Both Rafael Benitez and Arsene Wenger will be aware how important this London derby will be in the race for Champions League qualification.
Both teams have endured inconsistent results in the Premier League recently and Chelsea come into the game on the back of a frustrating 2-2 draw against Southampton at Stamford Bridge. After throwing away a two-goal lead, the draw left the West London club with only one win in their past six Premier League games at home.
New signing Demba Ba scored yet again with his third goal in as many games since his move from Newcastle, and it looks like he will once again start ahead of Fernando Torres. John Terry should return to the defence after starting on the bench against Southampton. Oriol Romeu and Victor Moses are Benitez's only absentees heading into the game.
Arsenal managed to edge past Swansea 1-0 in their midweek FA Cup replay, but lost their last league game 0-2 to Manchester City, after Laurent Koscielny’s early red card spoiled their chances.
Midfielder Mikel Arteta is set to miss out again with his on-going calf injury, whilst Abou Diaby should start his third game in a row after returning from injury. Laurent Koscielny returns after serving a one match ban, but Gervinho (Africa Cup of Nations duty) and Tomas Rosicky (calf) are out.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 1.30pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Arsenal 1 (Gervinho) Chelsea 2 (Torres, Mata) – Premier League. September 2012
Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0 - Premier League. April 2012
Chelsea 3 (Lampard, Terry, Mata) Arsenal 5 (Van Persie 3, Santos, Walcott) – Premier Leagu.. October 2011
Chelsea have won just one of their last seven league games at Stamford Bridge – their worst run at home since 1995.
It took Fernando Torres 25 appearances to score three goals for Chelsea, whereas Demba Ba managed that tally in just four games.
Chelsea have been awarded seven penalties and scored six, more than any other side; only two officials have pointed to the spot more often than Sunday’s referee Martin Atkinson.
The Blues have picked up more bookings for simulation (five) than any other side.
Arsenal have fewer points this season (34) after 21 games than in any previous campaign under Arsene Wenger.
No team has averaged more possession on the road than Arsenal (59.8 percent) or averaged more short passes per game (531).
The Gunners have a league win percentage of just 14.28 percent without Mikel Arteta, winning once, drawing three and losing three.
When Arsenal beat Chelsea 5-3 in the respective fixture last season, they became the first and only away side to score five times in a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea to win: 1.89
Arsenal to win: 4.6
The Gunners came back from 2 goals down to win 2-3 in October 1999, thanks to Nwankwo Kanu's stunning hat-trick. Arsenal trailed 2-0 with 15 minutes to go when the Nigerian striker deftly brought a wild Marc Overmars shot under control before stabbing in to give Arsenal faint hope. He then levelled matters eight minutes later by drilling past Blues keeper Ed de Goey. And with 90 minutes on the clock, the striker completed the unbelievable comeback.
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 at 1.30pm. Highlights on BBC1 at 10.25pm
- More about:
- Chelsea F.c.
- Fernando Torres
- Manchester City
- Mikel Arteta
- Premier League
- Stamford Bridge