Chelsea make the short trip from west to north London on Sunday afternoon to face Arsenal in the Mind Series mini tournament at the Emirates Stadium.
This is the first of two matches for the Blues in the pre-season tournament where they will also face Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge in their second outing, and their final fixture of pre-season before their 2021/22 campaign gets underway on August 11 against Villarreal in the UEFA Super Cup in Belfast.
Three days later, they will then be back in action, kicking off their Premier League season with a home clash against London counterparts Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.
A 2-1 defeat to Hibernian opened up Arsenal's pre-season preparations, before they drew 2-2 to another Scottish side, Rangers.
The Gunners have since won their previous two games in pre-season, with 4-1 victories against both Millwall and Watford.
Chelsea have made a 100 per cent start to their pre-season for their preparations ahead of the new season. Thomas Tuchel’s side thrashed Peterborough United 6-1 at Cobham and then overturned a one nil deficit to beat AFC Bournemouth 2-1 on Tuesday night at the Vitality Stadium thanks to goals from half-time substitutes Armando Broja and Ike Ugbo.
There is still plenty to work on for Tuchel who hasn’t had the majority of his first-team squad up until last weekend as they all returned, barring a few, from their holidays following international involvement over the summer.
Chelsea Team News
Tuchel has had to deal with a large squad in his opening two games that has consisted of some first-team members, returning loanees and several Academy stars. But after welcoming a large crop of his main stars that he relied on when he arrived in January, Tuchel will be able, and is likely, to bring them back into the fold against the Gunners.
Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and other stars will be keen to dust any cobwebs off at the Emirates on Sunday for the Blues to step up their training plans to get back to full fitness ahead of the new season.
Pre-season is unpredictable. It has been seen with Arsenal’s poor results while Chelsea are back to their usual winning ways, despite conceding in their first two matches. A London derby should intensify the battle in north London on Sunday, which will see fans return to the stadium.
Chelsea’s record against Arsenal is of mixed history. Visiting the Emirates during the league season has sometimes proved problematic and Tuchel will be looking to wipe those ‘bogey team’ claims away to clinch the bragging rights over their London rivals on Sunday.
The two sides meet again towards the end of August, at the Emirates again also, so both Arteta and Tuchel will eye this pre-season clash as the dress rehearsal for the main event in the Premier League on August 22.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea