Blues face Gun­ners

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

LON­DON. - Arse­nal’s clash with Chelsea a year ago marked the turn­ing point in a sea­son that fin­ished with the English Pre­mier League soc­cer ti­tle head­ing to An­to­nio Conte’s side at Stam­ford Bridge.

Arsene Wenger’s team in­flicted a 3-0 de­feat on their ri­vals at The Emi­rates that day but Conte used the ex­pe­ri­ence to change his for­ma­tion and Chelsea went on a 13-match win­ning league run.

For Arse­nal, it was to be their only vic­tory all sea­son against any of the teams who fin­ished in the top four.

The north Lon­don club came fifth, miss­ing out on the Cham­pi­ons League for the first time in 20 years, and thus go into Sun­day’s show­down at Stam­ford Bridge off the back of a Thurs­day night match against Cologne in the Europa League. Chelsea, mean­while, will have had a four-day break fol­low­ing their Cham­pi­ons League maul­ing of Qarabag on Tues­day.

Although the cir­cum­stances are very dif­fer­ent from this time last year, when Arse­nal were in the Cham­pi­ons League and Chelsea were not even in Europe, it is busi­ness as usual for Wenger. “Wed­nes­day night or Thurs­day night is no dif­fer­ent for us, apart from the fact that it’s a dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tion, but when you play Wed­nes­day-Satur­day it’s sim­i­lar to Thurs­day-Sun­day,” the French­man said this week.

The pres­sure will be on Arse­nal to avoid a third suc­ces­sive league de­feat on the road hav­ing al­ready come un­stuck at Stoke City and Liver­pool, where they were thrashed 4-0.

Chelsea, on the other hand, have once again learned from their mis­takes to put to­gether a three-match win­ning run fol­low­ing a shock open­ing- day home de­feat by Burn­ley. - Reuters.

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