Chelsea vs Arsenal: 3 ways that Chelsea can overcome Emery’s Gunners

Taking charge of his first Premier League game at Stamford Bridge, we take a look at three ways Maurizio Sarri can exploit Unai Emery's Arsenal side.


REUTERS/Carl Recine

A potential Europe League Final dress rehearsal, Maurizio Sarri and his new-look 4-3-3 formation will hope to kick on from their 3-0 win against Huddersfield last weekend.

With goals from Kante, Jorginho, and Pedro topping off a very impressive start to the new campaign, there is an air of optimism around West London. Expected to recall Eden Hazard for their first match at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have the right to be feeling confident.

Coming up against an Arsenal side also trying to adapt to life under a new boss in Unai Emery, The Blues should fancy their chances of capitalising on several issues that Arsenal showed during their 2-0 defeat to defending champions Manchester City last Sunday.

The glamour tie of this weekends round of fixtures, we here at RealSport have taken a look at three key areas Chelsea will be looking to exploit.

  1. 1 Hazard operating on the right


    REUTERS/Carl Recine

    Although he may have only made a cameo appearance at Huddersfield last weekend, Chelsea's talisman Eden Hazard showed he hadn't missed a beat after helping Belgium to a third-place finish at this summers World Cup.

    While the 27-year-old often starts on the left of Chelsea's front three, a move to the other flank could be an option for new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri.

    Completing 6/6 take-ons in West Yorkshire and producing a brilliant assist for Pedro and Chelsea's third, Hazard should fancy his chances against an Arsenal side going through a left-back crisis.

    With Ainsley Maitland-Niles suffering a small fracture to his left leg and sidelined for two months, the youngster joins Sead Kolasinac on the injury list. 

    First choice left back Nacho Monreal returned to training earlier this week, the Spanish international hasn't played a competitive game in months and it's unlikely Emery will risk just chucking him in the deep end. With summer signing and natural right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner expected to fill in once again, the 34-year-old should be targeted by Sarri.

    Hazard completed 165 dribbles last season, almost 50 more than any other Premier League player, the Belgian star should fancy his chances of exploiting Arsenal's problem down the left-hand side.

  2. 2 Pressing from the front


    REUTERS/John Sibley

    Being the tactician that he is, Sarri would have studied how Arsenal struggled with Man City's high tempo pressing last weekend.

    Highlighted by Petr Cech nearly putting a back pass into his own net in comical fashion, another rumoured option for the former Napoli boss could be to start Hazard in a false number nine role. 

    Similar to the job that fellow Belgian international Dries Mertens done for Sarri last season, Hazard could be encouraged to put constant pressure on an Arsenal side that looked far from comfortable playing out from the back.

    With captain and defensive leader Laurent Koscielny still sidelined with a long-term injury problem, there are still plenty of question marks over Shkodran Mustafi's job at the heart of Arsenal's defence. 

    Unai Emery will encourage his Gunners to play out from the back at all costs, this could play right into Chelsea's hands and the likes of Pedro and Willian's high intensity could force plenty of openings.

  3. 3 Targeting Xhaka


    REUTERS/Carl Recine

    If the likes of N'Golo Kante and Jorginho can dictate the pace and stifle the service to Aubameyang and Lacazette, Sarri can all but guarantee that Arsenal's midfield weak link Granit Xhaka will lose his cool. 

    Racking up ten yellow cards last season, the second most in the Premier League, the Swiss international also picked up his customary booking in their 2-0 loss to Manchester City last week and once again, his defensive ability was heavily questioned.

    With Kante taking up a new role as a number eight that sees him play in a more advanced role, the World Cup winner very rarely loses the ball and can draw Xhaka into making his usual mistakes. He committed 57 fouls last year, the sixth most in the division so Sarri should target Xhaka as the key to breaking at Arsenal's defence.

    Drastically struggling the last time the two sides met back in January, the 25-year-old has a tendency to lose possession and up against a Sarri side that thrives off of quick counter-attacking football, Xhaka could be in for another very tough evening against a high-class Chelsea midfield three.

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