Cesc Fabregas lines up against his former club for the first time since returning to England
Chelsea v Arsenal is always one of the highlights of the Premier League calendar, with Sunday’s London derby having extra spice due to the fact that Cesc Fabregas will be lining up against the Gunners.
Fabregas spent a massive chunk of his career at Arsenal where he made over 200 appearances between 2003 and 2011, although Arsene Wenger was reluctant to sign his former captain when the opportunity arose in the summer.
The Spaniard has subsequently revealed that the presence of Mesut Ozil in the Arsenal squad rendered him surplus to requirements, with Fabregas now an ever-present for a Chelsea side who are the early Premier League pace-setters.
Only Manchester City have prevented them from recording a three-point haul this term and Chelsea are odds-on to claim victory on Sunday afternoon, with Ladbrokes going a best price 7/10 that Jose Mourinho’s take another big step towards the title.
However, the fact that Chelsea are in Portugal on Tuesday night and the hamstring twinges being felt by Diego Costa are two negatives against their name, with Arsenal having a winnable clash at the Emirates against Galatasaray on Wednesday.
Are we prepared to take a punt on the Gunners winning at the Bridge as they did three seasons ago when a Robin van Persie masterclass saw the Dutchman score a hat-trick against a Chelsea side floundering under Andre Villas-Boas?
Odds of 19/4 are plenty generous enough but when you compare the two teams’ records against the other top clubs, then Mourinho comes out a lot better and his side also have an invincible quality which points to the draw being the best value.
One thing is for sure, Arsenal will be desperate to avoid the 6-0 hammering doled out to them last year which saw Kieran Gibbs sent off in a case of mistaken identity, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the guilty party.
We’re happy enough to go for the 14/5 with William Hill that the match ends all square and a potential 2-2 scoreline is on the cards when you consider that Arsenal yielded a similar result when meeting Manchester City earlier this season.
Indeed, the Gunners generally don’t have problems in front of goal and their last away game saw Ozil and Danny Welbeck come to life as part of a 3-0 win for Arsenal, with Alexis Sanchez looking to probe away at Chelsea defence who haven’t been giving much away at the back.