Previewing Chelsea vs. Arsenal
Chelsea hosts Arsenal in a London derby Saturday morning (7:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2 & ESPN3). Chelsea had a three-game win streak snapped at Queens Park Rangers last week, while Arsenal may be finding its form, with four straight wins in all competitions. Here are five notes for the match at Stamford Bridge.
• Arsenal won its previous meeting 3-1 at Emirates Stadium in December. But Chelsea won their five clashes before that, including an FA Cup win in 2009. Chelsea has won nine straight home games versus London teams, last losing to Arsenal in November 2008.
• Arsenal has struggled mightily away from home in 2011. The Gunners are winless in eight straight road league games, their longest drought since 1988. Arsenal has also lost three straight away from home, one shy of its longest-ever EPL streak.
• Chelsea has won 10 of its past 11 league games at Stamford Bridge, a run marred only by a 2-2 draw with Newcastle in May. But Chelsea's defense has still been suspect, with only one shutout in the past eight home games. Chelsea's defense has rarely been perfect anywhere in league play this season, allowing at least one goal in eight straight matches since a season-opening scoreless draw at Stoke City.
• Since the beginning of last season, Robin van Persie leads the Premier League with 25 goals. That's more than any other two Arsenal players combined, as Theo Walcott and (former Gunner) Samir Nasri each have 10 goals in that span. Van Persie also comes up big late in matches, scoring a league-leading eight of his goals after the 75th minute.
• Chelsea's Didier Drogba is suspended after a red card last match against Queens Park Rangers, which is unfortunate for both Drogba and Chelsea. The Ivorian has tallied 13 goals in 14 matches against the Gunners in all competitions, and Chelsea has lost only once in those 14 games. Drogba's eight Premier League goals against Arsenal match his high against any team (also versus West Brom).