Arsenal v Chelsea: London duo may be hard to split

Mikel Arteta may have to settle for a second draw
Mikel Arteta may have to settle for a second draw

Dave Tindall previews Sunday's London derby at The Emirates and thinks the draw looks the best bet...

"There's definitely merit in the draw and, what's more, that's the biggest price of the three outcomes. For the record, there have been four stalemates in the last eight meetings."

1pt Arsenal and Chelsea to Draw at 3.8514/5

Arsenal v Chelsea
Sunday 29 December, 14:00
Live on Sky Sports Main Event

Arteta sees promising signs

The Mikel Arteta era got underway in fairly low-key fashion as Arsenal came from 1-0 down to earn a 1-1 Boxing day draw at Bournemouth.

Ateta's take? "I am pleased with a lot of things I have seen today and a lot of things we practised that happened today. I am not happy we have not won the game but happy overall.

"It's part of the process to learn when it's time and when it's not. In terms of attitude, desire and commitment it was better than I expect. They are not used to playing at this rhythm."

Cherries boss Eddie Howe concurred, adding: "It was quite visible to see Arsenal playing a slightly different way."

Mesut Ozil certainly responded to the recall and was man-of-the-match in several places and Arteta will certainly have to get a tune out of his German star if the Gunners want to climb the table.

They ended Boxing Day still in the bottom half of the table and with a negative goal difference and that's eight points behind Sunday's rivals.

Chelsea chalk and cheese

That Chelsea can lose five of their last seven Premier League games and still be in a Champions League slot with a three-point cushion over fifth place could suggest many things.

It certainly shines a torch on their own weaknesses although it was only a few days earlier that boss Frank Lampard was being lauded for outwitting Jose Mourinho in the Blues' excellent victory at Tottenham.

Thankfully for punters, there's a strong pattern amongst the chaos of Chelsea's results: they're hugely vulnerable against lower-ranked teams at home but can be a real force on the road.

Only runaway leaders Liverpool have won more away games than Chelsea's six and Lampard's men have scored 66% of their Premier League goals this season away from Stamford Bridge.

All that leads to the slightly strange conclusion that Chelsea probably have a much better chance of winning this game at the Emirates than they would at home.

Blues favourites

For Arteta's first game in charge, Arsenal are 32/1 underdogs to give their new and latest Spanish boss a winning start.

Chelsea are favourites at 2.47/5 to follow up what they did against the Gunners' north London rivals, Spurs, and come away with all three points.

The Draw is the least fancied and trades at 3.8514/5.

One somewhat unexpected fact about this fixture is that the side playing at home - whether in red or blue - has lost just one of the last 13 in the Premier League, that run dating back to the top-flight clash in 2012 when Chelsea won 2-1.

Arsenal won this game 2-0 at home last season but either side of that Chelsea triumphed 3-2 at Stamford Bridge and also walloped their rivals 4-1 in the Europa League final.

With two new managers in charge, does the past count for anything though?

This is certainly a tough one to call but, although it's very early, there are definite signs that Arteta is a man with a plan and has the force of personality to get Arsenal going again.

That's balanced by Lampard's impressive away record with Chelsea.

Both will want the win but a point is by no means a poor result for either. There's definitely merit in the draw and, what's more, that's the biggest price of the three outcomes.

For the record, there have been four stalemates in the last eight meetings and I'll play it. One of those was a 2-2 in January 2018 and I quite fancy another 'Desmond' so I'll have a wager at 1312/1.

Goals fancied at the Emirates

Having tipped 2-2, I clearly fancy a few goals but so does the market and Over 2.5 goals is a prohibitive 1.625/8. Unders is available at 2.568/5. If you want to take it a goal higher, Over 3.5 is 2.447/5.

As for Both teams to Score, it's again easy to predict where the expectations lie and 'Yes' is just 1.558/15.

Bookings could offer another way in

There was a recent stat that Chelsea didn't commit a single foul in their 1-0 home loss to West Ham.

But away from home they are willing to get stuck in or make tactical fouls and it shows in the yellow card stats of their midfielders.

Jorginho picks up plenty of bookings but if we add in the filter of road games, he's received six yellow cards in his 12 Chelsea away matches this season.

I was hoping for a better price than 2.568/5 although it still has merit. However, I will play the 3.8514/5 about Mateo Kovacic being shown a card.

The Croatian was banned for the Boxing Day defeat against Southampton but, prior to that, he'd received yellow cards in three of his previous four Premier League matches.

Go a bit further back and he's been booked five times in his latest 13 Chelsea outings so the numbers are in our favour.

Dave Tindall's P/L, 2019/20

Staked: 64.5pts
Returned: 74.02pts
P/L: +9.52pts

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