Any goals scored in the latest installment in the long-running rivalry between Chelsea and Arsenal won't be coming from the players who starred for these clubs in recent meetings.
With Robin Van Persie having departed for the greener pastures of Manchester United and Didier Drogba having left West London when his contract expired after his team's Champions League triumph, each club began the season without the strikers that have long spearheaded its attack.
Despite the losses, both teams have started the campaign strong. With an attacking trio of Fernando Torres, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata leading the charrge, Chelsea sit atop the league table with four wins and a draw in its first five matches.
Perhaps more surprising given the defections fo RVP and Alex Song (to Barcelona), Arsene Wenger's squad has also begun its season without a loss. With two wins and three draws, including a 1-1 split at Manchester City, the Gunners have surprised doubters thus far.
"We got some belief against Man City," Wenger told Miguel Delaney of ESPN.com. "[The Chelsea game] is another one, it's a different one. It's at home. We have played now three away games at Stoke, Liverpool and Man City so if we do well at home against the big teams it will of course have a big impact on our chances in the league."
In recent meetings between these London clubs, the muscular menace of Drogba exploited Arsenal's congenital weaknesses in defense. With Drogba gone and the Gunners' defense much stouter early in the season than expected, how will this match turn out? Will John Terry be distracted by his looming ban? Will newcomers to the fixture like Santi Cazorla or Hazard add to its storied history?
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09/29/2012 9:47 AM EDT
Chelsea remains unbeaten and opens up a (temporary?) four-point cushion atop the table. Arsenal suffers its first defeat of the season.
09/29/2012 9:45 AM EDT
@ SurrealFootball :
So, Arsenal didn't win. You can't beat the system.
09/29/2012 9:45 AM EDT
@ ESPNStatsInfo :
Arsenal, 1 of 4 last unbeatens in EPL, loses. RT @PCarrESPN: Chelsea is first visiting team to win three league games at Emirates Stadium.
09/29/2012 9:39 AM EDT
Chelsea wins, 2-1, to stay atop the table. Splendid performance for Blues and a game that Arsenal will rue, Koscielny and Giroud in particular.
09/29/2012 9:38 AM EDT
Tick.. tock.. Hazard fakes yet another Arsenal defender out of his socks to win a corner.
09/29/2012 9:35 AM EDT
"This is his moment," urges Darke on ESPN as he turns around Cech and he fires into side netting. What a wasted opportunity.
09/29/2012 9:34 AM EDT
Arsenal have time to find a second.
09/29/2012 9:32 AM EDT
The Arsenal urgency seems to have been dampened as the minutes tick away. Do they have a push in them? Cazorla shoots over top-left corner from a terrific spot.
09/29/2012 9:30 AM EDT
@ JoshElliottABC :
Does Gervinho even know what offside is...? #sigh #Arsenal
09/29/2012 9:29 AM EDT
In this case, he used it. The Chelsea captain deflected Koscielny's header into the post. Again, there was offside so it wouldn't have counted. Also, Mata off. Bertrand on. It's the 86th minute.