Super Sunday has spoiled us this afternoon with the two fixtures that are on offer and the first one is arguably the biggest as defending Premier League champions Chelsea play host to Arsenal who come to Stamford Bridge fresh off of their first win in what is the unfounded territory which is Thursday night and the Europa League.
Chelsea were supposedly in a crisis on the first weekend of the season after that shock 3-2 defeat to Burnley but if three wins in a row thereafter constitutes a crisis then I think the other nineteen teams in this division will be queing up to have one of their own. That run of results has seen them move into third place in the table just a point behind two Manchester clubs at the start of the weekend.
The fact that the top three places are already locked out by the trio of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte does make for slightly ominous reading and I would not be all that surprised if this was how it finished come next May. That may well be the clubs but that said I think it is far too early to start predicting the exact order in which they will end up
Last Saturday saw Chelsea well tested by Leicester as the 2016 champions played host to the 2017 edition. Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante placed Antonio Conte’s men into a two nil lead and although Jamie Vardy’s penalty halved the deficit and set up something of a grandstand finish they manage to come away unscathed from the King Power Stadium.
Today’s opponents have won their last two matches in all competitions as they look to put the August abberation of Anfield behind them. A routine but more importantly much welcomed 3-0 win over Bournemouth was the order of last Saturday and they then eventually got the better of Cologne on Thursday night in the Europa League.
And it is Arsene Wenger who has got the better of Antonio Conte in terms of their domestic head to head record – it currently stands at three wins for Wenger to Conte’s one (that is if we work on the assumption that the Community Shield penalty shoot out victory for Arsenal is classed as a win) Not only that but Wenger has managed to pick up two pieces of silverware in the process.
An F.A. Cup and Community Shield victory are all very well but if you were to ask Arsene Wenger if he would swap those two for Premier League success then he would be lying if he said he was happy with what he already has. That said the fact he has been able to get the better of Conte across the space of the last year or so must be something of a positive.
It is a positive that he is going to have to undoubtedly use this afternoon if he is to have any chance of earning a victory. It may only be the fifth week of the season but this fixture already takes on high stakes for The Gunners. After two defeats on the road a third one will not be very popular with their vocal fanbase and it could see those papered cracks start to show once again.
Chelsea are certainly the form team and they will have their tails up especially after making such easy work of a hapless Qarabag side in midweek during Champions League duty. Add into the mix that Arsenal have got to play Thursday-Sunday and it will be an interesting test to see how they can cope with the demands that Europe’s second tier club competition can bring.
It certainly takes on the mantle of a must not lose game for Arsenal, a point would undoubtedly suit them better then it would Chelsea. But I reckon this could be the afternoon where Antonio Conte exacts some revenge for being thwarted in terms of winning additional silverware. This is when it really matters and I think it will bring all three points to Chelsea.
Here is what social media thinks will happen
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) September 13, 2017