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Arsenal v Chelsea: Gunners gear up for life without Drogba

| 28.09.2012

Arsenal are preparing for their first tussle with Chelsea since Didier Drogba departed for a life in the Far East so, couple this with their excellent start to Premier League proceedings, levels of optimism should be high enough to take the Emirates’ roof off.

They’re priced at 6/5 to beat their London rivals in this one but, even without the man who notched 13 goals in 14 games with the Gunners, ruling out Chelsea would be a move of the utmost idiocy.

It’s difficult to remember a time when the European champions were as long-odds as 9/4 in a game against Arsenal; it certainly doesn’t reflect the form of a team who are undefeated at the top of the table and yet to concede a goal on their travels.

They’ve almost got a fully fit squad to choose from, whereas Arsene Wenger is going to be sweating on the fitness of defensive rock Thomas Vermaelen. The 26-year-old’s ability to marshal the defence could be key to keeping Chelsea’s wealth of attacking talent at bay.

The Belgian has conceded just three times in 630 minutes of football at club and international level this term and, should he fail to recover from the virus that kept him out of the Man City game, he will be a big miss.

With or without him, an Arsenal clean sheet can be backed at 9/4 with Ladbrokes and a repeat of the sides’ last contest here, a dreary 0-0, is available at 10’s.

Chelsea, however, have failed to score just once in nine games already this season so both of these bets should be steered clear of.

One of the many Belgians on Chelsea’s books, Eden Hazard, is yet to score for the Blues, despite establishing himself as a creative force early in his Premier League career.

He is one of a host of Chelsea players who can do some damage in the Arsenal final third and, should Vermaelen fail to make the grade fitness-wise, his price of 7/1 to open his account in a Chelsea win is something that punters should seriously consider.

The 6/5 available for one or neither team to score a goal is another one worth sticking a few quid on if you’re a fan of trends – four of the last six meetings between the two have produced this outcome.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Author

James Middleton