Premier League – Arsenal vs Chelsea: Blues can spoil Mikel Arteta's homecoming

The Mikel Arteta era is underway as Arsenal and although the 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on Boxing Day might not have been the result the Spaniard was craving, there were some promising signs for the Gunners' new head coach.

Arteta, who left his role as an assistant coach at Manchester City to replace Unai Emery last week, received a reminder of the huge job in front him in north London when Dan Gosling opened the scoring for Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

However, Arsenal skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang prevented the visitors suffering a sixth Premier League defeat of the season with a deserved 63rd-minute leveller - his 14th goal of the campaign in all competitions.

And Arteta was pleasantly surprised by his side's positive response to going behind at the Vitality Stadium.

Arteta: Arsenal better than expected

'I'm very pleased with some of the things I've seen in terms of attitude, character, the passion we showed, and the fight and the spirit the team showed,' said Arteta.

'[It was] spot on, probably better than I expected over 90 minutes. A lot of things that happened in the game we prepared, I think they understood them, and they tried to take them on board, and we liked the final product at the end.

'I was worried what would have happened if we conceded a goal, and we did, and I was very pleased with the character they showed, how they came in at half-time, their faces, their reactions, how much they wanted it. Because normally when they are in this process and you concede a goal, belief goes down and a lot of things that have happened in the past can come back. And it didn't happen, it happened completely the opposite side and that's a real positive to take on board.'

Chelsea striving for consistency

There's not much time for Arteta to build on those positives though as the Gunners get set to host London rivals Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Frank Lampard's side, who are eight points ahead of Arsenal in the table, are in a difficult run of their own having lost five of their last seven games in the league – the last of which was a shock 2-0 defeat to Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day.

However, the Blues' best performances so far this season have come against the bigger sides, but Lampard, whose side beat Tottenham 2-0 last weekend, insists his side need to show more consistency if they are to finish the season in the Champions League places.

'I said after Spurs that we need to make sure we reproduce that kind of performance, but I'll probably give you the exact same press conference as I did after Bournemouth to be fair, because it's the same story.

'Teams aren't stupid. They are well organised. We need to do more in an attacking sense. You can't have more than 70 per cent of the possession and not do more, not hit better crosses, not hit better final passes and not get more clear chances at goal.

'You need a form of consistency to finish in the top four because this is the Premier League, and everyone is striving for it. We're in it at Christmas and people probably would have doubted that, so I think with perspective we can be relatively happy. But if we want to stay there and look onwards and upwards rather than backwards, we need to win more than we have won recently at home.'

Team news

Calum Chambers returns from suspension for the Gunners, while Gabriel Martinelli's hamstring injury will be assessed.

Rob Holding (knee), Sead Kolasinac (ankle) and Kieran Tierney (shoulder) remain absent.

Chelsea will give last-minute fitness tests to full-backs Marcos Alonso and Reece James, who both missed out on the home loss to Southampton.

Meanwhile, Lampard could restore Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic to the starting line-up.

The key stats…

Arsenal have won two of their last three Premier League home games against Chelsea (D1), as many as they had in their previous 12 against the Blues (D5 L5).

Chelsea lost this exact fixture 2-0 in January - they've not lost consecutive league games against Arsenal since October 2011, while they last lost back-to-back away league games against them in October 2003 (a run of three).

The big match odds…

Arsenal: 19/10

Draw: 27/10

Chelsea: 13/10

Selected other markets…

 Over 3.5 goals: 7/5

 Chelsea win and both teams to score 5/2

 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score first goal: 16/5

 Tammy Abraham to score first goal: 16/5

Get all the big match odds for Arsenal vs Chelsea here!

The Verdict: Chelsea can spoil the Arsenal party

Arsenal's recent record against Chelsea makes for decent reading, especially at the Emirates Stadium, however, not even Arteta's arrival can mask their current difficulties.

Arsenal are currently closer to the relegation zone than they are the top four in the Premier League and with just one win in their last 14 matches across all competitions, confidence is still extremely low within the squad.

Arteta's job will be to lift the mood but Rome wasn't built in a day, and Chelsea, who have an excellent away record so far this season, can take full advantage.

Only league leaders Liverpool and Pep Guardiola's Manchester City have better away records in the league than Chelsea, who can use their 2-0 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as the blue print for their second trip to north London in just over a week.

And it would be no surprise to see Lampard and his side raise their game once again before celebrating a second win in north London in quick succession.

Verdict: Chelsea to beat Arsenal – 13/10

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