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Arsenal v Chelsea: Match preview

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Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side will travel to the Emirates Stadium today to take on red-hot Arsenal in one of the most important matches of the season so far.

This tie carries with it some serious title-winning implications, besides the fact that it's a heated London derby.

Both Mourinho and Gunners' gaffer Arsene Wenger will be keen on putting their best available team out on the pitch for a game that could prove to be Chelsea's turning point in their otherwise uninteresting and predictable start to the domestic campaign, or it could be Arsenal's claim that they are legitimate favourites to win the league.

Let's look at what the Special One and the visitors have cooking coming into the derby.

Only three points back from first with 33 points and sitting at a comfortable fifth place in the table, the Blues will look to dictate the pace and chances early and often.

Chelsea know that Arsenal rely heavily on possession and lulling the midfield to sleep with their deceptive ball-movement, and will look to get on the scoreboard as early as possible.

Chelsea plays best when playing selflessly and quickly in their offensive third. That being said, sometimes they can be too willing to give up the football to seemingly open teammates, when really they should just put their laces through the ball instead, *cough* Fernando Torres *cough*.

Summer signing Willian and the phenomenal Oscar have proven time and time again this season that their on-field Brazilian-bond is a scary threat to deal with for opposing back-lines, with their collective speed and creativity bolstering the counter-attack. 

And lastly, it's almost impossible not to mention Eden Hazard when talking about Chelsea's offensive fire-power.

The 22-year-old Belgian international has really come into his own this season for the Blues, leading the team in Premier League goals (six) and assists (four).

On the other side of the pitch, Wenger has to deal with the loss of center-back Laurent Koscielny due to a knee-injury sustained last week against City.

The Frenchman has easily been one of, if not the best, defenders for Arsenal this season, and his gaping absence will be felt by all.

Wojciech Szczesny will miss one of the larger cogs in his defence, a back-line/keeper combo that has recorded an impressive 11 clean sheets so far.

Another notable loss for the midfield is Jack Wilshere, whose childish antics towards the City crowd resulted in his immediate suspension from the FA.

With these two key-players missing, the Gunners also have a few positive changes to make in the squad.

Theo Walcott netted a wonderful brace against City last week in his first start since September, one of the only positive things Wenger had to take from his sides' embarrassing 6-3 loss.

Lukas Podolski will also be available for the side, and Mesut Ozil is just licking his fingers as his offensive targets grow in number.

Maybe the fantastic German attacking midfielder, whose seven assists lead Arsenal's charts, will turn into Father Christmas himself and give the gift of through-balls to the speedy Walcott and the in-form Welsh youngster Aaron Ramsey?

In his red and white kit, I'm sure that some Arsenal faithful may believe as much.

This should be a really well-played match on both sides. Wenger has never beaten Mourinho and I can't possibly imagine that these two English rivals will bring anything less than their best to the table.

Score prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea

A statement game for Juan Mata, as I predict his inclusion in the squad will result in a nifty goal from the Spaniard to top off a sparkling day for the once-forgotten number 10.

This result would only make the title race at the top that much stiffer, and with five or six teams within breathing distance of first as we head into the New Year.

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Topics:
Premier League
Arsenal
Chelsea
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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