Venue: Emirates Stadium, London
Kick-off: 12:45 GMt on April 21,2012
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2
Arsenal host Chelsea in this weekend’s mouth-watering London derby, in a race for third place in the Premier league, after suffering a shock defeat to Wigan on Monday. Chelsea would be looking to take revenge for the humiliating 3-5 loss they suffered against the Gunners in the reverse fixture, in October 2011. While the Manchester clubs are sure to take the top two places on the league table, the race for third place seems to be never-ending with Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and Newcastle United in contention. Arsenal’s shock home defeat to the relegation-threatened Lactics in their previous game makes this weekend’s clash all the more significant. Chelsea are on a roll after beating Spurs in the FA cup semis and the mighty Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions league semi-final.
Arsenal(Probable Lineup): Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Santos: Song, Ramsey: Walcott, Rosicky, Chamberlain; van Persie.
Chelsea( Probable Lineup): Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole; Mikel, Lampard; Ramires, Mata,Meireles; Drogba.
Left-back Kieran Gibbs has a 50-50 chance of returning for Arsenal this weekend while the Gunners’ German centre-back Per Mertesacker is unavailable this season after suffering a knee injury against Sunderland.
Mid-fielders Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin are unlikely to feature for the Gunners in the near future, despite returning to full training, as they are short of match fitness. Arsenal’s mid-field is further depleted by Mikel Arteta’s absence, after he suffered a season-ending injury against Wigan Athletic in the previous game.
Koscielny should replace Djourou, in central defence, after completing his two match suspension.
Chelsea’s David Luiz is likely to miss the remainder of the season after being stretchered off in the FA cup tie against tie against Tottenham last week.
Branislov Ivanovic should return as right-back, having been suspended for the FA cup semi-final against Spurs.
Didier Drogba, who scored two goals in his side’s last two games, may have done enough to retain his place, although Fernando Torres will be hoping for a recall to the starting XI.
Did you know?
The teams have faced each other 39 times in the Premier league.
Arsenal have won 17 of those matches while Chelsea have won on 11 occasions, with the remaining fixtures having ended as draws.
Gunners’ star striker Robin van Persie has scored only once in the last six games.
Arsenal have lost only 3 home games this season.
Didier Drogba has played 13 times for Chelsea against Arsenal and has scored 13 goals.
Chelsea have finished above their London rivals in each of the last seven seasons.
Author’s Prediction: Arsenal 2 Chelsea 2
About the Author (Author Profile)
Gokul is a software professional from Chennai, India. An avid sports fan, he is a keen follower of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Tennis and Formula One. He styles his articles as razor-edge analyses of all the hot and happening events in the field of sports.