Chelsea will be looking to make another early-season statement, while Arsenal will be chasing redemption, when these two London rivals meet in a derby clash on Sunday.
Last weekend’s opening round of action in the new season returned vastly differing fortunes for these two powerhouse clubs.
For Arsenal it was the worst possible start as newly-promoted Brentford made a blistering start to their first English top-flight season for 74 years as they claimed a memorable 2-0 win over the Gunners in front of a first-ever full house at the Brentford Community Stadium.
It has immediately placed mounting pressure on Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who has overseen two eighth-place finishes in each of his first two seasons in charge. The Spaniard now faces a herculean task to turn things around before the September international break, with title favourites Chelsea and Manchester City lying in wait over the next two games.
“I don’t think we deserved anything different,” said Arteta in a scathing indictment of his side after the loss.
However, there has at least been some good news this week, with Arsenal believed to be on the cusp of securing a permanent deal for Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard.
The 22-year-old joined Arsenal on loan for the second half of last season after failing to break into the Real Madrid team, and Arteta is said to be a big fan of the young midfielder.
Although Arsenal will have home support on their side this Sunday, it’s going to take a lot for them to stop Chelsea in their tracks.
The Blues crushed Crystal Palace 3-0 to open their campaign last Saturday, and manager Thomas Tuchel is dead set on seeing his side go toe-to-toe with Manchester City as true title contenders.
Chelsea recently added the UEFA Super Cup to their Champions League win last season, and they are now on the hunt for Premier League success.
Although Tammy Abraham has completed his move to Roma from Chelsea, while Michy Batshuayi has signed a season-long loan at Turkish side Besiktas, record signing Romelu Lukaku is in line to play a frontline role against Arsenal on Sunday.
Lukaku – who spent three years at Chelsea between 2011 and 2014 – rejoined the club in a £98 million move from Inter Milan last week.
The 28-year-old believes he returns as a better player, and will be hoping for the opportunity to make his mark straight out of the starting blocks this weekend.
“Maturity has been important. I think I’ve learned much more about myself, setting higher standards,” he said.
“As a player, it’s about becoming more complete. In Italy, the game is different, there are tighter spaces, it’s more technical and tactical, which helped me a lot.
“The English game is different but for me it’s not something new. Whatever plan the coach has, I can adapt myself and help the team.
“I’m one of the players who likes to connect everybody and make everyone feel comfortable and give them confidence.”
Sunday’s match kicks off at 5:30.