Fortunes can change quickly in football. Just a few weeks ago, Arsenal looked like giving Chelsea a run for our money in the top four race. Four defeats in five, with just two goals scored altogether, put a stop to sort of thinking — for now. But there are still eight games left for us (seven for them), and if we take things for granted, the situation can change quickly once again.
After the emotional and physical investments of our recent Champions League and FA Cup encounters, it would be easy to relax in the league given our five-point cushion to fourth (with games in hand) and the title well out of reach. So we must ensure that doesn’t happen — now or in any of the games coming up in what still remains a very busy fixture list.
Date / Time: Wednesday, April 20, 2022, 19.45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Jonathan Moss (on pitch); Andy Madley (VAR)
Forecast: Fairly warm
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); USA Network, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (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: Mateo Kovačić twisted his ankle on Sunday and is expected to be out at least a couple weeks. It’s unfortunate timing for our best and most consistent midfielder all season, though fortunately Ruben Loftus-Cheek appears to be finding some good form at the right time (unlike Jorginho or N’Golo Kanté). Callum Hudson-Odoi (Achilles) and Ben Chilwell (ACL) remain out as well, and while the latter seems to be making good progress, the former seems to be no closer to returning than at any point in the last few weeks.
Chelsea have won a club-record eight away games on the bounce, but we’ve lost back-to-back matches at the Bridge by a combined 2-7 scoreline. That’s not fun at all, especially when combined with all those draws during the winter period that dropped us out of the title race to begin with.
Arsenal team news: The Gunners’ injury list isn’t long either, but it’s full of important names, including Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey, both out of the season, and Alexandre Lacazette and Takehiro Tomiyasu, who are doubtful to be able to return for this one. Still, they have several young and exciting players who can cause problems for opposition defenses, including Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Martin Ødegaard.
Arsenal’s run-in features matches against all their rivals for fourth place — Manchester United, West Ham, Spurs — so they certainly control their own destiny. What they do with that control is another question entirely, but we need to ensure that this isn’t the game they turn things around and catch momentum.
View from the enemy: The Short Fuse
Previously: We have to go all the way back to August and the opening weeks of the season to find the last game we played against Arsenal, which we won, 2-0. That broke a streak of three straight wins for the Gunners. Romelu Lukaku got the opening goal, which certainly wouldn’t go amiss today either.