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Nic Ladds 29th Nov 2008 - 13:12

Chelsea to make it another blue day for Arsenal

Arsene Wenger insists there is no need for panic at Arsenal despite their recent poor run but their resilience will be truly tested as they take on the in-form Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal's confidence will have been boosted somewhat by their last minute Champions League victory over Dynamo Kiev but the Gunners are trying to avoid a third league defeat in a row having been dispatched by Aston Villa and Manchester City.

Chelsea had a worse week in the Champions League drawing to Bordeaux and having Frank Lampard sent off but have been in good form in the league, drawing their last match against Newcastle but winning four in a row before that.

It is Chelsea's superior league form and that fact that they sit 10 points above Arsenal that makes them 4/5 favourites with Arsenal 4/1 and the draw 9/4. One thing for sure is an in-form Arsenal team would not be such a big price.

Nicolas Anelka has been one of the main catalysts behind Chelsea's good run of form having scored eight goals in his last Premier League five appearances and scored in the 1-1 draw with Bordeaux. The ex-Arsenal man can be backed at 9/2 to find the back of the net first and 13/8 to score anytime.

Arsenal will welcome back their top striker Emmanuel Adebayor and he will bring a more menacing look to The Gunners' front line. Adebayor is 15/2 to score the first goal and 14/5 to net for Arsenal at any point during the match.

New Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas will be hoping to get his second straight win of his captaincy since William Gallas was controversially stripped of the armband last week. The Spanish youngster is 12/1 to lead from the front and score first for Arsenal.

Chelsea have an enviable record in defence having not conceded more than one goal in 21 Premiership matches, which included clean sheets. Even more interestingly, Chelsea have not conceded a goal in the second half of any Premier League match this season.

If Chelsea are as solid at the back as usual and Arsenal can begin to recapture some form then 2/1 about the first half being the half with the most goals could look appealing as the game would be a tight affair.

When Chelsea and Arsenal meet bookings are always in the offing with 39 yellows and four red cards in the last seven meetings making the 5/6 about over 55 booking points a must have bet for many. Alternatively 10/11 is the price that this game will have more booking points than the Manchester City v Manchester United match earlier in the day - one of a range of Derby Day special available.

Phil Scolari knows that Arsenal are a dangerous team to underestimate even though they are on a bad run. Scolari was bitterly disappointed after another poor showing from Chelsea in the Champions League and a similar performance here will simply not be tolerated.

Arsene Wenger will be desperate for a win to boost the team's morale and make up some ground on the Premier League leaders before they are totally out of the title race.

It is a tall order to come and win at Stamford Bridge though especially with a team that is low on confidence and desperate for wins. Any sign of weakness and Chelsea will exploit it in an instant. Arsenal have the ability to threaten but will need the returning Adebayor to be fully fit after his injury to have a real chance of troubling the Blues.

The returning Michael Ballack always carries a potent goal threat and if fully wound up, would appeal at 9/1 for the first goal. Frank Lampard, a constant menace is priced up at 6/1.

Jose Bosingwa is of some interest at 25/1 for the first goal or 10/1 to score anytime. The defender loves surging forward, has a superb shot and has already scored two this season and could pose Arsenal some trouble at a big price.

For Arsenal, Samir Nasri at 14/1 looks a possible bet as he was in great form before getting injured and poses a constant goal threat from midfield.

This should be an entertaining but tight affair between the London rivals and Chelsea should just edge it due to their excellent defensive record. Arsenal will be desperate to win otherwise any aspirations of challenging for the title would have to wait until next year.

Bosingwa to score anytime - 10/1
Chelsea to win 2-1 - 7/1


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