BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson has announced his prediction for Sunday’s Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners got off to a bad start to their campaign against Brentford last week with a surprise 2-0 loss. They were missing their main attackers.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have tested positive for COVID-19. The first could return for the London derby this weekend.
Meanwhile, the Blues are in a better position with their success in the UEFA Super Cup, followed by a 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace.
Ahead of the derby, Lawrenson said Mikel Arteta will be desperate to avoid back-to-back defeats to London clubs early in the season.
The ex-Liverpool star believes the Gunners will take a cautious approach. He backed them up to share the booty with a 1-1 draw.
He said: ” We don’t know which forwards Arteta has available, but I think he will be cautious anyway rather than trying to have a real chance at Chelsea.
“What he doesn’t need in his situation is to lose two games in a row, especially against two London clubs, which I think always makes things worse. “
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The Gunners were missing their main attackers against the Bees, which had a noticeable impact as they struggled to find the back of the net.
Folarin Balogun showed some promise in the lead on his league debut. He could be awarded another start unless Aubameyang is deemed fit.
The Gunners could be deprived of seven players for the derby compared to the Blues, who could only miss Hakim Ziyech due to a dislocated shoulder.
The European champions have decidedly some momentum on their side, having won the Supercopa and convincingly beaten Palace last weekend.
They still won’t want a straight win over the Gunners. The Blues have beaten their London rivals in just one of the last five league games.
It could be another hotly contested London derby. The Blues are believed to be in the lead by many, especially with Romelu Lukaku likely to feature.
Lukaku, who scored 30 goals for Inter Milan last season, is set 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.
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