Will Steve Bould's defensive tactics Mata at the Emirates?
English Premier League
Saturday 12:30 - live on Sky Sports 2
Big Game! Both managers will know the significance of this encounter at the Emirates. Unlike at this stage last season the Gunners have received a lathering of compliments from ex-pros, pundits and fans alike as the squad seems to have finally matured with the help of some defensive nous from ex-player Steve Bould. The result against Manchester City demonstrated a more 'mature' Arsenal side that had the ability to fight back against a Champions League outfit that had gone ahead through a set piece scored by Joleon Lescott. There were occasions last season when Arsene Wenger's men were guilty of dropping their heads in the face of adversity, however, this season the release of Robin van Persie has allowed other personalities to emerge from the dressing room and permit the new signings to make a stamp on the team.
Roberto Di Matteo has had a terrific start to the season. After having to work wonders last season to secure a two year contract at the Bridge the Italian tactician has reaffirmed his ability to manage at the elite level with his side unbeaten in the league and sitting top of the table after the first five fixtures. Things have changed for the Blues, last year's powerhouse of a side that parked the bus to claim the Champions League title has been tweaked with the introduction of Hazard and Mata. The two little magicians have helped Di Matteo's side play some quality football; however, the early kick-off at the Emirates will be Chelsea's first test against a top four side in the Premier League.
They go into the game as the 12/5 outsiders with Arsenal fancied at 5/4 to secure a home win.
A positive for Arsenal will be the return of centre back/playmaker/goalscorer Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian international is crucial to Steve Bould's defensive revolution at the Emirates and when he is on song the Arsenal defence looks a different proposition entirely. For Chelsea John Terry will undoubtedly be talking point. Banned for four games by the FA, the ex-England skipper is available to play for Di Matteo and will likely be used in this crucial encounter.
For the Headline Offers in this one, Lukas Podolski is the highlighted player for the home side. With two goals already for the Gunners can the German International score anytime on Saturday in an Arsenal win? We will be offering 3/1 which is enhanced from 21/10. As for the visitors, Fernando Torres has picked up goals against Reading and Newcastle and will be hoping he has left his scoring woes behind him. Can the Chelsea number 9 score in a Chelsea win at odds of 6/1, originally 19/5?
With nine goals each in the Premier League it easy to see why the odds are in favour of over 2.5 goals. However both sides have only conceded two goals each this season and the Even Money available about under 2.5 Goals looks to scream value! With this in mind the No market for Both Teams To Score at 23/20 could also be worth a look.
Other than that if our headline offer picks don't tickle your fancy then Santi Cazorla and Oscar look to be good value in the Scorer Markets. Set piece specialist Cazorla is capable of the impossible and 8/1 about first and 11/4 anytime is where my money would go. If Chelsea get the upper hand then Brazilian wonder kid Oscar could get on the scoresheet. He proved against Juventus in the Champions League that he turns up on the big stage and if he features on Saturday 9/1 about first and 10/3 anytime could be worth a look.