Both Chelsea and Arsenal have been below-average at best in the opening ten weeks of the 2017-18 Premier League season.
As things stand, both sides find themselves nine points behind leaders Manchester City and also struggling to remain significant in the title race.
The early signs indicate that Manchester United and Tottenham will be challenging City for the title race, while the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool will battle it out for the remaining Champions League spot.
Both sides can’t afford to drop any more points and that’s why the upcoming weekend becomes so important for them. This week could have long-lasting repercussions in the title race as Arsenal will travel to leaders City and Chelsea will host second-placed United.
The game against City will be a six-pointer for the Gunners in the title race. A defeat would mean a 12-point deficit for Arsene Wenger’s side, and yet another premature end to a title challenge.
However, if the Gunners could somehow defy the odds, and cause an upset on Sunday, they would find themselves just six points behind the leaders – a very decent prospect considering their poor start to the season.
Many will not give the North London side any chance against Pep Guardiola’s impressive City. The Gunners have been awful on the road this season, and when you consider City’s current form, every sign points to a comfortable home win
However, the Gunners enjoy a decent record against City, and they have lost only one of their last seven league games against them. They will also benefit from City’s involvement in midweek Champions League football. It’s a huge task for the Gunners, but these 90 minutes could change the course of their season.
The same goes for Chelsea, who will be facing United at Stamford Bridge on the same day.
Last season’s champions have made an inconsistent start to the new season and already find themselves nine points off the pace. The game against United is a must-win, and presence of Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho on the sidelines will only add to the drama on the day.
Mourinho’s United made a huge statement in the league race by defeating Tottenham last weekend, but away from home, the Portuguese manager would be happy to come away with a draw. A draw would do no good for the Blues, and they would be aiming for all three points in front of their own fans.
Last season, the Blues demolished United 4-0 in the corresponding fixture, and in their last 13 fixtures against United in all competitions, they have lost only once.
However, their current form leaves much to be desired, and Conte would need a huge improvement from his side on Sunday.