When the snow comes down, we all hope for three things; the schools are shut, we don’t have to go to work, and the football is still on! But then again, given the team’s dire home form, Chelsea fans might not be too bothered about a postponed home derby against Arsenal. After a 4-0 win at Stoke and a 5-1 thrashing in the FA Cup, everyone was expecting a change of fortune. But with more dropped points and more boos – that first Stamford Bridge win of 2013 has to wait for Arsenal on Sunday.
Rafa Benitez’ men will not only be looking to put their poor home form behind them, but the memory of last season’s defeat as well. With a few minutes to go Juan Mata levelled things at 3-3, firing in from range. Buoyed by the late goal, The Blues went in search of another. But, the gung-ho style of Andre Villas-Boas was punished by the irritatingly consistent boot of Robin van Persie.
The last meeting between the two London giants will give the blue half some confidence. Under the stewardship of Roberto Di Matteo (it seems so long ago, now) Chelsea travelled to the Emirates top of the league and left with a 2-1 win after a commanding performance.
Benitez reported no new injury concerns in his pre-match press conference. The long awaited return of Captain John Terry could come on Sunday, but Benitez says a decision won’t be made until tomorrow (Saturday)’s training session. Demba Ba will be hoping to continue his run in the team after overcoming a hamstring problem to net his first goal at The Bridge since joining The Blues.
Arsenal have Laurent Koscielny back from suspension after he saw red for what can only be described as a rugby tackle, in the Gunners’ 2-0 defeat to Manchester City. Midfield duo Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky (both calf) remain sidelined whilst Gervinho is at the African Cup of Nations.
Both teams have only won three of their last six matches in all competitions. But Chelsea will be hoping that history will be on their side – they’ve only lost four out of the last 22 games against Arsenal, winning 12 and drawing six.
Arsenal have conceded 58% of their goals in the first half – the highest in the Premier League. In contrast, Chelsea’s 24 first half goals are only bettered by Manchester United’s (26).
Chelsea have conceded just 10 goals at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League this season. And, have the highest number of clean sheets (9). Arsenal, have the equal best defence away from home, conceding just nine.