It says plenty about Chelsea’s dominance of Arsenal in recent years that, even during this nightmare campaign, they still managed a comfortable 2-0 win in September.
Chelsea are undefeated in their last eight competitive clashes against their London rivals.
New boss Guus Hiddink beat Arsenal 4-1 at the Emirates in 2009 but don’t expect the same result on Sunday.
Though Chelsea are unbeaten under the Dutchman, they have only won one out of five Premier League games, and sit precariously four points above the relegation zone. Arsenal, on the other hand, are top.
Blues captain John Terry said the signing of Petr Cech would be worth 12 to 15 points to the Gunners, and he’s been proved right.
The experienced goalkeeper has improved Arsenal’s defence no end, and they have conceded just six at home all year.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa has rediscovered form with five goals in his last five matches in all competitions, but he’ll have his work cut out against the consistently solid Cech.
While 13 places separate these two, I think it will be a lot tighter than that on Sunday.
In the past four clashes between these two at Emirates Stadium, three of them have been goalless, with both sides happy to avoid defeat. Hiddink would be delighted with the same result again – and I don’t think Wenger would be too upset either.
Even in this unpredictable season, a home draw against the champions is one point gained, rather than two dropped.
Betway offer 5/2 for the draw, which is where my money is going.
Given the lack of goals in north London between these two, and the way Chelsea set up for a 0-0 at Old Trafford just after Christmas, I can’t see this being a high scoring game.
For spread bettors I would suggest selling total goals at 2.6 with Sporting Index.
Draw 5/2 (Betway)
Sell total goals 2.6 (Sporting Index)