There’s nothing more exciting than a classic Premier League derby match. DStv customers can look forward to the latest edition of a classic Premier League London derby, as Chelsea face cross-town rivals Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on the evening of Wednesday 12 May 2021 at 8:15 pm on SuperSport Premier League (DStv channel 203).
While Chelsea have enjoyed a strong campaign, especially since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel to replace Frank Lampard in the managerial position, Arsenal have struggled to build on the progress they made under Mikel Arteta last season – though this clash presents them with a chance to lay down a marker for the 2021-22 season.
“Arsenal have a squad that could fight for the top five in England but this year, because of injuries, it has not been functioning in the Premier League,” said Gunners legend Santi Cazorla. “I have watched some matches and I really don’t understand this situation. Maybe pressure affects the players, this is the only explanation for me.”
Tuchel, meanwhile, has called on his players not to drop their focus for the final stretch of the season: “You can’t be distracted by too many visions and goals that are too far away. I am very happy with the consistency of quality that we can deliver every three days. We play with courage and it is a really high level that we can produce consistently. This is what we demand for in all different setups, whether FA Cup, league or Champions League.”
Hakim Ziyech – The Moroccan attacking midfielder has blown hot and cold through his first season with Chelsea, but the best way to endear himself to the Blues’ faithful will be with a storming performance against Arsenal.
Bukayo Saka – The energetic and versatile Saka has been one of Arsenal’s best players this season, providing drive and consistency down the left flank. The Gunners will hope he can be influential again in this midweek trip to West London.
In head-to-head stats, Chelsea and Arsenal have met in 202 matches across all competitions since the first clash back in 1907. The Gunners have claimed 79 wins compared to 65 for the Blues, while 58 games have been drawn.
When the teams met earlier this Premier League season, at the Emirates Stadium in December 2020, Arsenal claimed a 3-1 home win thanks to goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka, and Bukayo Saka.
Battles to watch
Thomas Tuchel vs Mikel Arteta – This will be the first managerial battle between these two, and with both preferring to base their approach on defensive solidity, it could be a tight and technical battle decided by minute attention to detail.
Timo Werner vs Rob Holding – Chelsea’s German forward has not hit the heights hoped of him for this season, but he has shown promising signs of settling into form recently, meaning Gunners center-back Holding could be in for a tough evening.
Jorginho vs Emile Smith Rowe – The veteran Italian international loves time on the ball deep in midfield, but he may find that in short supply against the energy and discipline of Arsenal’s Smith Rowe, who has emerged as a player to build the team around in future years.
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