Arsenal were storming towards fourth place, but a run of four defeats from five appearances has left the matter firmly in the balance. A defeat to Liverpool at the start of this run was excusable, but losses to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton in the most recent outings are far more concerning.
A lack of output has certainly hindered the Gunners, who managed just two goals across this five-game spell. Failure to bring in a striker during January appears to be haunting them now, following the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona, as Alexandre Lacazette has struggled to contribute much in recent matches with the assists drying up.
The Frenchman has mustered just four league goals all season and even missed the last game with Southampton after a positive covid test, though Eddie Nketiah didn’t fare any better up front and is yet to contribute a league goal this term, although admittedly the 22-year-old’s chances have been extremely limited.
Arsenal have in fact failed to register more than twice in a single game from 15 appearances across all competitions in 2022 so far, while they scored just once or not at all on 11 occasions.
Lacazette remains a doubt for this fixture, while Mikel Arteta also has a couple of problems elsewhere. Takehiro Tomiyasu looks set to miss out again at right-back, while Kieran Tierney is definitely unavailable on the other flank, with back-up full-backs Cedric Soares and Nuno Tavares failing to impress when called upon.
Thomas Partey is also injured, breaking up the most effective midfield trio Arteta has found with the Ghanaian partnering Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard during the Gunners’ best spell of the season.
Chelsea To Win And Under 3.5 Goals
Thomas Tuchel has fewer concerns with just Mateo Kovacic, Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi unavailable, while his side can also lay claim to the better form with victories across their past three outings.
They demolished Southampton 6-0, pushed Real Madrid close with Karim Benzema coming to the Spanish side’s rescue in extra time, as well as earning a deserved 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over a determined Crystal Palace at the weekend.
Chelsea aren’t without any striking issues of their own with Romelu Lukaku struggling badly for form and ultimately losing his place in the team to Timo Werner.
11 of Chelsea’s past 17 domestic games have seen under 2.5 goals over 90 minutes, with the exceptions against lower-division sides Chesterfield and Luton Town in domestic cup action, as well as weaker Premier League outfits Burnley, Norwich, Brentford and Southampton.
Arsenal still seem to struggle when faced with teams of real quality and of their 13 defeats this season in all competitions, seven were inflicted by either Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool or Man Utd.
Each of the Gunner’s past eight defeats have featured fewer than four goals, with seven of them finishing either 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1, so it would be no surprise to see a repeat 2-0 win for the Blues from their meeting at the Emirates back in August.
CHELSEA TO WIN AND UNDER 3.5 GOALS
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