Arsenal v Chelsea: The Key Battles

Arsenal Against Chelsea

Arsenal take on Chelsea this weekend in the first heavyweight London derby of the season. Both clubs have been in fine form and here are the key battles to look out for in the match.

Per Mertesacker v Fernando Torres

Per Mertesacker received a lot or criticism last season when he joined Arsenal as he looked off the pace, sluggish and completely out of his depth in Premier League football. Mertesacker was superb against Liverpool away as he kept Luis Suarez quiet and he did a solid job against Edin Dzeko in the recent 1-1 draw against Manchester City. Torres has only scored twice for Chelsea this season, if he can’t get the better of the German centre back then it will put great pressure on the Chelsea midfield.

Lukas Podolski v David Luiz

Lukas Podolski has played five games for Arsenal in the league so far this season. He has scored twice and generally looks a real handful as he drifts off from the front or slightly out to the left to pick up the ball. If David Luiz starts in the Chelsea defence then Podolski could pull the Chelsea defender out of position. If Luiz does not stay disciplined then there will be a huge hole appearing in the Chelsea defence which Arsenal can exploit.

Abou Diaby v Eden Hazard

A lot of the emphasis is going to be on Eden Hazard to make the Chelsea attack tick. Abou Diaby has the job of sitting in the middle of the pitch and disrupting the Chelsea waves of attack which are likely to come. If Diaby can announce his presence and stop Hazard from having any time on the ball then Chelsea are going to spend a lot of the match on the back foot camped in their own half.

Santi Cazorla v John Obi Mikel

This is effectively the same as the Diaby v Hazard battle with the roles switched. Cazorla has been superb since he joined Arsenal and he is clearly the most creative mind in the Arsenal midfield. Mikel has a clear role in the Chelsea team which is to stick his foot in and make sure that his aggressive nature makes the opposition a little more tentative coming forward. Mikel has started all five games Chelsea have played which will give him tremendous confidence as he looks to shut down Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta v Oscar

Oscar has introduced himself at Chelsea in emphatic fashion with some superb passing and some great goals. He is going to be another attacking threat for Chelsea and the role of Arteta is to make sure that the Arsenal midfield stay organised. If the midfield stays compact then it won’t give Oscar too much time on the ball which will make it easier for the back four to deal with him. Arteta also needs to get the side playing narrow when out of possession to contain the talented Brazilian.

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