You already know all you need to know about Arsenal v. Chelsea but here are a few other facts:
Hazard is basically their only dribbling threat. He has 40 successful dribbles in away games. Arsenal need to contain him because he’s also Chelsea’s main creative threat with 4 big chances created in away games.
One stat that surprised me is that Azpilicueta also has 4 big chances created in away games and he’s got 3 assists. He also has the most accurate long balls and he’s their fourth most active passer in the opposition final third. I guess he’s their secret threat?
The bad news is that Chelsea play a sort of “negative” football. By this I mean that in away games they just shut everything down. Over their 10 away games they have an xGf average of just 1.45 per game and an xGa of 0.96 per game. Those are tight margins.
Chelsea’s game plan is pretty simple: keep it tight, try to score first. If they don’t score first, and they have 10 of their 18 away goals in the first half of games, they ALWAYS drop points.
Arsenal should come out attacking in the first 30 minutes or maybe not.. I can’t tell! Arsenal’s xGf per game average at home is 2.75 and xGa per game average is just 1.11. However, Liverpool and Man U put a combined 4 xG past Arsenal and an actual goals of 7. Both Liverpool and Man U scored first against Arsenal in those games and United in particular got off to a smoking hot start with two goals in 11 minutes.
Arsenal’s other main problem today is injuries. Kolasinac and Ramsey have created the most big chances at home this season with 5 apiece but both are out injured. Meanwhile, Koscielny has a flare-up of his chronic Achilles problem and is also out. And Ozil, who has 4 big chances created is also probably out. This makes the game a lot easier for Chelsea as they only need to mark one player: Alexis Sanchez.
The drop off in quality after Alexis is pretty steep. Arsenal need a big game from Jack Wilshere in CM (he hasn’t created a single big chance at home this season) and it would be interesting to see if Wenger plays Theo Walcott – Walcott loves to score on Chelsea.
One last thing to look for: Xhaka is Arsenal’s most dribbled past player, but Alexis is actually Arsenal’s second most dribbled past player in home games. I’m looking for what Wilshere can do against Kante and Bakayoko, how Xhaka helps him in attack, and how the whole team defends and attacks against Chelsea’s main three mids: Fabregas, Kante, and Bakayoko.