Sports Mole brings you live commentary of today's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates.
Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live commentary of today's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates.
The Gunners have shaken off the loss of Robin van Persie this summer to secure nine points from their opening five matches of the league campaign.
They faced their first real test of the season against Manchester City last weekend, when a late strike from Laurent Koscielny secured a point at the Etihad Stadium.
Chelsea, meanwhile, currently occupy top spot in the table with four wins and a draw from their opening five games, but they are yet to face any of the top nine sides in the league.
The Blues have won just 19 of their 75 away league encounters against Arsenal, while they picked up just a point from two league clashes against Arsene Wenger's side last season.
Please note that kickoff is at 12.45pm.
2.40pmThanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join us for the 3pm kickoffs. Until then! 2.38pmSo there we have it. Chelsea continue their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 win over Arsenal. The decisive strike came in the second period when Koscielny could only divert a Mata cross into his own net. The result leaves them top of the table with 16 points, while Arsenal sit fifth with nine. 90 min+3That was the big chance for the home side. And I am not sure if they will get another one as Chelsea win a free kick inside the Arsenal half. 90 min+1Chance! Wonderful chance for Giroud as he rounds Cech, but he can only fire into the side netting. Wow. 90 minMeanwhile, we will play four minutes of stoppage time at the Emirates. 90 minChance! So nearly a leveller for Arsenal as Gervinho finds Cazorla on the edge of the box, but he fires over the crossbar. 88 minOne last big push from the home side as they pass and probe around the Chelsea box. But there is simply no way through at the moment. 86 minHalf-chance for Moses as he attempts to lob Mannone in the box, but his effort is over the crossbar. Not long remaining at the Emirates. 85 minTime is certainly not on Arsenal's side at the moment. Meanwhile, another change for Chelsea as Ryan Bertrand replaces Juan Mata. 83 minChance! Arsenal hit the crossbar! Cech came out but didn't get anywhere near it as Koscielny hits the bar. 83 minWonderful cross from Jenkinson as he whips a low strike into the box, but no Arsenal player is there. Meanwhile, Arteta buys a free kick from Ramires out wide. 81 min... however, Mata's effort is straight into the wall. Straight into Koscielny's face to be more exact. Meanwhile, change for Chelsea as Luiz is replaced by Gary Cahill. 80 minGolden chance for Chelsea as Mata is felled on the edge of the penalty box by Gibbs... 79 minHalf-chance for Arsenal as Gibbs strikes an effort from outside the box, but it was always rising. Can they force an equaliser in the latter stages? 77 minSighter for Chelsea as Moses meets a cross on the edge of the penalty area, but his header is over the crossbar. Meanwhile, Arsenal just cannot keep the ball at the moment. 75 minThe Chelsea fans are in good voice at the moment with their team leading with 15 minutes to play. You just get the feeling that there is another goal in this one. 73 minCHANCE! Oh my word! So nearly an equaliser for Arsenal as Giroud strikes from inside the box, but Cech makes the save. Meanwhile, change for Chelsea as Victor Moses replaces Oscar. 72 minAnother sighter for Arsenal as Gibbs finds Giroud in the box, but he just cannot keep hold of possession. It is end-to-end football at the moment. 70 minChelsea are just taking the sting out of the match at the moment as they enjoy a spare of possession. They launch an attack through Mata, but Koscielny makes the clearance. 68 minArsenal just cannot find a way through this stern Chelsea defence at the moment. Meanwhile, the away side remain a threat on the counter attack. There are still over 20 minutes to play at the Emirates. 66 minMeanwhile, double change from the home side as Walcott and Giroud replace Podolski and Ramsey. Can Walcott have his say in this match? 64 minThe home crowd raise their voices as soon as Gervinho picks up possession of the ball, but the away side are such a threat on the counter attack as Mata's shot is blocked by Koscielny. 61 minChelsea have just settled the match down in the past few moments or so. Ramires and Mikel have not really moved from in front of the defence, allowing those off Torres to drift. It has worked so well this afternoon. 59 minChance! So nearly for Arsenal as Podolski meets a Gibbs cross in the penalty area, but Cech pushes the ball clear of the danger zone. 57 minArsenal pass and probe in the Chelsea half with little over 30 minutes remaining, but the away side are just so tight and compact. 55 minSuddenly the away side have a determined look once more as they flood forward. Arsenal just need to settle themselves down at the moment or they could be out of this. It was the manner of the goals conceded that will alarm them. 53 minChelsea lead once more as Koscielny meets a Mata cross and can only fire it into his own net. Horror moment from the defender. 53 minGOAL! Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (Koscielny own goal) 51 minChance! Wonderful opportunity for Arsenal as Gibbs finds Podolski in the penalty area, but his cross is cut out before Cazorla slices an effort wide from close range. 49 minYellow card for Luiz as he dives in the penalty area. Well done referee. You can just sense a bit of ill-feeling developing between the two sides. 