NBC Sports Group has been promoting the “12 days of Premier League” with 40 matches in 12 days, and certainly the biggest one early on is a London derby featuring two of the top teams in the league.
Here’s the short of it:
Arsenal (3rd place on 35 points) vs. Chelsea (4th place on 33 points) at Emirates Stadium
Monday, December 23, 2013 at 3 PM ET/Noon PT on NBCSN (Arlo White, Graeme Le Saux with Gary Lineker and Tim Howard providing studio support on-site).
– Arsenal: W-W-W-D-L (10 points)
– Chelsea: W-W-W-L-W (12 points)
Series history – Last Five Matches (All Competitions)
– Chelsea 2, Arsenal 0 at Emirates Stadium, League Cup Round 4 (October 29, 2013)
– Chelsea 2, Arsenal 1 at Stamford Bridge, Premier League (January 20, 2013)
– Chelsea 2, Arsenal 1 at Emirates Stadium, Premier League (September 29, 2012)
– 0-0 Draw at Emirates Stadium, Premier League (April 21, 2012)
– Arsenal 5, Chelsea 3 at Stamford Bridge, Premier League (October 29, 2011)
Last Time Out:
– Chelsea lost 2-1 at Sunderland in Capitol One Cup action on Tuesday
– Arsenal lost 6-3 at Manchester City in Premier League action on December 14
And here’s the long of it:
– In non-Premier League competitions, both teams have advanced to the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League, with Arsenal getting a much more difficult draw than the Blues. Chelsea will take on Turkish giants Galatasaray in a battle of former Inter Milan head coaches, while the Gunners will do battle with defending champions Bayern Munich. Chelsea had previously eliminated Arsenal in the Capitol One Cup and after their recent defeat away to the Black Cats of Sunderland, both teams are now out of the League Cup.
– Arsenal started the season with five wins in their first six matches and with a victory Monday would move back into the top spot heading into Christmas. One of the keys to Arsenal’s success has been the play of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who has a 1.06 GAA, 3.13 saves per match and six clean sheets so far this season.
– The Gunners are also scoring slightly more per game than their counterparts to the south, averaging 2.06 goals per match to Chelsea’s 1.88. Arsenal’s offensive attack is keyed by 22-year old Aaron Ramsey and 27-year old Frenchman Olivier Giroud who have combined for 15 goals and 10 assists in BPL play.
– In goal for Chelsea has been the stalwart Czech Republic man Petr Cech who has allowed 1.13 GAA, 2.25 saves per match and has four clean sheets so far this season. Cech has been supported in defense by the ageless jerk John Terry and 29-year old Serbian Branislav Ivanovic who have both played in all 16 matches.
– Chelsea’s depth is evidenced by the fact that seven players have scored at least two goals in Premier League play, led by Eden Hazard and Oscar who have combined for 11 goals.
– As for the coaches, if you don’t know these guys then you’ve been living under a rock. In short, Jose Mourinho returns to Chelsea this season where he went 124-40-21 from June 2004-September 2007, winning the EPL title twice, the FA Cup once and the League Cup twice. Arsene Wenger is a 64-year old Frenchman who has been at Arsenal since 1996 amassing a record of 560-231-189. While at Arsenal, Wenger has led the Gunners to three Premier League titles and four FA Cups, but Arsenal has not won a trophy since the 2004-05 FA Cup and only barely sneaked into the UEFA Champions League this last season.
Dylan – Arsenal wins 3-2, with goals from Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud for Arsenal and Eto’o and Lampard for Chelsea
Joe – Draw 2-2, goals from Mata and Hazard for Chelsea and Giroud and Ramsey for Arsenal