Chelsea look to have tied up a third-place finish in the Premier League with a nice and neat bow, regardless of who is managing them and what the fans think of their gaffer, while Arsenal seem to be in real Stewart Granger (danger) of finishing outside the top four for the first time since Le Professor took over. None of that matters when these two sides meet, as it should be another classic London derby. It's time to have a butcher’s (butchers hook, look) at the best options for your Premier League picks in this encounter.
Enough with the Cockney rhyming…WHERE’S THE MONEY MIKE?
It may still be very early in the first month of the year, but Arsenal finds themselves on a somewhat unfortunate run of results. The Gunners have yet to win in 2013, and their 7-3 destruction of Newcastle United before New Year is not sufficient to make everything seem okay. For the record Arsenal's 2013 results read one defeat and two draws ahead of their Wednesday night FA Cup clash against Swansea. And their only two victories in their last five games have come against Newcastle and Wigan, two sides far too close to the relegation zone to count as impressive wins.
How bad is it
While it's unlikely that Arsene Wenger will be shown the door at any time soon (he’s 50/1 with Stan James to be P-45’d next), and the Gunners really are still in the race for the Champions League (fifth favourite at 5/4 with Paddy Power) but what is undeniable is that Chelsea look like they will finish above Arsenal in the league, as they have done in seven of the last eight seasons.
I think Arsenal, despite the fact that they failed to find the back of the net against Manchester City will get at least one goal against Chelsea and therefore you should bet on Theo Walcott scoring at 5/2, as the youngster is Arsenal's top scorer with 14 goals across all competitions, eight of which have come the Premier league.
Bit of history
The last two meetings between these two sides hardly set the heart racing with Chelsea coming out victorious last September in a2-1 game while Arsenal and Chelsea shared the points in a no score draw last April. You'd have to go back to October 2011 to see a thrilling game, which was the last time these sides met at Stamford Bridge. That match saw eight goals and ended 5-3 to Arsenal, although you could argue that the difference for the Gunners was a certain player called Robin van Percy who scored a hat-trick and significantly netted the final two goals of the game which saw Arsenal emerged victorious. I wouldn't waste any money betting on van Percy scoring for Arsenal in this match, because in case you didn't know he's now plys his trade at a “non-wee” club in the Northwest.
It's reasonable to suggest that Arsenal will have their concentration focused on their three games after the Chelsea match as they host West Ham Liverpool and Stoke at the Emirates and can expect to record at least a couple of wins from those fixtures. Chelsea might just be the sort of game where things get bad before they get better. A straightforward Chelsea win is available at Premier League odds of 4/5 with the bookies, but if you're feeling generous you might want back draw at 13/5.
Arsenal and Chelsea have gone head-to-head 41 times in the Premier league, with the Gunners winning 17 of those matches with 12 Chelsea wins and 12 draws. That would suggest an Arsenal win which is available at 3/1, but after last weekend and general common sense I can't bring myself to put much of Mrs Richardson's money on an away win in this game.
Put simply Chelsea are seven points (ten if they beat Southampton on Wednesday) and eight goals better off than Arsenal this season, Chelsea are 14/1 shots to win the league this year while Arsenal are 250/1, and your Humble Handicapper thinks that tells you what will happen in Sunday's game.Premier League Tips & Prediction: Chelsea win 3-1, available at a very tempting 15/1 with Bet Victor.