Both Arsenal and Chelsea have had a decent start to the new season. The two London clubs have the same points tally with ten points in the bag. They have won three each, drew one apiece and have even lost a single game each.
With the arrival of legendary manager Antonio Conte to South London combined with Arsenal’s mainstay manager Arsene Wenger, the London derby will be one of the most watched derbies in Europe this year thanks to the calibre of the managers and players involved.
However, in order to catch up to Pep Guardiola’s free-scoring Manchester City, this is a must-win game for both the teams.
Old foes will rekindle their former disputes while new faces will look to make a positive impact. Let us take a look at three key battles which would decide the outcome at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday night:
#1 Eden Hazard vs Hector Bellerin
Two of the fastest players in the Premier League are set to lock horns on Saturday night. Twenty-year-old Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin will face off against a rejuvenated Eden Hazard. The Spaniard took some time to adjust to the Premier League. However, he has shown remarkable improvement since last year. He forced Mathieu Debuchy out of the squad and made the right-back position his own for another few years.
While the clash against Sadio Mane on the opening day of the season proved to be a handful for the young defender, his meeting with Eden Hazard will definitely be one of the biggest obstacles he has faced in his young career.
Meanwhile, last season was certainly a year to forget for the 2014 PFA Player of the Year, Eden Hazard. Nevertheless, the poor form has disappeared and the old Hazard has returned. The hunger for scoring goals, the tenacity to dribble past players and the nonchalant passes has returned. He has once again become Chelsea’s best player and will have a crucial role in determining Chelsea’s outcome for the game.
The overall creativity and passing ability have been the key attributes of the Belgian’s game this season. He has produced 11 goal scoring chances and has supplied 2 assists to add to the 2 goals he has scored himself.
Notably, Bellerin has once again started off slowly this term and is yet to hit last season’s peak. It is important for him to not lose his cool or be caught out of position against Chelsea. The canny Hazard will be waiting for him to slip up and will devour on any loose ball offered to him. This key battle alone could decide the outcome on Saturday night.