When and where: The Barclays Premier League match kicks-off from the Emirates at 7.45 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by ESPN, with a live stream available on ESPN3.
Preview: Chelsea travel to the Emirates on Saturday on top of the Premier League table, but are set to face arguably their first real test of the new season. The new-look Blues have profited from some fairly kind fixtures in their first five matches to take 13 points, but even the most ardent Chelsea fan would admit that they are not yet firing on all cylinders.
Big summer signings Eden Hazard and Oscar have settled in quickly at Stamford Bridge and already appear set for starring roles in this season’s Premier League. However, doubts remain about the side’s ability to make the most of the chances their array of attacking midfielders look sure to create.
Fernando Torres is still yet to rediscover his best form in a Chelsea shirt, while the only other established option Daniel Sturridge is currently injured and largely untested in a central striking role.
Any deficiencies in Roberto Di Matteo’s side could well be found out on Saturday. They may have only taken nine points from a possible 15, but Arsenal have been hugely impressive so far this term.
Arsene Wenger has created a new found stability in his side that has been so obviously lacking in recent years. Mikel Arteta has provided security in front of the back four alongside the dynamism of the finally fit-again Abou Diaby, while the center of defense is also providing far more solidity.
Arsenal confirmed their potential to challenge for the title this season as they more than matched Premier League champions Manchester City in a 1-1 draw last week.
The side should be boosted by the return of key defender Thomas Vermaelen after illness. There is likely to be a place on the bench for Emmanuel Frimpong after the midfielder returned from serious injury in midweek. It is still too early, though, for long-term absentees Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky. Vito Mannone will again start in goal in the absence of Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski.
Chelsea captain John Terry is expected to start as he contemplates his four game ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. Frank Lampard should also start after shaking off an ankle injury.
D: Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
M: Diaby, Arteta
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski
D: Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole
M: Lampard, Mikel
Ramires, Hazard, Mata
Prediction: Arsenal will be delighted to be facing a Chelsea side does not include the battering ram that has caused them such trouble in recent seasons—Didier Drogba. While Chelsea are not the same physical force as they once were, Arsenal have improved their own robustness.
As well as having problems up front, Chelsea’s midfield has also looked weak with the aging Lampard and ineffectual John Mikel Obi. That could be a key area and one that Arsenal should have the better of. It promises to be a tight game, but Arsenal look to have the more complete team at this stage and should grab a potentially significant victory.
Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea
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