47 minSighter for the home side as Gibbs finds the run of Podolski in the box, but Luiz comes across to clear the danger for Chelsea. Meanwhile, Torres loses possession of the ball down the other end. 46 minHere we go then. Arsenal kick us off in the second period. However, Chelsea immediately gain possession of the ball. 1.46pmSo, we are moments away from the start of the second 45 minutes. Arsenal certainly ended the opening half the stronger, but you always fancy Chelsea to nick a goal on the break. It is so finely balanced. 1.43pmMeanwhile, our report of the opening half of football can be found here. Will we have a winner in the second period? 1.40pmChelsea have dominated possession with 51% of the ball. However, they have had four shots to Arsenal's five. 1.37pmChelsea have dominated large periods of the opening half, but the home side certainly improved in the latter stages. Let's take a look at some statistics from the opening 45 minutes of football. 1.34pmSo there we have it. It looked as if Chelsea would enter the break ahead following a strike from Fernando Torres, but Gervinho levelled it up just before the interval. 45 min+2Half-chance for Chelsea as Oscar advances into the Arsenal half, but his effort is wide of the post. 45 minSuddenly it's all Arsenal as we approach the break. Meanwhile, we will play three additional minutes at the end of the half. Chelsea cannot wait for the interval. 44 minThat really was some effort from the striker. The home side attack once more in the shape of Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the danger is cleared for a corner. 42 minOh my word! It's brilliant from the Ivorian as he turns in the box before firing an effort past Cech. Stunning. 42 minGOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea (Gervinho) 42 minHowever, the Welshman does come back onto the pitch. Little over three minutes of the half remaining, can Arsenal force the equaliser? 41 minChance! Big opportunity for the home side as Gibbs finds Cazorla in the box, but his effort is blocked by Terry. Meanwhile, Ramsey looks in trouble with an injury here. 39 minGood grief. I think we have just lost the ball as Mikel fires one high and wide of the crossbar. He has not scored in five years. I think we have just seen why. 37 minStill there is no way through for the Gunners as Ramsey attempts to find Gervinho, but Luiz clears once more. Chelsea have such a nice shape to them at the moment. 35 minHalf-chance for Arsenal as Luiz misses a header inside the penalty area, but Cazorla cannot spin in the box. Much better from the home side. 33 minNo real atmosphere inside the stadium at the moment with the home side frustrated with the performance of their side thus far. I'm not sure of Podolski has even touched the ball in the opening 33 minutes. 31 minArsenal continue to play their football in the middle of midfield with Arteta and Cazorla both involved. But Chelsea are set up ever so well and continue to thwart the danger. 29 minHalf-chance for Arsenal as Gibbs finds Gervinho in the box, but his header is cut out by Terry. The home side do not have an aerial threat. Meanwhile, Torres has the ball in the net down the other end, but he is ruled offside. 27 minChelsea attack on the counter as Luiz finds Mata down the left, but the Spaniard's cross is cut out. Arsenal just cannot seem to find a way through at the moment. 25 minDecent response from the Gunners as they force a host of corners. But the Chelsea defence remains strong to clear the danger. What an eventful opening 25 minutes. 23 minPenalty shout: Big penalty claim for Chelsea as Torres is felled in the box by Koscielny. But the referee waves play on. It could have been given. 22 minSuddenly it's all Chelsea as they force another corner. But Gibbs is on hand to clear the danger. Arsenal need some sort of inspiration here. 21 minWhere on earth did that come from? It was a clever finish from the striker, but it has horror defending from Arsenal. Really really poor marking. 20 minChelsea lead and it's Torres who meets a Mata cross at the back post to clip the ball bast Mannone. 20 minGOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea (Torres) 20 minInteresting to see Oxlade-Chamberlain come on instead of Walcott. The winger cannot be happy sitting on the bench. Meanwhile, Chelsea are just struggling to find Torres at the moment. 18 minOxlade-Chamberlain comes on to replace Diaby - who has picked up an injury. Meanwhile, Gervinho is felled on the edge of the box, but no decision is forthcoming. 16 minAgain it's Arsenal who threaten as Diaby releases Ramsey down the left, but his cross is cleared by Luiz. Meanwhile, Diaby is in trouble here, he is going to have to come off. 14 minThe home side are certainly beginning to dictate possession of the ball. However, Hazard and Oscar are always available for Chelsea. It's a really interesting tactical battle at the moment. 12 minAgain it's smart work from the Gunners as Cazorla finds Diaby outside the box, but the midfielder's effort is straight at Cech. Really bright start from both sides. 11 minSighter for Arsenal as Gervinho finds Cazorla on the edge of the penalty area. However, the Spaniard's effort is over the crossbar. Better from Arsene Wenger's side. 9 minChelsea continue to see plenty of the ball with Mata, Hazard and Oscar floating around in midfield. Meanwhile, nothing much from the home side as an attacking threat thus far. 7 minTerry attempts to go long in search of Didier Drogba... Oh wait. I mean Fernando Torres. The Blues just have not got that option in the air anymore. Although they are enjoying a strong spell of possession. 