Chelsea vs. Arsenal Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Blues in Lukaku’s 2021 EPL Debut (Aug. 22)
Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Chelsea star Romelu Lukaku.
- Arsenal welcomes rival Chelsea to Emirates Stadium for Sunday's Premier League showdown.
- The Blues, who should have standout transfer Romelu Lukaku in their starting lineup, are heavy favorites to win the latest London derby.
- Jeremy Pond breaks down the match below and details why he expects Chelsea to pick up the victory.
Arsenal vs. Chelsea Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+110 / -140)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||NBCSN | fuboTV|
|Odds updated Sunday morning via DraftKings.|
Things should be pretty electric Sunday when Arsenal hosts rival Chelsea in an early London derby, highlighting the Premier League’s weekend card.
The Gunners enter this match fresh off a shocking 2-0 road loss at the hands of newly promoted Brentford during the opening week. Manager Mikel Arteta watched his side put together an utterly dismal performance against the Bees, who are in the English top flight for the first time in 74 years.
In contrast, it was business as usual for manager Thomas Tuchel and the Blues, who cruised to a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. American international Christian Pulisic recorded a goal but delivered some tough news to the Chelsea and United States fanbases on Friday when he announced he tested positive for COVID-19 and would miss the derby.
Pulisic’s absence not only hurts the Blues in terms of him being unavailable, but it jeopardizes his status for the USMNT’s three upcoming World Cup qualifying matches. The Americans open things with a Sept. 2 game against El Salvador in San Salvador.
Let’s take a look how this game sets up and see what could be on deck at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal Seeking Answers Ahead of Derby
The gossip around the soccer water cooler leading into this match centered around manager Mike Arteta being on the hot seat after the Brentford loss.
However, I’m not one of those folks thinking that’s the case at this moment. Arsenal has had plenty of issues, specifically star players stuck in health and safety protocols that really hurt their chances against the Bees.
One of those standouts — Alexandre Lacazette — is still unavailable due to his positive COVID-19 test, but there’s a chance Arteta gets fellow striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back in some way after he was cleared to return.
Alexandre Lacazette is still unavailable to face Chelsea following his positive Covid-19 test ❌
However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is available after his test came back negative ✅ pic.twitter.com/DbOMc9CPZh
— Goal (@goal) August 19, 2021
When it comes to the advanced metrics from the opener, the Gunners actually dominated Brentford from a statistical point. They held a 1.5-1.3 edge in expected goals, plus dominated possession — 65-35% advantage — and had 22 total shots. The only problem was just four of those attempts were on goal.
Now, Arsenal is stuck playing a tricky derby against a Chelsea side already looking like the one that won last season’s Champions League. And with next week’s meeting with Manchester City on the horizon, Arteta and his men must find a way to secure a result or face the distinct possibility of starting the season 0-3 with no points.
Chelsea Puts Together Solid Effort on Debut
The Blues enjoyed what I call a professional win against the Eagles.
Like many of their matches and victories, there wasn’t a whole lot of flash to write home about. It was just a textbook performance, highlighted by goals from Pulisic, Marcos Alonso and Trevoh Chalobah to pick up all three points.
The reason for describing the victory in that fashion stems from the relatively blah numbers Chelsea recorded on the metrics side. The Blues only registered 0.9 xG, but it was more than good enough after yielding just 0.3 to the stagnant Eagles.
Chelsea, known for its stellar defense and 20 shutouts in 32 games under Tuchel, limited Crystal Palace to just four total shots (one on goal) the entire match. That’s a helluva way to start a campaign, which has me believing Arsenal is going to have trouble breaking them down with one or both of its star forwards missing the contest.
Throw in the fact Lukaku is set to start in the return to his former club, and the Blues have pretty clear advantages all over the pitch.
Betting Analysis & Pick
We’re only in the second week of the season, but one team already seems to be firing on all cylinders.
The other? Not so much.
I love the Blues to bag all three points at the Emirates, but I’m looking for a little more value than the current -130 odds they have the three-way moneyline against a team in slight disarray.
That said, I’m turning to the Asian Handicap for a little more value and backing Chelsea at -0.75 on the spread line at +110 odds via DraftKings as my top pick. Arsenal has too many things working against, leading me to believe the visiting side should have little problem dispatching its rival.
Additionally, you’ll find me throwing in a player or team prop most of the time. We hit with our selection for highest-scoring half in Manchester City’s 5-0 rout of Norwich City, so we’ll take a swing on something extra.
I’m going to sprinkle a little on Lukaku to open his account at +120 odds. Now, this is only playable if he starts, which I assume will be the case. If for some reason Lukaku comes off the bench, I’m going to balk at this wager. Just keep an eye on the pregame lineups before you jump on this pick.
Pick: Chelsea -0.75 (+110) | Romelu Lukaku To Score Anytime — Yes (+120)