chelsea vs arsenal

How Arsenal can beat Chelsea on Sunday

This Sunday, Arsenal will make the daunting trip to Stamford Bridge as they face the reigning Premier League Champions in an early top 4 clash. The Blues started the season with a shock defeat at home to Burnley, but since then they’ve maintained a 100% record, beating Tottenham, Everton & Leicester City.

While on the other hand, Arsenal have had a stop-start campaign, losing two out of their four games. The Gunners are now seeking to reassure fans that they can challenge for the title season, regardless of the poor start.

In retrospect, Arsenal didn’t have that bad a transfer window, they kept their two best players, signed a striker & full-back and got rid of several deadwood players. Not too bad I guess but there are still clear deficiencies in the team and back to back defeats to Stoke & Liverpool only re-enforced that. 

It’s imperative that Arsène Wenger’s men show the world that they’ve changed and that big matches away from home aren’t a problem for them anymore. Arsenal have only won 4 out of their last 24 away matches at top sides, it’s not good enough and it must change this Sunday.

Here’s how Arsenal can beat Chelsea on Sunday.

Drop Mesut Özil


This may be controversial but at many a big away game, Mesut Özil has simply not delivered for the Gunners. Arguments can be made that he does more off the ball than on it in these games, but Arsenal have proven on too many occasions such an approach doesn’t work for them. In order to finally beat Chelsea away from home, Arsenal must adopt an entirely different approach, to implement that the players at the forefront of the current approach must be dropped.

Mesut Özil is undoubtedly the most creative player in the Premier League today, the German has completed the most passes (125) in the final third out of anyone in Europe this season. However, such creative statistics are not needed for such an encounter, especially away from home.

Instead of having a passive passer on the counter in Özil, Arsenal could instead have a pacey outlet there. A front three of Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette & Danny Welbeck offers Chelsea a lot of problems, especially if they go man to man with the Blues’ back three. Dropping Özil means Arsenal will be competent in pressing Chelsea off the ball and provides them with more pace in attack.

Attack down the flanks

bellerin stoke

In the FA Cup final, Arsenal beat Chelsea at their own game. They deployed a 3-4-3 system to go man for man with the Blues and successfully tactically outclassed them. The 3-4-3 formation offers several options in the wide areas and defensive superiority at the back. However, it doesn’t necessarily offer control through the middle unless one of the front three drops into the middle. The weaknesses of the 3-4-3 is also its greatest asset, the wing-backs.

Marcus Alonso and Victor Moses spend the majority of games in the final third, offering to stretch the opposition’s defence. In turn for this contribution, teams can target the space they leave behind with well-timed passing selections. Of course, Arsenal offer the same weak point but a more reserved approach would leave them less open to exploitation.

Arsène Wenger should instruct Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez to stay wide in order to counter the space left by Chelsea’s WBs. This would ensure Arsenal are ready for any turn in possession whilst Chelsea are attacking.

Play on the counter-attack


In 70% of the games, Arsenal have had 35% possession or lower, they’ve won. For all the fanciful football the Gunners play, they’re more successful when they abandon those principles and minimise their touches in possession. Arsenal are not a well-oiled machine when it comes to defending off the ball, the only way they can defend efficiently is in mass.

Arsenal should organise themselves in a mid to low-block that seeks to only venture forward when Chelsea have committed themselves fully. Arsenal need to invite Chelsea to come onto them and then hit the Blues on the counter. With a pacey front three, the Gunners could afford to sit deep as they know they could make up a lot of ground with one or few ball-carriers. With one or few passes, through Granit Xhaka Arsenal should turn defence into attack quickly, giving Chelsea no time to recuperate.

If Arsenal can efficiently adhere to these concepts, there’s no reason as to why they can’t beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The team have the quality and players to win, it just depends on how the manager organises them on the day.

About the Author Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with a soft spot for Pascal Cygan.

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