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Match preview: Chelsea provided chance to end Arsenal’s title race at the Emirates

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea will once again take to the pitch tomorrow night, this time against title-chasing Arsenal. 

A miserable first five games in charge as caretaker manager, Frank Lampard will be hoping to inspire his players to an unlikely positive result tomorrow night at the Emirates.

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Match preview: Chelsea provided chance to end Arsenal’s title race at the Emirates

The first five games have seen a similar pattern – leaky defence, inconsistent lineups, lack of tactics, lack of confidence and a lack of idea of what to do in attacking areas. Frank Lampard was right in his post-match presser against Brentford, the problems this season do in fact pre-date him, Chelsea were in a crisis under Graham Potter, too. However, it does feel like the situation is only getting worse, especially in attack. 

Chelsea had struggled to score goals under Graham Potter but the build-up play to get to those goal-scoring positions was good and even in the game that saw Graham Potter get sacked (the 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa) Chelsea totalled an impressive 27 shots, however only 8 were on target. 

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In Frank Lampard’s first five matches, striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has recorded more shots on target than any other Chelsea player, and he has so far only played 45 minutes. 

A big debate will surround Aubameyang’s involvement will occur internally and online, but one thinks that he should be involved tomorrow night. 

I don’t think any Chelsea fan thinks that Aubameyang is *the* answer, but for the remaining games, he may grab at least a couple of goals that Chelsea desperately need to avoid a relegation scrap. 

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The former Arsenal marksman has over 100 premier league goals and is a presence in the box, something that Chelsea lack and will be looking to address in the market next summer with the likes of Victor Osimhen and Dusan Vlahovic being mooted. 

Aubameyang still has a score to settle with Arsenal after leaving for Barcelona due to internal fall outs with Mikel Arteta. Tomorrow could present the ideal scenario for Aubameyang to deliver the final dagger in Arsenal’s title hopes whilst serving as a remembrance to his former manager and fans of his qualities. 

In his press conference today, Frank Lampard did also give a hint that Aubameyang could feature in tomorrow’s match, saying: “We all think sometimes a player going back to their old club gives them a certain motivation,” admitted Lampard. “I haven’t delved into that too much with Auba himself, so I’ll pick that position on my feeling about how they’ve trained and what the team structure looks like.”

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We’ll see. I’ve got Auba, got Kai [Havertz], got David Fofana. I’m obviously not going to divulge the team right here but he [Aubameyang] is fit and ready” 

Lampard also mentioned that hard work would be the key to success: “They’re low on confidence and they’re also low on performance. I shouldn’t distinguish that and make it all about confidence – you can only work to get a level of performance to then bring confidence back”

So the only thing we can do is consider the moment now, and the future as a club, and work very hard to get the squad where we want it, and also to get the players performing, so that that confidence word is not a big word I’m using in my press conference every week” 

In terms of team news for tomorrow, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella are still sidelined alongside Mason Mount and Reece James. 

 

Arsenal:

The Gunners are enjoying their best season in over a decade, they are currently one point behind Manchester City but could go back to the top of the table with a win over Chelsea tomorrow night. 

Of course, a London Derby could throw up any kind of result, especially if Chelsea are motivated and produce the levels that the talent in the squad can deliver. However, the odds are heavily stacked against Chelsea tomorrow due to the Football that Mikel Arteta’s side have been playing all season long. 

Arteta likes consistency in his selections and this factor has seen the players gel really nicely together – the likes of Odegard, Jesus, Saka and Martinelli all combine really well on the ball, make electric movement off of it and press the opposition defenders from minute one. 

When I watch Arsenal, I see a side that are the polar opposite of Chelsea, they are full of confidence and are lethal more often than not in front of goal. It feels like some games are done by the first twenty minutes as Arteta’s side rip through the opposition with quick, incisive passing. 

Despite all the positives, Arsenal were in first position for over 200 days of this season but have recently surrendered that position with draws against West Ham and Southampton and a loss to title rivals Manchester City. 

Arsenal fan Eduardo Hagn gave us some insight into the recent Arsenal slip-ups and what he expects from the match tomorrow :

“What I believe has gone wrong at Arsenal in the last few games has been the absence of William Saliba, but not because of his presence itself but because of the importance of his abilities to our system. The fact that our RCB is Rob Holding doesn’t help because his style is quite different to the one we have been displaying this season. Adjustments have been made to help out the situation but it just hasn’t worked”

What this proves is that our system itself is very fragile to change and something we need to address in the summer. In terms of the title race, everything is possible until it’s mathematically impossible but it’s now very difficult. We can only go game by game with the hopes that Manchester City slip. I’m expecting an entertaining game against Chelsea with lots of chances and goals. Every derby is played differently and I expect Chelsea to put on a performance

As Edouardo said, defender William Saliba is currently absent with an injury, can Chelsea exploit a weakened Arsenal defence or will it be another spineless performance from the Blues? 

More often than not, you can already get an idea of how the game will go with the lineups that are selected and in Chelsea’s case, anything could be thrown out there by Frank Lampard, he has been too hard to predict. 

Arsenal will likely go with a very similar lineup to what they have had all season and they will be looking for a reaction in front of their home fans after the loss to Manchester City, so my prediction down below will reflect that intent: 

As with Chelsea, they need to make Arsenal struggle and get frustrated, the players selected need to show that they actually care about the remainder of this season, care about the fans and want to win. There should be no bigger motivation than stopping your rivals from potentially winning a league title. 

The Brentford match saw Frank Lampard field just two attacking options before changing it at half time – whilst I will be sticking with the three at the back, there is hope that there will be more attacking threat on the pitch this time around.

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