Premier League Odds, Picks, Predictions, Best Bets: Chelsea vs. Arsenal EPL Betting Preview (April 20)
David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Arsenal standout Bukayo Saka.
Chelsea vs. Arsenal Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+100 / -115)|
|Day | Time||Wednesday | 2:45 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||USA Network | fuboTV|
|Odds updated via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
The last time Chelsea played Arsenal, the latter side was at the bottom of the Premier League table with zero points in three matches after Chelsea handed the host a 2-0 defeat. The London rivals will renew their feud Wednesday at Stamford Bridge, but the pressure is all on the visiting Gunners as they chase a top-four finish and Champions League berth.
Chelsea and Arsenal have played twice under managers Thomas Tuchel and Mikel Arteta, with the visiting side winning 1-0 last spring in an upset against the run of play and Chelsea winning last time out.
Arsenal is clearly an improved side when you look at their underlying numbers, but has lost four of its last five EPL matches. What was once the hottest team in the league has now lost to Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton in the last month.
Can Chelsea Avoid Potential Derby Letdown?
Chelsea had a comprehensive victory in the FA Cup semifinal round against Crystal Palace, winning the expected-goals battle by a 1.4-0.7 margin in a 2-0 win. The Blues have played in so many big games from the UCL to EPL, plus the domestic and international cup events. There is the real potential for a letdown given they’ve basically secured a top-four spot and cruising until the FA Cup final.
Given this is a London derby, though, I’d expect Chelsea to be up for it. The Blues have been playing a lot more Timo Werner up top along with Kai Havertz and Mason Mount. He’s really helped them add a quick-strike attacking approach to a squad that has often lacked the ability to play that way.
Unlike Liverpool, Tottenham and Man City, Chelsea has really lacked this approach and relied more on slow build-up place. With Reece James at right wing back and Werner up top, the Blues have been a much more potent attacking side. The three main attackers are quietly combining to average more than 1.5 xG per 90 minutes.
Chelsea produced 4.2 xG against Southampton; 2.0 xG against Real Madrid; and, 1.4 xG against Palace away from home or on neutral grounds. Arsenal is going to have some stylistic issues, given its lack of midfield and fullback depth that I fully expect Chelsea to exploit.
Arsenal Struggling to Finish Chances
Arsenal’s recent bad stretch has as much to do with variance than anything else. The Gunners ran pretty well in terms of finishing variance to pile up consecutive victories, vaulting themselves to fourth in the table. In the last month, they’ve run horrendously overall.
They’ve produced 6.5 xG in their last five matches, but only scored twice. In the last three defeats, Arsenal has managed to score once from 4.9 xG, as seen below.
Arsenal's recent losing streak is some pretty fucked up shit pic.twitter.com/Kdlkg7DjiW
— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) April 19, 2022
One problem for Arsenal has been the lack of star power. The club doesn’t have any elite attackers that rank highly when you combine xG + expected assists per 90 minutes and compare them to Europe’s top five leagues.
Another problem has been the defense, which has made more mistakes and been punished. The absence of Kieran Tierney has hurt the Gunners’ ability to play through ball pressure because of his abilities as an outlet, plus the loss of Thomas Partey has hurt midfield ball retention. However, that hasn’t really been reflected in the passing numbers, where Arsenal is still moving the ball at an 80%+ clip.
Much like it was difficult to discern what made Arsenal play so much better for a few months when you dove into the numbers, it’s hard to say exactly what’s gone wrong of late. The reality is likely just finishing variance. The Gunners weren’t as good as they were perceived three weeks ago and haven’t been as bad as perceived right now.
BJ Cunningham’s EPL Projections
Betting Analysis & Pick
My projections are pretty in line with the market, as I make Chelsea a -110 moneyline favorite. I also have Arsenal at +110 to get at least a point. The Gunners need to be more open, even away from home, as a point isn’t going to do much in its UCL quest.
From a tactical standpoint, I’m concerned the Blues will dominate the midfield areas without Partey, and James will have a lot of success up Arsenal’s left side without Tierney.
While I think the under will be a popular public pick for this match, I think Chelsea’s defense remains due for some regression and the Gunners defense is mistake prone enough to let an improved Chelsea attack with Werner in behind a few times.
Chelsea is the more likely winner, but there’s not enough in the number for me to play it. Instead, I’m backing Both Teams to Score (Yes) in a more open game than bookmakers are anticipating.
Pick: Both Teams to Score — Yes (-120)
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