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Nic Ladds 28th Nov 2009 - 15:20

Drogba can continue to terrorise Arsenal

A match that could be a delight for fans and neutrals alike with two of the more likely title challengers going at it at the Emirates, a place where Arsenal are so far undefeated and are 7/4 but their visitors Chelsea could bring that run to an abrupt end at odds of 13/8.

Those with a neutral view point may be fancying a hard-fought draw at 21/10 but a look over the recent history of clashes between these two could suggest the Blues may have the edge.

A lot looks like it will hinge on whether Didier Drogba starts for Chelsea and with suggestions that he will, Arsenal could be in trouble. Drogba has scored eight goals in his last eight appearances against Arsenal and staggeringly, in the last 11 meetings between these two, Drogba has played eight times and Chelsea have won seven of those and drawn one, while in his absence Chelsea haven't won - therefore a Drogba first goal at 9/2 looks a solid shout.

Chelsea will also be boosted by news that Frank Lampard is likely to make a quicker return than expected and is 7/1 to open the scoring with Nicolas Anelka 11/2.

Arsenal though have scored a staggering 20 goals in five home matches and are yet to be beaten but the loss of Robin van Persie is a big one and Andrei Arshavin (13/2 for first goal), Eduardo (7/1) and Cesc Fabregas (9/1) are going to need to step up to fill the Dutchman's sizeable scoring shoes.

With the Premier League's most lethal attack taking on the meanest defence it is hard to know how this will turnout but with Arsenal shorn of Van Persie, it may not be quite as full of goals as it would have been and you can see how tight it is with correct scores either way of 1-0 at 13/2, 2-0 10/1 and 2-1 15/2.

Manuel Almunia has kept just one clean sheet in seven so assuming he starts along with Chelsea's record it is hard to see the home side keeping a clean sheet and both teams to score at 13/20 looks a fair bet as does over 2.5 match goals at 10/11.

Arsene Wenger will know that a loss to Chelsea could all but put them out of the title race even at this early stage of the season but it will give the Blues a big lead so expect Arsenal to throw everything at the league leaders but it could be in vain.

Chelsea are taken to edge out their London rivals with a speculative bet on 3-2 at 25/1 worth a shout and it is hard to ignore Drogba's record so backing him at 9/2 to score first looks the best way to end your Sunday in the money.


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