Arsenal vs Chelsea preview, free betting tips and prediction: Could this be the dawning of a great Premier League rivalry?
Arsenal @ 13/10 with Betvictor
The new era at Arsenal is underway (kind of) and the early signs are positive for new boss Unai Emery. He’s made smart signings, including a top-of-the-line goalkeeper in Bernd Leno, and cut loose a lot of the dead wood the club had been carrying for several seasons. Emery has had a full summer with his stars, many of whom didn’t go to the World Cup. Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had long summer breaks. Of those who did travel to Russia, some returned early like Mesut Ozil.
The German midfielder decided to (unofficially) hang up his international boots after being made one of the scapegoats for Germany’s awful defence of their title. It will be interesting to see what kind of season awaits the playmaker. After such a tumultuous ordeal, Ozil looked visibly lighter in the recent 5-1 win over a weakened PSG. It would be premature to make any declarations about a renewed Ozil but he will be someone to keep an eye on against Chelsea.
Another new era is also kicking off at Chelsea, a club that goes through eras like there’s no tomorrow. Maurizio Sarri is the latest man in the hot seat and he could hardly be more different from his predecessor, Antonio Conte. Sure, they’re both Italian and they’d be more different if they were from different countries. So there’s that statement dismantled. But there’s truth in the statement when it comes to their playing styles. Conte could be described as pragmatic. Sarri could not. Napoli were agonizingly close to loosening Juventus’s death grip on Serie A but could not hold on to pip their rivals to the title. What they succeeded in doing was being declared the people’s champions. They may go down in history as one of the best Italian teams to not win the title. Will free-flowing attacking football be accepted at Chelsea? Of course, it will – provided there are results to match.
Emery has taken the opportunity to field a frontline that many expect will be used by Arsenal throughout the season. Aubameyang and Lacazette up front supported by the likes of Mkhitaryan and Ozil. Playing further forward, almost as a second striker, against PSG led to Ozil scoring the opener in that big win. Ozil also captained Arsenal for that match and Emery has suggested that it could be a full-time gig. It would be interesting to see the effect of the armband on a player who is often accused of shirking responsibility in the big games.
Jorginho has impressed behind the scenes since arriving from Napoli with Sarri. The £51m midfielder has been the only major signing by the Blues this summer. A bigger priority might be trying to hang on to some of their biggest stars. Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, key players in Belgium’s run to the World Cup semi-finals, are believed to be angling for moves away. Forgotten man Ross Barkley may have a bigger role to play this season after a low-key campaign last year.