The Premier League schedule handed Arsenal a nasty start, and they've looked very good since navigating their way out of it. They started the season with 0-0 draws against Stoke and Sunderland, but that was hardly cause for concern. The Gunners just happened to draw both of the Wenger Kryptonite teams to start the season, and they've won three of four since.
Last week, they impressed in a 1-1 draw at Eastlands. Manchester City looked unable to cope with the Gunners at points, and only some poor play in front of goal by Gervinho and Olivier Giroud prevented them from taking all three points.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have somewhat quietly played their way to the top of the table, mostly because they haven't really played anyone. Their strongest opponent, Newcastle, looked fairly lifeless when they came to Stamford Bridge. Against Queens Park Rangers, Fernando Torres had a poor game even by his currently low standards in a 0-0 draw. Chelsea have yet to do anything convincing against a good team in the Premier League, and they drew Juventus at home in their Champions League opener.
The Gunners have been boosted by the somewhat surprising resurgence of Abou Diaby, who has been very good to start the year, but he's still just as lacking defensively as he was before his bad string of injuries. Arsenal are going to try to win the possession battle and play in their opponent's half as always, and they're going to have to succeed in that aim while avoiding giveaways to mask their lack of a defensive presence in midfield.
Chelsea youngster Oscar is off to a brilliant start, while Juan Mata seems to have re-gained his form over the last couple of games. Even though Oscar is still very inexperienced at this level, while Torres is still in poor form, Arsenal are going to get lit up if they let Chelsea get the ball up to their attacking midfield players quickly after giveaways.
No matter what happens on Saturday afternoon, one fanbase will be filled with all kinds of hope that their team is a true challenger to Manchester United and Manchester City for the title. Is this true? Probably not, but neutrals should probably cheer for one team -- either team -- to take all three points to keep hopes of a three-team title race alive.
Arsenal injuries and suspensions
Chelsea injuries and suspensions
The absence of Szczesny hasn't been as big of a problem as most anticipated, but Vito Mannone has had plenty of shaky moments in goal. He's facing a tough test in theory on Saturday, but Fernando Torres is still struggling to hit the target. Wilshere, Rosicky and Sagna are all on their way back. Lampard is expected to start for Chelsea. Terry is available while appealing his suspension on charges of racist abuse.
Match Date/Time: 12:45 p.m. local, 7:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Emirates Stadium, London, England
TV: ESPN (U.S. - English), ESPN Deportes (U.S. - Spanish), Sky Sports 2 (U.K.), TSN2 (Canada)
Online: ESPN3 (U.S.)