HASpril has indeed been the cruellest month for Arsenal who have slipped from top four favorites to outside chances after three defeats to mid-table opponents and key injuries to Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney.
Things do not get any easier for Mikel Arteta’s side with Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham to follow, although the timing of these fixtures gives them hope. United look thoroughly demotivated and are missing key players while the trip to West Ham falls between legs of their Europa League semi-final. Chelsea away is the hardest of the games, but Thomas Tuchel’s team are ensconced in third with little to play for in the league.
Still, Chelsea are rightly considered strong favorites tonight, after booking their place in another Cup final with victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley. They were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid, but their dominant second-leg performance in Spain confirmed Chelsea as one of the strongest teams in Europe.
They have a wealth of attacking options that will be the envy of their London rivals, with Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount to choose from in the forward positions. By contrast, Arsenal’s striking options of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah look sub-standard with the team scoring just two goals from their last 74 attempts on goals. Much rests on the shoulders of 20-year-olds Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli to provide attacking threat.
Chelsea are the better team, but Arsenal have a curiously decent record in recent meetings with a league double last season and a win in the 2020 FA Cup final. Arteta’s only other visit to Stamford Bridge as manager saw them draw with 10 men.
This is Arsenal’s game in hand on rivals Tottenham, and they start the night three points behind them. Considering Spurs’ superior goal difference, even a draw to cut that gap to two points could be significant by the end of the season. Arsenal and Spurs meet at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 12.
Full team news on the way shortly.