Chelsea v Arsenal preview: Eden Hazard set to start for hosts
Petr Cech will play in goal for the Gunners ahead of Bernd Leno
Last Updated: 18/08/18 4:42pm
Eden Hazard could start as Chelsea host Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm), but summer signing Mateo Kovacic is unlikely to make the XI.
Hazard started on the bench for Chelsea's 3-0 opening-day win over Huddersfield, but looked bright after coming on late in the game and grabbed an assist.
Kovacic did not feature against the Terriers after joining from Real Madrid on Deadline Day, and Blues boss Maurizio Sarri has said he is not yet ready to play an entire match.
"At this moment he has to work, he is not ready for 90 minutes but maybe Saturday he can be used for the first 30 or the last 30," said Sarri. "I ask a lot for him, because for me is a very good player and in my opinion he can improve more.
"I think he can play in the three midfielders, it is the same for him centre, left or right. He is a very good offensive player, but he has improved during two years at Real."
Arsenal were beaten 2-0 at home by Manchester City in their first competitive match under Unai Emery.
Petr Cech will continue in goal for the Gunners despite being criticised for aspects of his display against City.
"Saturday the decision is easy," said Emery. "Petr Cech will continue to start the match, I believe in him. If he starts bad, I believe in him also."
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas will not feature against his former club due to a minor injury, but Sarri hopes he will be back in training next week despite describing it as "a very unusual injury".
"He has a pain, not in the knee, [but] near the knee," said Sarri.
Arsenal will be without Ainsley Maitland-Niles after he suffered a small fracture to his leg in last weekend's defeat to Manchester City that could rule him out for up to two months.
Maitland-Niles played at left-back in that loss and is likely to be replaced by fit-again Nacho Monreal, with Danny Welbeck also back in training, but Sead Kolasinac (knee), Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) and Carl Jenkinson (ankle) are absent.
- Chelsea have won five of their last six home league games against Arsenal, with the exception being a 0-0 draw last season.
- Arsenal have failed to score in four of their last five Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge.
- In all competitions, there were two meetings between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge last season, with both finishing 0-0. Prior to that, Chelsea had scored in 12 consecutive home matches against the Gunners in all competitions.
- In all competitions, Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in their last two away games against Chelsea. They've not kept three in a row away at Stamford Bridge since January 1924.
- Arsenal and Chelsea have met 52 times in the Premier League. In the first 26 meetings, Arsenal had a 54% win rate (W14 D9 L3), while Chelsea have won 54% of the last 26 (W14 D7 L5).
- Arsenal lost their opening Premier League match against Manchester City - they haven't lost both of their first two games in a season since 1992-93 (vs Norwich and Blackburn).
- Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's next league goal will be his 150th in the big five European leagues.
Chelsea had a great result and Arsenal's was disappointing. I say disappointing but I don't know what everybody was expecting? That a new manager was going to come in and they'd wipe the floor with Man City?
I'll go with Chelsea, 2-1, I think they'll just have too much for Arsenal.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (7/1 with Sky Bet)