Arsenal look to build on their seismic win over Manchester City when they resume their Premier League campaign at Stamford Bridge. We look ahead to Saturday’s London derby with our Chelsea vs Arsenal prediction and preview.
Chelsea vs Arsenal: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer predicts a close match on Saturday. Visitors Arsenal are given a 36.3% chance of victory, compared to Chelsea’s 34.7%.
- Mauricio Pochettino has never lost a home Premier League game against Arsenal, overseeing three wins and three draws while in charge of Southampton and Tottenham.
- Arsenal could become the first team in English top-flight history to win their first four away games while keeping a clean sheet in a single season.
Premier League fans have a derby double to look forward to on Saturday, with the early kick-off between Liverpool and Everton being followed by a televised meeting of London giants at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea host Arsenal. Having struck a huge blow in the title race on Matchday 8, can Mikel Arteta’s Gunners maintain their unbeaten start to 2023-24?
Arsenal went into the international break buoyed by their 1-0 win over Manchester City, with Gabriel Martinelli’s late strike deflecting in off Nathan Aké to hand Arteta his first Premier League points against former mentor Pep Guardiola. Arsenal – who have six wins and two draws this term – last started a Premier League season with a longer unbeaten run in 2007-08 (15 matches), and with fellow pacesetters Tottenham not hosting Fulham until Monday, a victory will move them top of the table.
That long-awaited win over City has the red side of north London believing they can go one step further than last season. The Opta supercomputer gave Arsenal just a 2.8% chance of dethroning City after the September international break, but their title hopes have since jumped to 11.8%.
The most impressive aspect of Arsenal’s win over City was surely their defensive display, with the champions limited to just four shots, none of which came from Erling Haaland. William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhães did a fine job of keeping the Norwegian quiet, so Arteta will hope to have the former available after a toe injury led him to withdraw from the France squad.
It isn’t just the defenders getting through valuable off-the-ball work for Arsenal, however. Although he’s best known for unlocking opposition defences, captain Martin Ødegaard has applied more pressures than any other player in the Premier League this season (253), and he is also the only player to record 100 or more in both the middle (111) and attacking (112) thirds of the pitch.
Ødegaard will partner Declan Rice in midfield on Saturday, but Arteta has a few selection dilemmas further forward. Arsenal are hopeful Bukayo Saka will return after missing England’s wins over Australia and Italy, but Leandro Trossard is a doubt with a thigh injury. A return for Saka could see Gabriel Jesus fielded centrally, with Eddie Nketiah dropping out of the lineup.
Arteta went with the added security provided by Jorginho against City, but another former Chelsea player could come into the Arsenal side at Stamford Bridge this weekend. Kai Havertz could make his 100th Premier League appearance in familiar surroundings, and the omens are good for returning former Blues. Twenty-seven different players to have previously represented Chelsea in the Premier League have then scored against them in the competition, more than against any other club.
While Chelsea might face an old friend in Havertz, Arsenal will be taking on a familiar foe in former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine has never lost a home Premier League game against Arsenal, recording three wins and three draws in charge of Southampton and Spurs.
As Tottenham boss, Pochettino faced Arsenal in 11 Premier League North London derbies, recording three wins, six draws and two defeats while seeing his side both score and concede 15 goals across those fixtures.
Things are looking up for Pochettino after Chelsea went into the hiatus with back-to-back wins, with Cole Palmer, Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Jackson adding to Ameen Al-Dakhil’s own goal in a 4-1 win at Burnley on Matchday 8. Chelsea are targeting three successive Premier League victories for the first time since last October (a run of four), though they have lost their last two on home soil.
Pochettino has been hamstrung by a lengthy injury list this season, and the international break has done little to help him recover his stricken stars. Captain Reece James was set to return after recovering from a hamstring injury before suffering a fitness setback this week. Fellow right-back Malo Gusto could come in after serving a three-match ban following his red card against Aston Villa.
Carney Chukwuemeka, Armando Broja and Axel Disasi are all doubtful, but there is more positive team news concerning Mykhailo Mudryk, who shook off a knock to score in Ukraine’s win over Malta on Tuesday. Ben Chilwell, Roméo Lavia and Christopher Nkunku are among Chelsea’s long-term absentees.
Chelsea vs Arsenal Head-to-Head
Chelsea traditionally had the better of Arsenal in Premier League meetings, but that has started to change in recent years.
The Blues have lost five of their last six league matches against the Gunners (winning the other), as many defeats as they had suffered in their previous 25 against them (14 wins, six draws).
Arsenal are also defending a proud record in London derbies on Saturday, having gone unbeaten through their last 15 Premier League meetings with fellow capital clubs (11 wins, four draws). That represents the third-longest such run in Premier League history. Chelsea enjoyed a 20-game streak between 2004 and 2006, while Arsenal themselves went 35 top-flight London derbies without defeat between 2001 and 2005.
Arteta, meanwhile, has won 62.5% of his Premier League games against Chelsea (five wins, one draw, two losses). Of all bosses to face the Blues more than five times in the competition, only Kenny Dalglish (76.9%) and Guardiola (64.3%) have a better win rate against them.
The teams’ last meeting came at the Emirates Stadium in May as Ødegaard scored twice in a 3-1 win for Arsenal, being joined on the scoresheet by Jesus and Noni Madueke.
Chelsea are looking to avoid replicating an unwanted piece of history on Saturday. They have lost their last two home Premier League games, suffering 1-0 defeats against Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa. They have only ever lost three in a row in the competition at Stamford Bridge once, in November 1993, and the third match in that run was a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal.
Arsenal have suffered just one defeat in their 12 games across all competitions this season, with that coming away in France to Lens in the UEFA Champions League on 3 October (2-1).
Arsenal have won all three of their Premier League away games without conceding a single goal so far this season, defeating Crystal Palace, Everton and Bournemouth. They could become the first side in top-flight history to win each of their first four away games in a season while keeping clean sheets in every victory.
They have only started two previous campaigns with four successive road wins, doing so in 1903-04 and 2004-05, and this is just the second time Arsenal haven’t conceded in their first three away games of a league season. They first achieved that feat in 1995-96, though they were then beaten 1-0 at Chelsea on their next road trip.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both Arsenal and Chelsea:
Chelsea vs Arsenal Prediction
The Opta supercomputer has trouble separating these London heavyweights ahead of Saturday’s game.
Across 10,000 match simulations conducted before kick-off, Arsenal took the bragging rights in 36.3% of scenarios, with Chelsea winning in 34.7%. The remaining 29% finished level.
In the supercomputer’s season predictions, Arsenal are still considered third favourites for the title despite overcoming City. They finish top of the pile in 11.8% of our projections, behind Manchester City (73.4%) and Liverpool (12.2%).
Chelsea’s back-to-back wins have done little to improve their chances of a top-four finish, which stand at just 0.6%. Tenth (18.4%) is their most common finishing position in the standings across the Opta predictions.
The list of clubs that the Opta supercomputer believes have a higher chance of finishing in the top four than Chelsea includes Manchester United, Brighton, West Ham, Aston Villa and Newcastle.