Statistics don’t always tell the whole story but David Luiz has a right to point to them when he turns up at Anfield with new club Arsenal still being billed as the Premier League’s defensive comedy routine up against the country’s best centre-back, Virgil van Dijk.
The pressure is on Unai Emery to deliver at Arsenal this season. Failure to finish in the top four or win a trophy could signal an abrupt end for Arsene Wenger’s successor at London’s biggest club. Wenger’s early success and general brilliance ultimately afforded him 22 years running football affairs so replacing him was always going to be a challenge despite fortunes waning towards the end of his reign.
Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea battled to a 3-3 draw with Roma to stay top of Champions League Group C. Chelsea had surrendered a two-goal lead to trail 3-2 with 20 minutes remaining after former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko’s quick-fire double.
They are supposed to be embroiled in yet another ‘crisis’ at Stamford Bridge, but a dramatic victory over London rivals Tottenham at Wembley, inspired by two-goal Marcos Alonso, showed pretty emphatically that the Chelsea spirit is very much alive, even in the post-John Terry era.
Chelsea will reach a big moment in their history when they arrive at Wembley today not just because of the opportunity to complete a ‘Double’ but because it marks the first game in a new era without captain John Terry, the man behind so much of their modern success. So, the big question is who will step up to replace him?
If there was any tension remaining in the title race — and let’s be honest there wasn’t a lot — Chelsea’s comfortable victory over Middlesbrough has seen it totally evaporate and opened up an opportunity for Antonio Conte’s side to be crowned champions at West Brom on Friday before rivals Tottenham even kick a ball again.
At 29, and with an astonishing 671 senior appearances for club and country already to his name, Cesc Fabregas insists he is facing new challenges under Antonio Conte and has pledged to remain at Chelsea for as long as the club wants him to stay.