Arsenal vs Chelsea: Romelu Lukaku can give Gunners the Blues on second debut

Arsenal will hope to continue their recent hoodoo over Chelsea on Sunday, although a returning Romelu Lukaku might have something to say about that.

When: Sunday August 22, 4.30pm GMT

How to watch: Sky Sports

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Best bets

Romelu Lukaku to score a brace at 11/2

Chelsea to win and both teams to score at 14/5

Arsenal to score the first goal at 9/5

Chelsea will look to heighten Arsenal's misery when the two London sides meet at the Emirates on Sunday, with Romelu Lukaku's second Blues debut the headline story.

Arsenal fans were left with a crushing sense of deja vu on the opening day of the campaign, as their defensive frailties revealed themselves again in a 2-0 defeat to newly promoted Brentford.

There were no such problems for Chelsea on the first matchday of the season, as they thrashed Crystal Palace 3-0

Last three meetings

Chelsea 0-1 Arsenal (May 12, 2021)

Arsenal turned the form book on it's head when these two sides met at the back-end of last season.

Emile Smith Rowe scored the only goal in the 16th minute, with the Gunners showing the kind of defensive resolve that has so often eluded them in the past.

Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea (December 26, 2020)

The two sides met at the Emirates for a Boxing Day clash last season, and it was Arsenal who handed out a good old-fashioned Christmas stuffing.

Mikel Arteta's men seized control during the first half thanks to goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Granit Xhaka.

Bukayo Saka added a third shortly after half-time, and that was that as far as the home side were concerned. Tammy Abraham bagged a late consolation for Chelsea.

Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea - FA Cup Final (August 1, 2020)

Arsenal's recent hoodoo over Chelsea even extends to an FA Cup final success.

The Blues actually took an early lead in this one through Christian Pulisic, and they looked like they might be in for an easy afternoon at Wembley.

However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had other ideas. The Gabon international equalised from the spot midway through the first half before netting a second-half winner.

Premier League head-to-head

Arsenal wins: 22

Draws: 17

Chelsea wins: 19

Arsenal goals: 77

Chelsea goals: 78

New season, same old Arsenal?

There can be little doubt that Arsenal have made a genuine attempt to inject some quality into their side this summer but it feels like they have more to prove than ever.

Ben White has arrived from Brighton, but he was given a torrid debut at Brentford.

The worry for Gunners' fans will be that another summer appears to have passed without the same old deficiencies addressed.

Chelsea are a physical side, and they look well capable of bullying Arsenal as well as outclassing them. It could turn into a very long afternoon for the home side if they are not at their best.

Return of the Rom

All eyes will surely be on near-£100million signing Romelu Lukaku.

Chelsea had been looking for a top striker to spearhead their side and they may have bagged the best of the lot in the Belgian.

"I've done a full pre-season," Lukaku said. "For now, I just want to get to know my team-mates better. Then, at the end of the day, I'm available for the manager if he wants to play me."

Lukaku's first Chelsea debut was from the bench in a seven-minute cameo against Norwich in 2011, and it's fair to assume he will have a much greater involvement this time around.

Goalscorer bets

With Lukaku declaring himself fit and available to play, it would be a major surprise to see him not start the match at the Emirates.

The Belgian is exactly the kind of physically dominant striker Arsenal have always struggled to contain, and he looks fine value to score a brace at 11/2.

For Arsenal, Emile Smith Rowe looks attractive at 15/2 anytime. The youngster has been enjoying an expanded role this season after signing a new contract and certainly looked a threat at Brentford on the opening day.

READ MORE: From Willian to White: Rating Mikel Arteta's transfers as Arsenal boss

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