Arsenal vs Chelsea: Three storylines to look out for in tonight’s game

Arsenal take on Chelsea tonight with the home side looking to cement their place at the top of the table, and the visitors hoping to take a step further toward European football next season.

Regardless of whether the Gunners lift the Premier League title or not, it’s been a tremendous season for Mikel Arteta’s lads. Big-money moves for Declan Rice and Kai Havertz have been justified as they look to be taking Manchester City and Liverpool right until the end.

As for Chelsea, it’s been a weird one. Underlying numbers would suggest they should be a lot higher than ninth, but their lack of cutting-edge has been an ongoing issue for the very young side. Injuries have also not been kind to Mauricio Pochettino’s men, with the side consistently having a full starting XI out throughout the season.

There is a lot at stake for both sides. Here are the top three storylines in tonight’s London Derby.

Ex-Chelsea men want to make a mark

Arsenal have a few ex-Chelsea players on their books. Jorginho, Kai Havertz, and Declan Rice (kinda) all find themselves in very different circumstances after swapping West London for North London.

Jorginho was Chelsea’s midfield general for five years before making the move to Arsenal in January 2023 for £12 million. He’s been a bit-part player for his latest club, although his experience has proved invaluable at times.

When Havertz joined Chelsea, he was mooted as the next big thing, the man to fill Eden Hazard’s huge boots. Despite winning a Champions League, it didn’t work out for the German. Havertz never really found his feet at Chelsea, and the move has proved positive for all parties. He’s got nine Premier League goals and five assists so far this season.

It’s weird to include Rice in this list. The £105 million man never made a professional appearance for Chelsea, released from the club at 14. Since then, the only way has been up for the midfielder.

Each of these players will be hoping to prove their old club wrong.

European football next season?

Chelsea’s season has had more ups and downs than a rollercoaster. Whenever they seem to be taking a step forward, they take two steps back. Recent Premier League draws against Brentford, Burnley, and Sheffield United have frustrated players, staff, and fans alike.

Still, they find themselves competing for European football next season. Manchester United and West Ham have struggled since the turn of the year, finding themselves in Chelsea’s sights.

It’s hard to imagine where Chelsea would be without the incredible Cole Palmer, but they sure as hell wouldn’t be competing for European football.

Their time has come

If Arsenal don’t win the title this year, it would feel a little unfair. The young Gunners have consistently been the best team in the division, scoring the most goals in the Premier League so far.

They have a tough run-in as the end of the season approaches. First this game against Chelsea, then a North London Derby against Spurs, followed by a trip to Old Trafford, with Bournemouth in between. Each of these clubs would relish ruining Arsenal’s title chances.

In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. This is exactly where Arsenal deserve to be, it’s up to them to cross the finish line.

Get Football | Alex Roberts

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