London derby’s are always feisty affairs.
But the game between Arsenal and Chelsea before Christmas is likely to be even more bitter than normal – and not just because of the winter chill.
For it is just two points that separates the London sides at the top of the Premier League. If Chelsea win, they could leapfrog the Gunners and be sitting at the top of the table on Christmas morning. But if Wenger’s boys clinch a win, depending on results from Liverpool and Man City they could potentially extend their lead at the top to five points – a gift that Arsene Wenger would cherish.
Never has there been more to play for. Especially when is is the busy Christmas period that often gives an indication as to how things will look at the end of the season.
But who is more likely to come out on top? Arsenal are the narrow favourites, according to www.scores.co.uk.
The north Londoners have been the surprise leaders of the League so far. With magnificent displays from star summer signing Mesut Ozil, and Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsay starting to perform, the continental flare of the side has begun to shine through.
Chelsea meanwhile have at times been lacklustre, staying under the radar, and only recently sneaking into second following wins this month against Southampton, Sunderland and Crystal Palace. But against tougher opposition, in the form of Stoke at the Britannia, they lost 3 -2.
Even against bottom-of-the league Sunderland they lost 2-1 this week in the League Cup Quarter Final.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have fared little better of late. Despite a stunning start to the season, they were hammed 6-3 away to Man City last Saturday, and a few days earlier had lost 2-0 to Napoli in the Champions League. They will also be without Wilshere, who is serving a two match ban for an abusive hand gesture during the game against Man City.
Both sides, despite occupying the top spots, are going through a dip in form.
But with the home advantage, and Mesut Ozil out to prove a point after a disappointing display at the Etihad, Arsenal appear to have the advantage and could scrape a narrow victory, denying Chelsea and Jose Mourinho a much-needed Christmas treat.