Chelsea vs Arsenal: Tactical battles, talking points and where the game will be won and lost

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·2-min read
Chelsea vs Arsenal: Tactical battles, talking points and where the game will be won and lost
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London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea go head-to-head at Stamford Bridge this evening in what is a crucial fixture in the race for the top four.

The Blues can all-but secure their place in next season’s Champions League with victory but the Gunners’ hopes have been dented by a dreadful run of three succesive Premier League defeats.

Here is where tonight’s game could be won and lost...

Release James

Tuchel admits he cannot decide where he prefers Reece James – at centre-back or wing-back.

It is a good problem to have – but there is no denying the England international’s impact when given freedom to attack.

He remains one of Chelsea’s most creative outlets with his crossing and runs beyond defenders into the box.

That was no better demonstrated than in the last game between these sides in August, when he was on the scoresheet and tore Arsenal open time and again.

Tuchel has plenty of options to play on the right of a three-man defence in Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta and Trevoh Chalobah. But he has no one to rival James at right wing-back.

Arteta must stop the rot

It does not matter how he goes about it, but Arteta simply must avoid defeat or effectively kiss goodbye to his hopes of a top four finish.

Of course defeat, alone, will not be enough to end Arsenal’s Champions League pursuit. But a fourth straight loss could do untold damage to the confidence that was coursing through the team just a few short weeks ago.

It is now four defeats in their last five – and it has been the abject nature of the performances that will have been so wounding to the psyche.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Arteta has to find a way through this match. A point would still be something to build on for the rest of the campaign – particularly against their London rivals.

It does not have to be pretty. It is all about the result.

Tap into Werner riches

Germany forward Timo Werner is arguably enjoying his finest form in a Chelsea shirt and confidence is flowing through him right now.

He is still far from perfect – and there remain doubts about his long-term future at Stamford Bridge - but Werner and Chelsea are reaping the rewards for his refusal to give up.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

He was outstanding against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu, scoring a wonderful goal.

And at Wembley on Sunday, he produced a moment of composure, rarely seen during his time in England, to set up Mason Mount for the goal that killed off Crystal Palace.

His pace and tireless running will keep Arsenal on their toes throughout and might just prompt the odd mistake or two for Chelsea to capitalise on.

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