Chelsea (+190) at Arsenal (+120), Draw (+230)
Before they can enter a particularly cushy part of their 2016-17 schedule, Arsenal (3-1-1, 10 pts) will need to bring their all against Chelsea (3-1-1, 10 pts) this weekend. The Blues have had the Gunners number in recent years, and will look to keep things that way when they visit Emirates Stadium this Saturday (12:30 PM Eastern).
Arsenal have been dogged by injuries to start their campaign, with midfielder Aaron Ramsey and striker Olivier Giroud unlikely to play this weekend. They’ll join Danny Welbeck, Per Mertesacker, and Carl Jenkinson – a trio that has yet to touch the field this season – on the sidelines.
Once the Gunners get through this game, things get remarkably easier, playing teams in the bottom-third of the Premier League all October, while drawing their easiest Champions League matches against Ludogorets and F.C. Basel. With things easing up after this, it’s really a game Arsenal should empty the tank for, given their struggles against Chelsea.
The Gunners haven’t gotten a win over Chelsea in nine-straight EPL games, dating back to 2011. In fact, they haven’t even mustered a goal against the Blues in their last six league games. But this season, the Blues haven’t looked like a Chelsea squad of old.
Under new manager Antonio Conte, Chelsea’s backline has experienced some growing pains, conceding six goals over their past three games. They’ll hope to have captain John Terry back in the lineup to provide some stability for their struggling defense.
There’s no question Chelsea can find ways to score against Arsenal, with league-leading striker Diego Costa up front and Cesc Fabregas showing well off the bench this week, scoring a pair against Leicester City in their 4-2 EFL Cup win on Tuesday. The only thing left to ponder is whether they can limit a powerful Gunners attack.
However, given their historical dominance over Arsenal, Chelsea looks to be the better value play in this spot. Take the Blues to surge past the Gunners in the standings.
Pick: Chelsea (+190).
(Photo Credit: Wonker (originally posted to Flickr as Arsenal vs Chelsea) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)