This game today when Chelsea visit the Emirates is just about the most crucial match in the Top Four race so far this season. Arsenal are in danger of dropping 9 points behind the Blues if we lose, while Chelsea will have both us and Man United breathing down their necks if Arsenal win. This is the quintessential six-pointer!
Both managers are more than aware of the high stakes involved. As the Blues boss Sarri said: “..This match for us is a risk, and an opportunity,”
“A risk, of course, because they’re doing very well at home, so it’s a very difficult and dangerous match for us. And, as you said before, it’s a great opportunity for us.
“So the match is very important, very difficult because they are really a very good team.
“In the offensive phase, I think they are one of the best teams in the Premier League – really very dangerous.
“So the match will be really very difficult and, for us, will be really very important.”
The Gunners boss Unai Emery was even more emphatic about it, when asked if a defeat today would end our Top Four hopes. “I think yes,” he replied. “After our loss to West Ham, it is a big difference to be six points behind Chelsea instead of three points. The opportunity we now have against Chelsea is not the same but, if we win, we have the opportunity to be closer to them.”
He also pinpointed the biggest danger to Arsenal today. “With a player like (Eden) Hazard, usually all of the big teams in the world will think about the possibility of trying to sign them,” Emery said.
“He is in the top five players in the world. He has been the difference in a lot of matches.”
To be fair Aubameyang has probably had the same effect for Arsenal in this campaign, and we are in for a fascinating contest. Arsenal are unbeaten at home since the opening day, while Chelsea have only lost once to us in the last 14 League derbies. Will something give, or would both sides be happy with a draw?