The similarity is quite clear. Last Sunday Chelsea went to Tottenham off the back of a disappointing home defeat against lower-table South-Coast-side Bournemouth. This Sunday we return to north London to play Arsenal after a disappointing home loss to lower-table South-Coast-side Southampton.

Can the Blues draw on the inspiration of the 2-0 win over Spurs ahead of our outing at the Emirates? Captain Cesar Azpilicueta considers the question.‘We have to look at what we have done well,’ he begins, ‘especially in the game at Tottenham when we found a team where we all felt together and we played well. Even after we were 11 against 10 and we could manage better the game, it is not easy to go there and to win 2-0.‘But we have to learn from the Southampton game as well,’ the skipper points out, ‘because it is important to see the reality and to see where we must do better if we want to be at the top. We were in a better position obviously before the international break. The gap was bigger and we were in third position and now we see it is very competitive and we have to be ready for the second part of the season.‘It is true we have not been able to replicate the away form where we can win games in tough places like Sunday’s game against Tottenham where we did well and we kept our first clean sheet for a long time.’

Tomorrow’s match will be Arsenal’s first at home under their new manager Mikel Arteta and also the first with David Luiz in the opposition side since his summer move from Chelsea to the Gunners.‘I have never played with Mikel Arteta,’ says Azpilicueta. ‘I know him because he is Spanish and he played for Arsenal but I don’t have any special relationship with him. For Arsenal it is a new beginning with a new coach but for us it is a massive game after losing against Southampton. It is a London derby and obviously we have to bounce back after the disappointing Boxing Day.‘When I arrived at Chelsea David was here, then he left for PSG, then he came back and he is a player who was very important for Chelsea as part of the squad which won the Champions League, two Europa Leagues, the Premier League with Antonio Conte, but we know football changes and players move here and there and now he has started a new chapter for him at Arsenal. On Sunday he is going to be a rival and we are going to fight for our teams.’