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Arsene’s Attack Vs Conte’s Defence: Who Has The Upper Hand When Arsenal Take On Chelsea?

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Arsenal will host Chelsea at the Emirates on Saturday, 24th September 2016 for their upcoming Premier League match. The interesting thing about the fixture is the way the two tacticians prefer to play, which is attacking and defensive respectively. While it would be sheer stupidity to even think that Wenger does not care much about his defence or Conte about his attack from the previous statement, everybody pretty much knows that Wenger prefers to emphasise on his team’s attacking while his counterpart on his team’s defending.

Chelsea, are currently level on points with Arsenal sitting just one place below their rivals in 5th place. Having lost their last game against Liverpool, Conte would be desperate to avoid a second successive defeat while Wenger would look to make good use of his team’s present momentum and the home advantage.

After a shaky start, the Gunners are looking like a good unit finally, playing at the desired level and keeping their concentration till the end. As usually, the defence has looked a bit shaky in the first three matches but stabilised a bit in the last couple of weeks. 

Chelsea, on the other hand, are having some problems of their own at the back. Statistically, the Chelsea backline has already conceded 6 goals in their 5 games while Arsenal have conceded 7. When we consider that the Gunners defence have been leaky, it is understandable that Conte is also not very happy with the way his defence has performed so far.

Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte (R) shouts at Chelsea's Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on September 16, 2016. / AFP / GLYN KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
Chelsea’s Italian head coach Antonio Conte (R) shouts at Chelsea’s Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on September 16, 2016. / AFP / GLYN KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

A manager who takes pride in his team’s defensive shape is already working hard to drill his team to his tactical approach. For Arsenal it has always been a matter of confidence and concentration when it comes to defending. With Shkodran Mustafi partnering Koscielny now, it looks like things are getting stabilised again while the attacking sector looks to be full, with exciting options.

With the arrival of Lucas Perez, Arsenal now have a player with some pace who can play as the lone striker. The versatility of Perez also gives a lot of other options to his manager which will be the key when the two teams will meet at the Emirates. Chelsea’s attack has players who can change the game at any instant but Conte has not been able to find the right balance in the midfield so far which has affected the attacking impact.

While this fixture might be billed as the battle between Arsenal’s attack and Chelsea’s defence, for me the game would actually be decided on the basis of how Arsenal can cope defensively with Chelsea’s attacks late in the second half. The Blues have been very dangerous in the final fifteen minutes of the games so far while Arsenal have still not been able to fully kill games and put them to bed before the nervy final minutes, where Chelsea’s strikers have made an impact.

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