This season hasn’t been the most pleasing for Manchester United, but maybe playing without Wayne Rooney against a struggling Everton will bring out the best of them. For Chelsea, their meetings in recent years with Arsenal have been quite comfortable. For the Gunners, this might be the last chance to find themselves out of the title running before October has even begun.
Surprisingly, the team worse off in the clash between two of the most disappointing teams in the league this season, are Everton. They’re only 17th with just one victory to show since the beginning of the season. Their defense has been appalling, conceding 14 goals, and although they’re also averaging two goals per match, something in Roberto Martinez’ system isn’t clicking, scraping a 1-1 draw at Anfield in the previous match, although they did nothing to even deserve that point.
Manchester United came away with a 2-1 win against West Ham, despite being left with 10 men. Not having Wayne Rooney means Juan Mata will start behind Robin van Persie and Falcao while Angel di Maria adds more creativity from the central midfield. More important to their cause will be how Daley Blind managed to help out on defense, the team’s weak unit so far this season. Romelu Lukaku is their biggest threat, but not having to face either Ross Barkley or Kevin Mirallas is a big bonus against a team that often gives them a lot of trouble.
The last time Chelsea and Arsenal clashed head at Stamford Bridge, it ended up being one of the most humiliating moments in Arsene Wenger’s career, as the Blues ran away with a 6-0 win that included that famous mix up between Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Arsenal still haven’t lost a league match this season, but they’re already six points behind Jose Mourinho’s team, who seem to be playing at a level just out of reach for the rest of the Premier League.
While not all of Chelsea’s wins have been by demonstrating super human ability, their consistency and depth, going beyond the goal scoring ability of Diego Costa, has been something that stands out so far in their 16-of-18 points start. That depth will be hurt with Drogba and Ramires injured, and yet it’s hard not to see them as pretty big favorites heading into this match, which will also have Fabregas playing against his former club, bound to spur some sort of reaction from visiting fans to Stamford Brdige.
Wenger, as always, has bigger injury problems: Armsey, Arteta, Giroud, Monreal, Debuchy. Just another day for the most fragile club in the country. Unless they do score early, with Danny Welbeck in especially excellent form, it’s hard seeing Arsenal coming away with a pleasing result from a stadium they’ve lost four of their last five. Wenger is still waiting to record his first win over Mourinho,