Former Scotland winger Pat Nevin has offered his two cents on Chelsea’s upcoming Premier League fixture against Arsenal on Saturday, October 21. The pundit reckons that this encounter will be Mauricio Pochettino and his team’s toughest test so far this season.
He told BBC Sport:
“This is the best test so far for Mauricio Pochettino’s new Blues against a bona fide top side. Chelsea’s young and expensive side haven’t picked up as many points as they would have wanted, needed or indeed expected. However, they still haven’t been badly beaten by anyone so their confidence levels should still be fine.”
Nevin added on Arsenal‘s season so far:
“For their part Arsenal are in great shape, joint top of the league having just beaten the Champions Manchester City. They can also take heart from the statistics, having only lost one and drawn one of the last eight meetings against Chelsea.”
Nevin then claimed that the outcome of the encounter may depend on who wins the midfield battle. He also said that Declan Rice and Enzo Fernandez would each play a huge role in deciding the game, saying:
“I am looking forward to being at the game and seeing how Chelsea old boys Kai Havertz and Jorginho fare but the crucial battle should be for central midfield dominance.”
“Declan Rice and Enzo Fernandez might not be directly up against each other all the time, but whoever shines brightest between those two could help control and decide the game.”
The Blues lost the fixture 1-0 last season, with Gabriel Magalhaes scoring the winner for the Gunners.
“They can lose” – Marcel Desailly makes prediction for Chelsea vs Arsenal
Former Blues star Marcel Desailly has backed the west London side to secure a victory against the Gunners this weekend. The Frenchman, while acknowledging the Blues’ poor form and Arsenal’s excellent performances this season, backed Pochettino’s men to win 3-1.
He told Gambling Zone:
“It looks impossible, but I’ll go for a 3-1 win. I’ll go for 3-1 Chelsea. Why not? This is the beauty of the Premier League. As soon as a team has a mental drop and isn’t ready for the intensity of a match, they can lose. When Arsenal players arrive at Chelsea, they may believe that it won’t be as difficult as it would at Tottenham, City, or eventually, Man United.”
The Blues are currently 11th in the Premier League standings after a dismal start to the season under Pochettino, with just three wins in eight games.
Meanwhile, the Gunners have continued their stellar form from last season. Mikel Arteta’s side are second in the standings after their crucial 1-0 win over title rivals Manchester City, who are two points behind in third place.