It might be easy to overlook this game a bit given Arsenal’s struggles this season and Chelsea’s excellent form, but they’ve become a bit of a bogey team for us recently. Starting with the 2017 FA Cup final, we’ve won just 3 of our last 12 meetings in all competitions against them, and we haven’t beaten them at Stamford Bridge since August 2018. Marcos Alonso scored a late-winner in that one, just as he did against Manchester City over the weekend.
The win over City has put the Blues in a fantastic position as far as our top-four ambitions are concerned, and a win here would just about get us over the line — not guaranteed, but close. Leicester City’s win against Manchester United’s B-team yesterday has vaulted them back ahead (and confirmed Manchester City’s title), but three points here would see us retake third and close the distance to United in second to just three points with two more games to go for us after this one (Leicester H, Aston Villa A). United do have one more game left than us, but it is against Liverpool.
In any case, those permutations won’t matter much once the whistle goes, only the three points.
Date / Time: Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 20.15 BST; 3:15pm EDT; 12:45am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Andre Marriner (on pitch); Kevin Friend (VAR)
Forecast: Nice sunny spring day, mild spring night
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA);
Chelsea team news: Tuchel’s hoping to have Mateo Kovačić available for the weekend and Andreas Christensen available before the end of the season, but neither will be available today, which does limit certain rotational options. With the FA Cup final coming up on Saturday, but having rotated half the team last weekend, Tuchel will be expected to field a strong starting XI to ensure the three points in this one as much as he can.
Chelsea have won three on the bounce after the minor blip of just two from five, with the attack producing the necessary goals (two in each of those three) and the defense continuing to perform at near-historic efficiency (two goals conceded in our last seven). Confidence appears very high and it’s lubricating this relentless machine of winning. Let’s hope it continues to purr along smoothly without any misfires.
Arsenal team news: The Gunners once went over two decades without finishing lower than fifth in the Premier League, but they’re on course to do so again, and even below last year’s 8th place finish, which would mean that they’d miss out on European football of any kind for the first time in a generation. Mikel Arteta remains in charge, at least for now.
Fresh off last week’s elimination in the Europa League semifinals (against Villarreal, led by their former head coach, Unai Emery), Arsenal did beat West Brom over the weekend, with our old friend Willian scoring the last goal in the 3-1 win to finally open his Arsenal account. Our other old friend, David Luiz, is currently injured. Granit Xhaka, Pablo Mari, and Emile Smith Rowe are also out.
Arsenal may be a clowncar, but they still have plenty of very good players, some of whom are hitting a bit of form. January loan arrival from Real Madrid, Martin Ødegaard has been reminding people of the hype that once surrounded him, while Bukayo Saka has plenty of hype surrounding him still (and not misplaced). Kieran Tierney is back healthy at left back and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still around as well, and will surely relish a reunion with his former boss at Borussia Dortmund.
View from the enemy: The Short Fuse
Previously: Winless in our last three against Arsenal, so here’s the 3-2 win mentioned at the top from the start of the Sarri-ball business, with Alonso rescuing the points late.