5 minDecent football from the home side as Gibbs and Ramsey combine to find Jenkinson down the right, but the defender's cross is cut out by Terry. End-to-end stuff at the moment. 3 minThe first shot on target comes from Chelsea as Luiz strikes an effort from outside the box, but Mannone is on hand to collect the danger. 2 minBright start from Chelsea as Oscar finds Torres down the right, but Gibbs is on hand to clear the danger. Meanwhile, plenty of boos for Terry and Cole in the early stages. 1 minChelsea kick us off at the Emirates. The sun is shining. What a perfect afternoon for a game of football. 12.43pmHandshakes? Check. Flags exchanged? Check. We are almost ready for the action. Let's get this show on the road. 12.40pmHere we go then. Both sets of players are making their way into the pitch. Terry looks extremely focused. He needs a big performance this afternoon. 12.38pmMeanwhile, here's a word from Di Matteo prior to the match: "We have some good attacking options but also balance in the team. It's a bit different from previous years. We are in the process of changing the way we want to play," he told Sky Sports News. 12.36pmSubs:
Arsenal: Martinez, Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Giroud, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Djourou
Chelsea: Turnbull, Romeu, Lampard, Moses, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Bertrand
12.34pmAs mentioned, Walcott is on the Arsenal bench this afternoon along with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Full subs to follow. 12.32pmLooking ahead, just a reminder that we have a host of 3pm live commentaries on the site. Keep a look out for your team as the afternoon unfolds. 12.30pmRight, we are just about 15 minutes from kick off on a sunny afternoon in London. It's prediction time for me. I'm going for a 1-1 draw. 12.28pmMeanwhile, another player in a similiar situation to Walcott is Daniel Sturridge. The Blues attacker just cannot buy a minute of football this season. He wants to play as a striker, but he has been denies the opportunity thus far. I'm sure many teams would be happy to pair Walcott and Sturridge in attack. 12.26pmFocusing on Chelsea for a moment. There is no place in the team today for Frank Lampard. Are we seeing a new era at the club? Could you imagine the uproar if Andre Villas-Boas had left him out of this match. 12.24pmHowever, former Gunners midfielder Paul Merson has made a very valid point. At the Emirates, with Arsenal dictating possession, there is just no room for him to run behind defenders. He terrorised Barcelona in the Nou Camp a couple of seasons ago. 12.22pmFor me, he simply has to be given a run in the team. He scored two against Coventry City on Wednesday, but finds Gervinho upfront this afternoon. There is going to come a time when he just may have to seek pastures new. 12.20pmInteresting discussion taking part in the Sky Sports News studio at the moment. Will Theo Walcott be given a chance to play as a striker for Arsenal? 12.18pmThe Blues have also been hit by the news of John Terry's ban from the Football Association, but as mentioned, he does indeed start today as part of a defence which has not conceded in their last 331 league minutes. That's some record. 12.16pmRoberto di Matteo's side were held at Queens Park Rangers before drawing with Juventus in the opening match of the Champions League. They have won their last two against Stoke City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, but are yet to really hit top form. 12.14pmMeanwhile, Chelsea have made a strong start to the season. They impressed in the early part of the campaign with wins over the likes of Wigan Athletic and Reading, but they have struggled for form in recent weeks. 12.12pmThe Gunners have had some impressive wins this season - against Liverpool and Southampton - but it was their performance against City last week that really caught the eye. They were the better side for large periods in the match and had chances to win it. There is just something different about them this season. 12.10pmArsenal enter the match having lost just twice in their last 21 league games. Meanwhile, they sit 10 places higher and have five more points than at this stage last season. Many people, myself included, thought they would struggle this season. But thus far they have proved everyone wrong. 12.08pmWenger is chasing his very own piece of history this afternoon. Victory over Chelsea would hand him his 350th Premier League win as Arsenal boss. Say what you like about the Frenchman, but he really has been some servant to the Gunners. 12.06pmSo there we have it. One change for Arsenal with Per Mertesacker being replaced by Vermaelen. Meanwhile, John Terry starts for Chelsea despite his off-the-field issues during the week. 12.04pmTeams:
Arsenal: Mannone; Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Diaby, Cazorla, Ramsey; Gervinho, Podolski
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Mikel; Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres
12.02pmBREAKING: Thomas Vermaelen returns for Arsenal. Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey is also given a start in midfield for the Gunners. Chelsea hand starts to Oscar, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata. Full teams to follow. 12pmHello all! Well, here we go again. The big games just keep on coming and today our Premier League focus begins with the London tie between Arsenal and Chelsea in the North of the capital.