Where: Stamford Bridge, London
When: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast
Television: Fox Soccer Channel (US), Sky Sports 1/HD, Sky Sports 3D (UK)
Worldwide Live Streams and : LiveSoccerTV.com
Radio: SiriusXM Sirius channel 94 (Internet channel 94)
Three-Way Odds: Chelsea -120, Arsenal +250, Draw +225
Total: Over 2.5 -149, Under 2.5 +120
Decimal Odds: Chelsea 1.83, Arsenal 3.50, Draw 3.25
Decimal Total: Over 2.5 1.83, Under 2.5 2.20
Fractional Odds: Chelsea 83/100, Arsenal 5/2, Draw 9/4
Fractional Total: Over 2½ 67/100, Under 2½ 6/5
Source: sportsbook.com (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles)
Alternate Point Spreads:
Chelsea -1 +160, Arsenal +1 -210
Chelsea -0.5 -250, Arsenal +0.5 +185
Over 3 +110, Under 3 -140
Source: Bovada (Kahnawake, Canada)
The weather forecast calls for freezing temperatures and a possibility of snow when Chelsea welcomes Arsenal to Stamford Bridge on Sunday for this London derby.
These two rivals have met 75 times in their at Stamford Bridge in English play, with Chelsea winning 25, Arsenal winning 25 and 25 of those matches ending in a draw.
Can you say parity, brother?
The Gunners (9-7-5) head into this match in sixth place in the English Premier League with 34 points—21 behind league leaders Manchester United—and, like Chelsea, can ill afford to come away from this game with no points.
Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud all have six league goals for Arsenal and will likely provide fits for Chelsea's defense, but Mikel Arteta will miss the game with a calf injury while Laurent Koscielny returns from a one-game ban.
Gunners goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has been pretty solid so far this season, as has the team's defense. Arsenal is currently tied for third in the Premier League in least goals allowed with 24.
The Gunners head into this match off a hard-fought, 1-0 win over Swansea in the FA Cup (Round 3) on Wednesday at the Emirates.
Whether or not this London showdown evolves into a low- or high-scoring affair will likely be determined by how quickly the first goal of the game is scored, and probably more so than the chilly British winter weather.
The last time these two met in west London it was certainly a high-scoring affair as Robin van Persie notched a hat-trick, and the Gunners lived up to their nickname, blasting the Blues 5-3.
Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez said on the Chelsea website that he welcomes the opportunity of facing Arsenal:
It's always important to have a big challenge in front of you. That means everybody will be focused. To be playing Arsenal is a good thing for everyone.
We know they are a rival, we know they are a top side who are close to us, and we cannot lose our focus.
Winning consistently at home this season has mysteriously been a problem for Chelsea (5-4-2). This was reiterated on Wednesday, as the Blues came off an extremely frustrating 2-2 tie with Southampton after jumping out to a 2-0 lead at halftime.
The Blues (12-6-4) are just one of two teams (along with Wigan Athletic) who have picked up more points on the road (23) than they have at home (19).
Chelsea will hope captain John Terry—who returned from his knee injury and played 10 minutes against Stoke City last weekend—gets the start against Arsenal but The Daily Mail reported Friday that Benitez has not yet made up his mind on the matter.
But after Wednesday's letdown, expect Terry more than likely to be back in the mix, although Oriol Romeu is still out with a hamstring injury and Nigerians John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses are participating in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament and will be sorely missed.
Who Benitez chooses to start in Chelsea's 4-2-3-1 formation between Fernando Torres and Demba Ba is a big question, but the play of Blues advanced midfielders Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar and goalkeeper Petr Cech should end being more important than who ends up starting at striker.
In the last 10 meetings in this series, European champions Chelsea are 6-1-3 (20-13 goals) with four clean sheets against the Gunners but handicapping a Chelsea-Arsenal game lately has been about as easy as herding cats.
Very wet cats.
With both teams likely just chasing UEFA Champions League qualification now and looking for any sort of consistency, this usually epic matchup has a little less luster this time around and should be a tight, low-scoring and possibly boring affair.
But it's still Chelsea versus Arsenal, and that's got to be worth something.
BET: Under 3 -140 (Bovada)
PREDICTION: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 1
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