A new month brings old rivals to the Bridge. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton lick their lips at the prospect of the Premier League’s tasty starter this weekend…
Chelsea versus Arsenal, London’s oldest top-flight saga, delivers its 160th instalment this weekend. The derby fixture was originally played on 9 November 1907 and first blood was drawn by the Pensioners thanks to a brace from ‘Gatling Gun’ George Hilsdon.
Saturday’s game can produce two acceptable outcomes for the league leaders, while the Gunners’ challenge will fade further unless they take all the points.
The 12.30 kick-off also hands first-mover advantage to whoever prevails, as second-placed Tottenham, level with their north London rivals, nine points behind the Blues, play Middlesbrough in the evening. Liverpool, 10 behind the table-toppers and fourth, face a 3pm trip to Hull, while the Manchesters, City and United, are in action on Sunday.
Further rescheduling for television ensures that Chelsea two matches next month – West Ham away and Watford at the Bridge – are the last ones played that week. Anyone might think the broadcasters are attempting to apply as much pressure as possible on the league leaders.