This weeks View From The Enemy comes direct from the Official Chelsea website, and is an excellent statistic analysis and preview of Arsenal derbies over the years. It also reveals that Arsenal will have to stop Chelsea creating a new record against the Gunners…..
Chelsea v Arsenal – talking points
Football eyes will turn to London this coming Sunday lunchtime. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton look at what the capital can dish up…
On 9 November 2017 this fixture, London’s first top-flight derby, will be 110 years old. Chelsea have played more competitive fixtures against Arsenal than against any other team: Sunday will be our 192nd meeting.
The Pensioners finished just above Woolwich Arsenal in that 1907/08 season and, as third hosts 11th on Sunday, once again the champions are leading the capital’s challenge for the title.
Following the win at Tottenham, this is our second London derby of the campaign. This west-north skirmish means just as much, and this weekend there is the chance to make a little piece of history by extending our unbeaten run at the Bridge.
Back in the Sixties the Blues were unbeaten in eight home games against the Gunners from 16 November 1963 to 29 August 1970, the last five all being wins. In the current sequence, stretching back to 2013, Chelsea have claimed 15 goals and Arsenal two.
Chelsea are aiming to set a new club record of six consecutive wins against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.
Tuesday’s 6-0 thrashing of Champions League debutants Qarabag equalled our best-ever result in the competition, previously notched against Maribor three years ago, and scaled new goalscoring heights for any competition under coach Antonio Conte.
It was also the coach’s best margin of victory with club or country, overtaking the 5-0 by Siena against Varese in Serie B in May 2011, and the same scoreline for Juventus away to 10-man Fiorentina the following season.
While it is splendid to see the net bulging regularly, in the case of clubs tied on points at the end of the group stage, in Europe goal difference comes second to head-to-head results.
Helpfully, points were dropped in the other Group C match, which ended goalless thanks to last-gasp defending from the hosts, Roma, and chances missed by Atletico. That leaves the Blues two points clear of that pair ahead of the trip to Madrid on Wednesday week.
Pedro’s opening strike against the Azeris was the Blues’ 250th goal in Europe’s blue riband event, while two new men are off the mark. Tiemoue Bakayoko’s only previous Champions League strike was for Monaco against Manchester City, and his close-range shot was quite a contrast to the rocket that opened Davide ‘Frank’ Zappacosta’s Stamford Bridge account. The Italian wing-back’s stunner invoked pleasant memories of past long-range efforts, including some against our London rivals.
Think Bjarne Goldbjaek or Juliano Belletti against Spurs, Roberto Di Matteo at home to Arsenal, or David Luiz at Fulham – you may have your favourite.
Rested on Tuesday night was Alvaro Morata who after just four matches is halfway to matching the best tally of headed Premier League goals ever registered in a single season by a Chelsea player. Uruguay midfielder Gustavo Poyet is currently top of the tree with six netted in 1998/99, a season the club finished third.
Next is Mark Hughes with five in the previous campaign, 1997/98, equalled in 2006/07 by Didier Drogba. Several, including Poyet again (2000/01), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (2001/02), Michael Ballack (2006/07), Frank Lampard (2008/09), Drogba again (2009/10), and John Terry (2012/13), have headed four in one season.
John Terry heads in versus Queens Park Rangers in April 2012
Four of the seven goals the Gunners conceded in this season’s win against Leicester and loss at Anfield came from headers.
In the Europa League, Arsenal came from behind to win this week (albeit an hour later than scheduled). Football lore has it that this UEFA competition, with its Thursday-Sunday cycle, is a title-challenge killer. Indeed, England’s most recent two winners of the trophy finished off the pace in the league. Manchester United last season were 24 points adrift of champions Chelsea, and in 2013 the Blues finished 14 behind title-winners United.
Research into tens of thousands of matches, headed up by football training specialist Raymond Verheijen, reached the conclusion that a two-day recovery period between matches is inadequate and puts the team at a physical disadvantage.
Other reports have calculated that clubs playing again after 48 hours drop points unexpectedly in the second game on a more regular basis than those with longer to recover. English teams competing in last season’s Europa League won 50 per cent of their Sunday games in the Premier League.
It is also true that Champions League contestants playing on Wednesday/Saturday, or Sunday/Tuesday, have the same small window to rest and prepare. So far, though, only two of the Blues’ forthcoming Wednesday Champions League games are to be followed by a Saturday league fixture, and both are in the later evening slot. There are no Sunday/Tuesday arrangements at present.
Last weekend’s 3-0 success at home to Bournemouth was a welcome fillip for Arsenal after they lost two of the opening three fixtures for the first time since 2011/12, the season following skipper Cesc Fabregas’s departure for Camp Nou.