sunderland 2-1.
The Blues’ defense has conceded 9 goals in their last 5 matches. They need to get off to a good start against an Arsenal side that has scored first in their last 10 home matches.
Last season Chelsea beat Arsenal twice last season including 2-1 at Emirates Stadium.
Both of these teams have pretty even stats on the season, as Arsenal has scored 33 goals and conceded 17 and Chelsea has scored 32 and conceded 18.
Chelsea’s defense has been dicey in the last few weeks and they need to concentrate on keeping Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud in check. These 2 have combined for 15 goals in the season.
Even in the Man City loss there was a Theo Walcott sighting, as he scored his first 2 goals of the season.
The Gunners gave up 6 goals on 22 shots in the Man City match and needless to say they need to shore up their defense for this key EPL encounter.
Eden Hazard (6 goals) and Oscar (5 goals) are the top 2 scorers for the Blues and while keeping them in check is important Arsenal has to really keep tabs on the leader of the Chelsea squad in MF Frank Lampard (4 goals). They need to keep him from attacking from the midfield and keep him on his heels on defense.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Chelsea Recent Form
12/4/2013 Sunderland 3 Chelsea 4 (Premier League)
12/7/2013 Stoke City 3 Chelsea 2 (Premier League)
D12/11/2013 Chelsea 1 Steaua Bucuresti 0 (Champions League)
12/14/2013 Chelsea 2 Crystal Palace 1 (Premier League)
12/17/2013 Sunderland 2 Chelsea 1 (Capital One Cup)
Arsenal Recent Form
11/30/2013 Cardiff City 0 Arsenal 3 (Premier League)
12/4/2013 Arsenal 2 Hull City 0 (Premier League)
12/8/2013 Arsenal 1 Everton 1 (Premier League)
12/11/2013 Napoli 2 Arsenal 0 (Premier League)
12/14/2013 Manchester City 6 Arsenal 3 (Premier League)
Jason’s Prediction to Win: This one is a tough call, as neither team is really in top form. While Arsenal is a tough team to beat at Emirates Stadium Chelsea has had success there in the recent past. The Gunners will play much better defense in this Premier League match than they did in their last one and I see a low scoring match.
Chelsea will be fine with a draw on the road and the Gunners will press early to try to draw first blood. They will do just that and score first and win this big match by a score of 2-1.