All eyes will be on Cesc Fabregas on Sunday as he makes his first appearance against Arsenal since his summer switch to Chelsea.
Arsenal had first option to re-sign the midfielder, but manager Arsene Wenger said he had a feeling Fabregas had agreed to move to The Bridge as early as the start of 2014.
Jose Mourinho’s men will be hopeful of repeating the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in last season’s corresponding fixture. Mourinho is still undefeated against Wenger, who celebrated 18 years as Arsenal manager in the week. But the Chelsea boss insists history will play no part in Sunday’s game.
“6-0 is once every 50 years, it’s not year after year. It’s something that happens occasionally,” Mourinho said.
“And me against Arsene Wenger? I never had the pleasure to play one against one against him – beach soccer or something – I never had that pleasure.”
He added: “It was always between Chelsea and Arsenal, and even that doesn’t play an important part in Sunday’s game. It’s isolated, out of context. What happened in the past, happened in the past. This is another match.
“Can we win again? Yes we can, but it’s a big match against a very good team and a difficult one.”
But Wenger is confident the team will learn from its mistakes from last year. He said: “It was a horrendous day and we will never forget it. We have a big hunger to put that right on Sunday. I’m confident that we’ll take that chance.”
Mourinho confirmed Diego Costa will start, despite ‘hardly training’ to protect an ongoing hamstring. The Spanish striker was called up to the national squad for their next two Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Cesar Azpilicueta has started every Premier League fixture so far this season, so is likely to regain his place from Filipe Luis who replaced him for the 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Didier Drogba is unlikely to continue his wonderful goal scoring form against Arsenal. The striker didn’t travel with the squad to Lisbon after aggrevating his ankle injury.
Ramires is unavailable due to a groin strain.
Arsene Wenger is still without long-term absentees Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy. And Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Yaya Sanogo will also miss out through injury. Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry are nearing returns from injury but aren’t likely to feature at The Bridge.
Jose Mourinho has never lost against Arsene Wenger, winning 5 and drawing 6.
Cesc Fabregas has assisted six goals in the Premier League this season, more than any other player.
Chelsea have scored 26% of their attempts on goal this season, more than any other Premier League team.
Arsenal have lost just once since the 6-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in March.