Arsenal needs to pick up their form if they are to stand any chance in the league standings. Both sides are hoping for a top-four finish, but this game could prove crucial. Chelsea sits ahead of Arsenal by six points but it could be altered to three points should Arsenal beat them this weekend. Here are my five reasons why that could very much be the case…
1. The home advantage
The Gunners have never been very good away from home in recent history. While that has slightly improved this season, most of their losses have come away from the Emirates Stadium. In fact, they’ve only lost one game in their home stadium and that was against the champions Manchester City.
While Chelsea is very much capable of performing away from home, there’s no denying they would rather be playing at Stamford Bridge. Both sides have converted their home grounds into fortresses this season, but only Arsenal will have that card to fall back on.
The Gunners faithful will need to be in full voice. Pushing their recent performances aside, they will always be in full voice on a derby day. It’s how they overcome Tottenham already this season.
When these two sides met last time out, Chelsea pipped Arsenal towards the end of the match. However, it was still a strong display from Arsenal to come back from two goals down, which brings me nicely to my next point…
2. Arsenal knows how to unlock Chelsea
I know, I know. Chelsea outscored Arsenal in their last meeting. However, to score two goals at Stamford Bridge is quite some achievement, Arsenal of all clubs will know that. Given the momentum of the game, it could have gone either way. But one thing’s for sure, Arsenal will have the better share of momentum at home.
They can learn a lot from their last meeting, but they shouldn’t enter the game solely from that basis. There is plenty of footage for Unai Emery and company to research from in order to best equip his team, which I’m certain he’s already done.
One player who (most of the time) seems to thrive against Chelsea is Alex Iwobi. The youngster was a regular in this fixture when Arsene Wenger was in charge and it transcended into Emery’s reign. There’s a reason why he’s a regular because his style of play seems to expose Chelsea defensively. He is a flair-driven player, but he is also able to create. I would be surprised if he doesn’t at least feature from the bench in this match.
I expect the North London side to go into this match with an attacking mindset. It always seems to prevail when they approach matches with this mindset. With the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette rearing to go, there’s no reason why they can’t cause the Chelsea defence some serious problems. The main thing will be Unai Emery preparing his men in the correct manner.
3. Pierre-Emerick Aubemyang is gunning for that Golden Boot
While football is always a team effort, there’s no harm in the odd individual effort. When it comes to Arsenal, that individual effort will come from Aubameyang. Given his personality and outgoing social media presence, he will have his eyes on that Golden Boot prize, in which he is currently joint top with Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane.
With Harry Kane being ruled out injured for over a month, the Gabon international will fancy his chances even more. However, in order to get the edge over Mohamed Salah, every match counts as much as the last.
Aubameyang isn’t the most notorious for scoring against top-six teams with Arsenal. However, he finally broke that hoodoo at home to Spurs earlier in the season. He scored twice in the match, and he will be hoping for plenty more of the same against Chelsea this weekend.
He will need his speed and work off the ball to prevail in this match if he has any chance of getting on the scoresheet. I wouldn’t put it past him either, given his never say never attitude. He has the ability to switch things on immediately, so even if the Gunners don’t get off to the best start, you can always count on Aubameyang to come through with the goods.
This is without a doubt the biggest game of Arsenal’s season so far. With Manchester United level on points and breathing down Arsenal’s neck, nothing but a win will do for the Gunners. However, it will be undeniably difficult. I have to go with an Arsenal win, as I can see Unai Emery turning the form around. The top 4 is still on!
Do you think Arsenal can secure three points at the hands of their London rivals?