Arsenal, Chelsea set for triple header
Posted: 3 January 2018 Time: 01:24 pm
The Emirates Stadium plays host this evening as Arsenal and Chelsea lock horns in the first of three potentially season-defining encounters between the sides in the month of January.
First up on the docket is Wednesday’s Premier League clash in north London [21:45], which sees the Gunners sitting sixth in the standings and six points adrift of the final UEFA Champions League qualifying position, albeit with a game in hand over fourth-placed Liverpool.
For the Blues, a win tonight would see them leapfrog Manchester United into second, but with Manchester City currently 15 points clear at the top and still undefeated this season, the west London club’s hopes of successfully defending their top-flight crown remain, at this stage, only a mathematical possiblity.
Nevertheless, a spot in next season’s European Cup is very much the name of the game for the teams most closely trailing the Citizens, leaving everything to play for in north London.
The bitter rivals are then again in action a week later in the first of two Carabao Cup semi-final encounters, with the first leg taking place at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge before the return fixture heads to the Emirates.
And while the Blues may be leading their foes in the league, it is Arsenal who have recent history on their side in cup competition, having shot down Antonio Conte’s men in last season’s FA Cup final, before repeating the feat in the Community Shield at the start of the current campaign.
However, the sides could not be separated in the reverse Premier League fixture earlier this season, where the sides battled to a goalless draw, with Chelsea finishing the game with 10 men after David Luiz, who Arsene Wenger this week ruled out as a January target, was red carded in the final three minutes.
January's London derby dates:
3 Jan - Arsenal v Chelsea (Premier League)
10 Jan - Chelsea v Arsenal (League Cup semi-final 1st leg)
24 Jan - Arsenal v Chelsea (League Cup semi-final 2nd leg)