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Coming off the back of contrasting fortunes in their weekend matchups, Chelsea and Arsenal prepare for battle in Wednesday’s Premier League London derby at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in their FA Cup semi-final over the weekend, while Mikel Arteta’s side slumped to a third defeat on the bounce during their trip to Southampton.

Failure to sustain a Premier League title charge, clinch the EFL Cup crown or successfully defend their Champions League title are all blots on Thomas Tuchel’s 2021-22 notebook, but the Blues are now only 90 minutes away from ending the season with a coveted trophy to their name.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount’s composed finishes in the second half saw Chelsea break the Palace resistance in their FA Cup semi-final on Sunday afternoon, with the Blues facing Liverpool for the second time in a domestic cup final this term as they seek vengeance for their EFL Cup penalty heartache.

Tuchel’s side have successfully proved that their minor blip from the start of the month was indeed just a minor blip, with a 6-0 thumping of Southampton also seeing them cement their third-placed position in the Premier League table – five points clear of Tottenham Hotspur with two games in hand.

Back-to-back home defeats to Brentford and Real Madrid could yet lead to a sense of apprehension creeping in among the Stamford Bridge fanbase ahead of Wednesday’s game, especially seeing as they have only won 50% of their home league games this term to collect 26 points on their own turf – the eighth-best record in the league.

It has been 29 years since Chelsea last suffered a trio of consecutive defeats on their own turf in all competitions, although the third defeat in that sequence did come against Arsenal, who will undoubtedly need history to be on their side this week amid their alarming downturn in fortunes.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta on April 9, 2022© Reuters

Even before the first ball was kicked at St Mary’s, a portion of Arsenal fans were already growing fearful of the prospect of Southampton ending their dismal run of form in Saturday’s game, with the Saints previously running out 4-0 winners over the Gunners amid their streak of losses in December 2015.

In the end, Gooners’ fears were well-founded, as Jan Bednarek slammed home the contest’s only goal with 44 minutes on the clock, and Arsenal just could not find their way past the impenetrable Fraser Forster, who was nothing short of “exceptional” as a frustrated Mikel Arteta put it.

Taking zero points and scoring just one goal in meetings with Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton has not only threatened Arsenal’s top-four dreams, but their hopes of European football at all, as Arteta’s side have now slipped to sixth in the rankings and remain three points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand following their own defeat to the Seagulls.

With Spurs and Manchester United both possessing a tendency to drop crucial points as well, Arsenal could yet reignite their top-four bid with victories over their continental-challenging rivals in the final few weeks of the season, and never before in their 136-year history have they suffered three consecutive London derby defeats away from home without scoring.

Chelsea eased to a 2-0 win on the Emirates turf in the second gameweek of the 2021-22 Premier League season, but Arsenal have avoided defeat in their last two trips to Stamford Bridge and can be something of a bogey team for the Blues, whose last league double over the Gunners came back in the 2015-16 campaign.

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