With the holiday period now behind us, it’s about that time when Premier League football begins to take precedence over the rest of the competitions. In what promises to be a thrilling encounter, Frank Lampard’s high-flying Chelsea side are set to take on Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. The Gunners are coming into this fixture on the back of a tough draw against Sheffield United and will be eager to get back to winning ways.

Meanwhile, Chelsea haven’t been showcasing the best run of form either, having embarrassingly lost their most recent league fixture against Newcastle United. The Blues were caught asleep at the back by the Magpies late on, and to further rub salt into the Blues’ wounds, Issac Hayden even went on to score what would turn out to be a devastating blow for Chelsea.

Team News

Chelsea

The Blues have been dealing with a flurry of injury troubles in recent weeks, and players like Christian Pulisic aren’t expected to return to the side. The American’s adductor injury is set to keep him out, while the Spaniard Marcos Alonso remains a doubt. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marco Van Ginkel both remain unavailable for selection, while Reece James’ knock from the weekend game could see him miss the visit by the Gunners as well.

Predicted Lineup: Kepa; Zouma, Rudiger, Christensen; Azpilicueta, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Willian, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi.

Arsenal

It wouldn’t be overly far-fetched to say that Mikel Arteta has been taken by surprise by the fact that this Arsenal team is extremely injury prone. Full-back options Kieran Tierney, Sead Kolasinac and Calum Chambers are unavailable for selection against Chelsea, with the latter not expected back in action until the start of next season. While Sokratis is a doubt for the tie as well, Riess Nelson (injured) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (suspended) are both sure to miss the fixture as well.

Predicted Lineup: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Luiz, Mustafi, Saka; Torreira, Xhaka; Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli; Aubameyang.

Talking Tactics

Chelsea

The Blues will surely be looking to play this match against Arsenal like the dominant side, and the chances of them controlling the midfield is indeed quite high. The middle of the park has been the Blues’ strongest area this season, and if players like Jorginho and Kante are allowed the time and space to work their magic, then Arsenal could have a real problem. Also, the absence of Aubameyang up-front will offer the Chelsea defenders some respite.

Arsenal

The Gunners will be coming to Stamford Bridge in search of a result, rather than a victory. Arteta’s men are almost assured of having a lower percentage of the ball than the Blues, and they will hence have to be extremely efficient when the chances do come up. Wing-play could become a factor late on for Arsenal as the Chelsea full-backs haven’t looked overly confident while defending since the start of the season.

Key Men

Chelsea

With Christian Pulisic having been out injured for the best part of the last month, the Blues will be placing a lot of their attacking requirements onto the shoulders of Brazilian winger Willian. The former Shakhtar Donetsk man hasn’t been consistent in recent weeks and will be hoping to get the better of their London rivals.

Arsenal

In the absence of their best player in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners will be forced to deploy Alexandre Lacazette in the lone striker’s role. As good as the Frenchman is inside the box, he doesn’t offer the dynamism that the Gabon international does, and will hence have to work extra hard.

Betting Odds

Chelsea are undeniably 1.80 favourites to pick up the three points against Arsenal, especially considering that the Blues beat the Gunners at the Emirates less than a month ago. While a draw is being rated at 4.00, a decent return of Arsenal win can be backed at a rate of 5.00.

Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.