The biggest game in the English Premier League on this Boxing Day is the one between Arsenal and Chelsea. The two big rivals clash in a very sensitive moment, in the second game of the New Year’s madness. The Gunners are experiencing one very bad stretch, while on the other side, Chelsea tries to bounce back following a few games in which they lost the pace with Liverpool at the top of the standings. Even if the situation was better, the tension surrounding Saturday’s contest would still be high, because of the long and colorful history these two sides share.
Arsenal (+290) couldn’t win in four straight, losing three matches during that streak and managing to get out with one draw against Southampton. Now, what terrifies the Gunners’ fans is the fact that three of those four matches took place at Emirates.
The main problem for Mike Arteta is the inefficiency of his forwards. Aubameyang, Pepe, Lacazette, and all the other expensive stars can’t provide consistency. On the other side, the situation in the defensive line is more or less the same – no consistency.
On top of all that, Arsenal’s players showed a lack of discipline recently, not only with receiving yellow and red cards but also when talking about the tactical part of the game.
Chelsea (-105) recovered from a three-match winless skid with a win over another London team, West Ham. It was 3-0 for the Blues, who dominated pretty much throughout the entire contest, looking good following two consecutive losses.
Both of those failures came on the road. First against Everon 1-0, and the other vs. Wolves 2-1, that one in the last seconds of the event. Previously, Chelsea had five wins on the road, four of them without an allowed goal, but neither of those against the top-level team, to be honest.
When it comes to some pattern for efficiency, Lampard’s side mostly plays matches with just one side netting. That is for road games. In the last eight, six ended with such an outcome.
Ozil is long gone from Arsenal’s lineup, while Thomas Partey’s thigh injury prevents him from playing in this matchup. Martinelli is questionable, the same as Aubameyang, who should be ready for the game.
Ziyech is out for Chelsea. James and Chilwell are both questionable.
Head to Head Games
Arsenal is better when looking at the overall history, winning 78 contests, compared to Chelsea’s 65; 58 ended without winners.
Gunners won the most recent event, in the FA Cup finals, coming back from behind to take the title, 2-1. The previous four encounters ended with both teams scoring and over 2.5 goals.
This is New Year’s madness, and in such situations, tactics are mostly abandoned after the first score. Knowing the defenses here (especially Arsenal’s), we expect to see goals. The odds on over 2.5 are very high, -110, and that is simply a challenge we need to take. The recent head to head tradition suggests neglecting all the current stats, and we are more than willing to do the same.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.