In every league match since the Liverpool fiasco on the opening day of the season, Arsenal’s performances have improved steadily with the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Francis Coquelin being particularly impressive. But Saturday evening’s game against Chelsea is Arsenal’s first real test since then.
Arsenal notched their third league win in a row after comfortably dispatching of Hull 4-1 at the KCOM Stadium last Saturday. They are now 4th in the Premier League table ahead of Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd. Nobody would have predicted that when Arsenal were 4-1 down at home to Liverpool but they have managed to bounce back strongly since that dreadful defeat, with 3 wins and 1 draw amassing a respectable 10 points from 5 games.
However, Arsenal’s next fixture is against a somewhat resurgent Chelsea side at the Emirates. Chelsea will be a wounded animal after their poor showing in a shock 2-1 loss to Liverpool at Stamford Bridge and they will be looking to return to winning ways against their London rivals. This will surely make the task even harder for Arsenal with Chelsea looking to prove that performance was a blip in their efforts to regain the Premier League title that they won in 2015.
This match is also a huge test of character for Arsenal who have a terrible recent record against Chelsea, having not beaten them in the league since 2011 when Robin Van Perise scored a hat-trick in a 5-3 away win, and last beat them at the Emirates in November 2010.
So, if Arsenal are able to build on the momentum built up over recent weeks and overcome a major psychological hurdle by beating Chelsea this Saturday – with subsequent matches against Burnley, Swansea, Middlesborough and Sunderland, four very winnable games – they can send out a message of intent and position themselves as the main title challengers to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.