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Arsenal have endured a difficult start to the Premier League season after what can only be considered a frustrating summer in the transfer market. And things aren't about to get any easier for the Gunners as they travel to Stamford Bridge to take on champions Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.

The Blues haven't had it all their own way either, but have bounced back well from a shock defeat at home to Burnley on the opening weekend of the season, winning three on the bounce to get their title defence back on track.

There is reason for optimism for Arsenal fans, however. Arsène Wenger's men have overcome Chelsea in their last two meetings: first in last season's FA Cup final and again, on penalties, in the Community Shield.

Here, we preview this hotly anticipated encounter between two of the Premier League's traditional powerhouses, looking at each side's keys to victory and predicting how the managers will set up their teams.


It was a humbling 3-0 defeat to Arsenal almost exactly a year ago which proved to be the catalyst for the tactical change that inspired Chelsea's title challenge, as Conte switched from 4-2-3-1 to 3-4-3, setting the Blues off on an unstoppable charge and inspiring several Premier League bosses to replicate his formula.

The Blues' squad has undergone somewhat of a facelift over the summer, with Nemanja Matić, John Terry and Nathan Aké, among others, shipped out, and Diego Costa left in limbo, ostracised from the team and awaiting a return to Atlético Madrid.

In has come Antonio Rüdiger, Álvaro Morata, Tiemoué Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater. Many have questioned whether Chelsea's transfer business has left them any better off than last year, with the sale of Matić a particular point of contention, but recent form suggests they're on the right track.

At Football Whispers, we utilise a unique algorithm to predict the line-ups set to be used in every upcoming game. Here's how we think Chelsea will look on Sunday.

You can click on the interactive graphic above to create your own Chelsea line-up and share it with friends on social media.

Former Real Madrid striker Morata, who has three goals from four league appearances for his new club, will undoubtedly be the key man. The way the Spanish international links with his colleagues and moves intelligently inside the final third means Arsenal's backline will have their work cut out all afternoon.

Perhaps the best news for Chelsea fans is that Eden Hazard, who featured in the final 12 minutes of last weekend's 2-1 win over Leicester City, has recovered from a broken ankle and will be in contention to start against Arsenal.


After humiliating reverses at the hands of Stoke City and Liverpool in recent weeks, Arsenal restored a measure of confidence last weekend by thumping Bournemouth 3-0 at the Emirates.

That victory couldn't have been more timely, as the growing dissent on the red side of North London had begun to turn to despair after what has been deemed an underwhelming transfer window for the Gunners.

Though Chelsea can boast Morata in attack, Arsenal have a potent new forward of their own in Alexandre Lacazette, whose goal against the Cherries was his second since a club-record £46.5million move to the Premier League from Lyon.

Wenger, for years a proponent of 4-4-2 and then 4-2-3-1, was one of the myriad managers to follow Conte's lead and adopt a 3-4-3 shape last term, making the tactical switch in the final weeks of the campaign to win nine of ten fixtures, including the FA Cup final.

Here is how with think Wenger will send his side out at Stamford Bridge.

Alexis Sánchez, who was denied a deadline day move to Manchester City a couple of weeks ago, came off the bench last weekend to make his first appearance of the season before scoring in his first start of the campaign last night in the 3-1 win over Cologne. But Danny Welbeck's brace against Bournemouth could be enough to see the England striker retain his place.

With Welbeck and Özil either side of Lacazette in the front three, the Gunners appear to have the ideal blend of athleticism, speed and creativity. If all three men are on song, Conte's back three will have to be on top form to contain them.

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