BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson has stated his prediction for Sunday’s Premier League game between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners made a poor start to their campaign against Brentford last week with a surprise 2-0 loss. They were missing their main strikers.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette tested positive for COVID-19. The former could return for the London derby this weekend.
Meanwhile, the Blues are in a better position with their UEFA Super Cup success, followed by a 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace.
Ahead of the derby, Lawrenson said that Mikel Arteta will be desperate to avoid back-to-back defeats to London clubs at the start of the season.
The ex-Liverpool star believes the Gunners will opt for a cautious approach. He backed them to share the spoils with a 1-1 draw.
He said: “We don’t know which strikers Arteta has available, but I think he will be cautious anyway rather than trying to have a real go at Chelsea.”
“What he doesn’t need in his situation is to lose two consecutive matches, especially to two London clubs, which I always think makes it worse.”
The Gunners were missing their main strikers against the Bees which had a notable impact as they struggled to find the back of the net.
Folarin Balogun showed some promise leading the line on his league debut. He could be handed another start unless Aubameyang is deemed fit.
The Gunners could be without seven players for the derby compared to the Blues, who could be missing only Hakim Ziyech due to a dislocated shoulder.
The European champions definitely have momentum on their side, having won the Super Cup and convincingly beaten Palace last weekend.
They still won’t fancy a straightforward win against the Gunners. The Blues have beaten their London rivals in just one of the last five league meetings.
It could be another hard-fought London derby. The Blues are fancied to come on top by many, particularly with Romelu Lukaku likely to feature.
Lukaku, who bagged 30 goals for Inter Milan last term, is due to make his second debut for the club after training earlier this week.
The Gunners face the difficult task of avoiding successive defeats to start their campaign.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com