Premier League: Arsenal v Chelsea, Preview, Team News, Injuries, Where to Watch Live
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | September 29, 2012 5:37 PM EST
Arsenal will look to continue an encouraging upturn in fortune and mark themselves as genuine title contenders with a win over the reigning European champions, in their first London derby of the season.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 12.45pm BST and live coverage is available on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports HD 2. Live radio commentary will be available on BBC Radio 5 live and through Chelsea TV and real time updates will be available via Gamecast on Soccernet. Registered Arsenal.com members can follow the action live via Arsenal Player.
Arsenal and Chelsea are both in good form going into this game, with the Blues particularly impressive in the league. Both sides are on unbeaten runs, with the Gunners yet to lose a competitive game this season. Roberto Di Matteo's side were dismissed 1-4 by Spanish side Atletico Madrid and narrowly pipped to the Community Shield, 2-3 by Manchester City, in their only two defeats so far; the last, against Atletico, was in August.
More pertinently, the two sides, along with City, are the only unbeaten teams (of the main challengers; the other is Stoke City) in the league and go into this game in superb goal scoring form - the Gunners and the Blues each put six goals past midweek Capital One Cup opponents.
Chelsea are top of the league for now, with 13 points from five games, while Arsenal have nine. However, the European champions have had, arguably, an easier fixture list so far, with a game against Newcastle United the toughest league encounter so far. Arsenal, on the other hand, have had to travel to the Etihad and Anfield.
Arsenal's last league game was the trip to City and it was a good one... the Gunners snatched a 1-1 draw to go with the 2-0 away win at Liverpool. Chelsea's last league game was a hard-fought win over Stoke City.
- Last Five (Most recent first) - W D W W W
- Most recent result - Arsenal 6 - 1 Coventry City
- Last Five (Most recent first) - W W D D L
- Most recent result - Chelsea 6- 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
The Gunners have had an excellent last couple of games. The well-earned 2-1 away win over Montpellier, in the opening game of this season's Champions League, was followed by a comprehensive win, midweek, in the Capital One Cup and, most importantly, new signing Olivier Giroud now has his first Arsenal goal.
The Frenchman was coming under increasing pressure to score for his new club, after fellow new signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla scored to give the Gunners a priceless 2-0 away win at Liverpool. However, if Giroud picks up where he left off against Coventry City, the spectre of Robin van Persie may finally be banished... memories of that brilliant hat-trick in the exciting 5-3 win last season will still be fresh in some people's minds.
The problem for manager Arsene Wenger is that he still has considerable injury problems. French defender Bacary Sagna and Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky are both still unavailable, and while youngster Emmanuel Frimpong and Jack Wilshere have both recovered from their injuries, they lack match fitness for this game and will not be risked. In addition, first choice goal keeper Wojciech Szczesny remains unavailable. The good news is that influential central defender Thomas Vermaelen should be ready to play.
Arsenal Probable Line-Up: Mannone; Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Ramsey, Cazorla; Diaby, Arteta, Podolski; Gervinho.
The Blues will be without striker Daniel Sturridge, who remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. However, new signing Marko Marin seems to have fully recovered from his knocks and finally made his Chelsea debut as a second-half substitute against Wolves. He is unlikely to start this game, but may again make a short appearance. Di Matteo will also welcome the return of veteran midfielder Frank Lampard. The 34-year-old England international's presence in the centre of the park could be vital in a high-profile game like this. The troubled John Terry is fit and available for this game - his four-match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand still depends on the result of his appeal.
Chelsea will probably start with Spanish striker Fernando Torres, despite his poor performance against Stoke, but will look to the attacking trio of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar behind him for creative inspiration and goals. They will undoubtedly miss their former striker Didier Drogba. The Ivory Coast centre forward was ruthless against Arsenal, scoring against them 13 times in his six years at Stamford Bridge.
"I don't know how much Chelsea miss him, but we don't miss him! He did a lot of damage against us in every game," Wenger admitted.
Brazilian midfielder Oscar will be a certain goal threat, as his two goals against Juventus in the opening Champions League game showed. In addition, the fact that Hazard, Mata and the Brazilian enjoy running at defenders with the ball should make this a very difficult match for the Arsenal back four.
Chelsea Probable Line-Up: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Lampard, Mikel; Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres
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