by Zack Lambert
August 1st, 2020
Arsenal vs Chelsea
Spread: Chelsea (0, -0.5); O/U: 2.5
Moneyline: Arsenal +250, Chelsea +110, Draw +240
Time/Location: 12:30 ET, Wembley Stadium, London, England
The Gunners finished the Premier League season in 8th place with 56 points, three behind Wolves and Tottenham for a berth in European football. Instead, Arsenal will be resigned to trying to paint London red to compete on the continental mainland next season. Over the course of the season Arsenal were forced to find themselves through a coaching change and with a revolving door of players. Only Aubameyang, Xhaka, and David Luiz started in 30 or more matches while only a few more players reached that number as a total. The Gunners did seem to find some stable ground toward the end of the season when the lineup was solidified, but it was too late to secure a meaningful Premier League position.
Aubameyang has been Arsenal’s most important player on the season, punching in 22 goals and leading the attack. Nicholas Pépé also played a large role in Arsenal’s attacking success as he was solid with the ball at his feet. Granit Xhaka played the villain for a short period of time before returning as Arsenal’s captain and anchor while the defense seemed to be an unreliable unit with unsteady rotations. The defense will need to be the focus of the offseason along with a centralized playmaker.
Chelsea secured a successful season in the Premier League by picking up a Champions League finish that was finalized on the last day of play. While Frank Lampard’s first season at the helm was a success, it wasn’t one without a bit of turmoil or drama. The season kicked off with a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United and the defending woes didn’t get much better from that point. They were able to find better performances out of the likes of Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen, the attack was still a bit on its own. To compound the issues, world record transfer fee Kepa has been one of the worst goalies in the world this season and Chelsea are desperate to relieve themselves of his services.
Let’s look at the better half of Chelsea’s roster now. The offense really blossomed in the second half of the season when the chemistry really started to flow. Willian became a staple on the wings while Christian Pulisic turned into the American star the world has been waiting for. Olivier Giroud turned on the jets and turned matches on their head with his fine tuned finishing as youngsters Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, and Reece James grew into their positions. The additions of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner may make Chelsea’s offense the most potent in the world next season.
Analysis and Pick
The Gunners and the Blues are long time rivals and that’s the exact reason why this match is going to be so exciting. Arsenal turn into something like a 2014 Barcelona in the FA Cup and Chelsea are simply the better team on paper, so this match is going to be fantastic. Silverware on the line should only amplify the spirits of the players while Arsenal is playing for their European lives. On to the predictions.
Both of these teams are great on the attack and pretty miserable on defense. Take the over. 2.5 is a curiously low number and with both attacks at full strength there should be blood both ways. I’m also predicting a draw and for Arsenal to cover the spread. The totals to bet are for regulation and I don’t think this match will be decided in 90 minutes. Whether it extends to penalties or just an extra 30 minutes of action I cannot say, but it won’t be solved in the allotted time slot. 2-2 draw at regulation.