Per Mertesacker believes Chelsea can be quite predictable in their pattern of play and have ‘habits’ that Arsenal can exploit at Stamford Bridge.
The Gunners have won three of their four meetings with the Blues since Antonio Conte took charge, including the FA Cup final and in the Community Shield.
Mertesacker played in Arsenal’s two most recent victories against their London rivals and is out for more blood when the two sides collide at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea recovered from a disappointing opening day defeat to Burnley to win the remainder of their Premier League fixtures and propel themselves to third but will want to keep the pressure on Manchester United at the top of the table.
Chelsea v Arsenal since Conte was appointed
4 Feb 2017: Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal
27 May 2017: Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea
6 Aug 2017: Arsenal (4) 1-1 (1) Chelsea
Arsenal, meanwhile, bounced back against Bournemouth after back-to-back defeats to Stoke and Liverpool and can move level on points with Chelsea with a win.
There’s plenty to play for for both sides but Mertesacker insists Arsenal know exactly where Chelsea are most vulnerable and that expectations for leaving Stamford Bridge with a good result are high.
‘They have habits in their game, though, and we need to read that well,’ Mertesacker said.
‘That’s what we did, especially at Wembley twice in three months.
‘Those who watched the games closely could see they have habits, especially playing out from the back.
‘We allow them a little bit, but not too much, and stand on the right side of our position.
‘The key is to stick to what we have done. We have high expectations of ourselves.’