Every so often we get treated to some rare midweek action in the Premier League, and that’s the situation we find ourselves in today as we look ahead to what is bound to be an intriguing set of fixtures across the next few days.
As reported by BBC and Mirror it really does feel like the standout game is going to be taking place at Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea will try and get themselves back on track when they meet London rivals Arsenal.
Old rivals meet again
Aside from Liverpool, no team is really having the sort of season that is inspiring their fans in a big way. You could argue Leicester are doing great but they’ve certainly tailed off in recent weeks, and while they’ll probably still finish in the top four with ease, it’ll be as a direct result of how bad the teams around them are – or have been throughout the course of the campaign.
Right now Chelsea are sitting fairly comfortable in fourth place despite losing eight of their 23 games in the Premier League this season, because that’s just how competitive it’s been since it all kicked off back in August.
Manchester United are their nearest challengers with Wolves and Sheffield United lingering not far behind, whereas Tottenham Hotspur could be a dark horse if they actually buck their ideas up and put together a string of good results and performances.
Down in 10th place, though, ten whole points off the pace, we have Arsenal. The Gunners have already gone through one manager this season with Unai Emery getting the sack, and rightfully so after a really bad start to the season.
All or nothing
Mikel Arteta is being tipped to be the next big thing in the world of management as a direct result of his alignment with Pep Guardiola, but there’s absolutely no guarantee that it’s going to lead to him finding success in this role.
He has won two, drawn three and lost one of his first six games in charge at the club so far, with the one loss coming at the hands of Chelsea themselves. Frank Lampard’s men were able to score twice in the final ten minutes of the reverse fixture to win the game and give themselves a commanding lead over Arsenal in the top four race.
Of course, Arsenal are already stuck behind a series of other clubs before Chelsea even come into the conversation, but this does feel like a bit of a crossroads moment for Arteta’s side.
They need to pick themselves up and really go at Lampard’s men who, in their own right, have to make the sort of statement that would lead the masses to believe they’re ready to take the next step towards the top four.
We don’t think it’s going to be an emphatic win for either side, and if anything, we’re picturing an Arsenal performance that sees them return the favor on Chelsea for the Blues’ victory just a matter of weeks ago.