Date: 21st January 2020 at 3:19pm
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A Blue Up North previews Chelsea’s home Premier League match against Arsenal.

Chelsea return to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening as they take on London rivals Arsenal in the Premier League. It is a quick turnaround after their extremely disappointing showing away to Newcastle United.

And Arsenal might be the perfect opponents as they look to bounce back from Saturday’s performance. After all in Chelsea’s run of matches over Christmas and New Year saw them lose to very defensive Bournemouth and Southampton but beat the more open Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Frank Lampard’s team have regularly struggled against teams whose defenders sit narrow and are closely protected by a deep lying midfield line.

However, their possession based style managed to outplay and defeat the more open styles of both North London clubs.

However, The Gunners are just at the start of a bit of a revolution. Mikel Arteta is trying to make his new team more physical and increasing their fitness levels.

Some evidence of this is already on show. Arsenal have only lost once in their last 6 matches, but that was against The Blues, at home, right at the end of 2019.

Arteta will be without top goal scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang thanks to his VAR awarded red card against Crystal Palace. Sokratis, who had started to build a partnership with former Blue David Luiz, is a doubt after missing their home draw to Sheffield United on Saturday. Sead Kolasinac and Reiss Nelson are definitely ruled out.

Frank will need to assess the fitness of Reece James who hobbled off at St James’s Park, while Marcos Alonso is back available. Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek still remain out.

We can expect the Chelsea manager to make a few small alterations to his team. Mateo Kovacic could well return in midfield, while either Fikayo Tomori or Kurt Zouma may come in to the defence.

Emerson Palmieri is expected to start if Reece James is unable to play, after all he replaced the youngster during the match on Saturday.

Frank will want to see a reaction from whatever line up he opts for. His desire is clearly for his team to play with the fast tempo they displayed in the second half against Burnley and not the stale, lacklustre showing on display at Newcastle.

The match will be a landmark for The Blues. It is the 200th time the 2 London rivals will have played each other in all competitions, more than against any other opponent.

Although Arsenal have spent long spells in the ascendancy, it is Chelsea who have been on top more recently. The Blues have won 6 of the past 7 league meetings at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal have only won once in their last 10 away league matches. In fact, they have only won 1 of their last 7 league matches and that is why they lie down in 10th place, 10 points behind a stuttering Chelsea in 4th.

But, as stated earlier, this is a changing Arsenal team, and Frank is under no illusion that this will be a straight forward victory for The Blues.

However, without Aubamayang, it surely is a Chelsea victory we can all look forward to, and 3 more valuable points in their quest to maintain a top 4 finish.

Written by Jon Ellis, home and away season ticket holder. Follow him on Twitter @ClitheroeBlue


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