The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Arsenal v Chelsea preview

We’re back in Premier League action on Saturday when we host Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox examines our opponents in more detail.


Arsenal are now well-accustomed to facing Antonio Conte since his arrival in London at the start of last season, and have the edge over Chelsea since then – two victories, one defeat, and four draws, one of which Arsenal subsequently won on penalties, in this season’s Community Shield.


Conte has generally played a 3-5-2 rather than last season’s 3-4-3, although for the weekend win at Brighton he reverted to 3-4-3. The absence of Cesc Fabregas means there’s less demand for an extra central midfielder, while Eden Hazard and Willian combined well with Michy Batshuayi as a front three at the weekend, so we might see the 3-4-3 on Wednesday evening.


Peculiarly, Chelsea’s greatest source of creativity this season has been right-sided centre back Cesar Azpilicueta, who has assisted Alvaro Morata no fewer than six times by pushing forward into more advanced positions, and then curling crosses from narrow positions into his compatriot. Morata may be out, but Azpilicueta may attempt the same passes. 


Hazard remains Chelsea’s most dangerous attacker in his more central position, combining well with his strike partner and recently having a knack of playing excellent backheeled passes into team-mates.


Hector Bellerin has been troubled by Marcos Alonso’s aerial power in the past, but has the beating of his compatriot for speed and his forward charges may be dangerous here.

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info