Arsenal and Chelsea square off in their first London Derby matchup this season

There are no shortage of storylines for Chelsea’s visit to the Emirates on Saturday (12:30 ET, NBC Sports Network).

It’s early positioning for the top four, the first matchup between Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger and the usual spice of a London derby.

Table watch


Only goal difference separates the two sides. The Gunners have picked up the pace since their opening-day rout at the hands of Liverpool, while Conte is starting to put his stamp on his new Chelsea side.

Man in the middle

Michael Oliver will be the referee for the game. Arsenal is winless in the last eight matches called by Oliver, while Chelsea is unbeaten in the last 13 matches with Oliver holding the whistle.

Injury watch

Aaron Ramsey is still out for Arsenal with a hamstring injury, while Olivier Giroud is still dealing with a toe injury. For Chelsea, John Terry will likely miss out with a sore ankle.

Stat of the day

Conte will be the 12th different Chelsea manager Wenger has faced in 50 league and cup matches during his time at Arsenal.

From the bosses, part one

“They have strong defensive solidity and will try to catch us on break. (Eden) Hazard, Willian and Costa — we need to stop them. That will be key.” — Arsene Wenger

From the bosses, part one

“It is normal when you start work in a new team and you bring a new idea and method of football you need time. But I’m confident about this and trust in the work. We can improve a lot.” — Antonio Conte

History lesson

The two clubs have met 187 times in all competitions. Arsenal owns 72 wins, while Chelsea has 61. Fifty-four matches have ended in a draw.

An old face

Former Arsenal talisman Cesc Fabregas could feature for Chelsea, based on his recent form.

“I am pleased for Cesc,” Conte said. “He played a good game and he showed me in this period great attitude and commitment during the training sessions and when I call him during the game to come on. I’m satisfied when I see this behavior. I want my players to create good competition in the team and game by game give me the opportunity to choose the best line-up.”


Arsenal have played well since its dumpster fire of an opening weekend, and since it’s early in the season, Wenger’s side isn’t yet completely shattered by injuries.

With that in mind, and thanks to a home field advantage, it’s hard to look past the Gunners in this one.

Arsenal 2, Chelsea 1

About Randy Capps

South Carolina native, Fulham apologist, writer and sports fanatic.