Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea’s visit to Emirates Stadium could inspire Arsenal after a poor start to the new season.
The Gunners lost 2-0 at Brentford in their 2021-22 Premier League opener last week and now face a daunting London derby against European champions Chelsea.
However, Mikel Arteta had to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak ahead of the Brentford defeat, meaning Tuchel said it would be “difficult to predict” the line-up.
The Chelsea coach expects Arsenal will respond, though, having beaten the Blues home and away last season.
“It’s always a tough one, always a tight one, like it is in derbies,” Tuchel said. “They had a bit of a rough start, but I think from their perspective it can be a big help that a big rival from within the city arrives now.
“It can create a situation where they stick together and try to win their crowd over with a strong performance. So, we should be absolutely prepared for the best Arsenal possible.
A man who loved a goal against Arsenal: @didierdrogba.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 19, 2021
“They have qualities: a strong coach, a strong team, strong line-up, strong signings. I think we should prepare for the best Arsenal possible.
“At the same time, do what we need to do, push the standards to the limits, let’s see where our limit is. We look for an intense game, for intensity, for a rhythm, for a confident game on and off the ball. This is what we’re looking for.
“Anything else but a tough game would be a big surprise.”
Arsenal could win three in a row against the Blues in the Premier League for the first time since 2004, while they have already enjoyed three straight victories in all competitions against their London rivals.
That run dates back to the 2019-20 FA Cup final, with Chelsea only winning three of their past 14 games against the Gunners in all competitions.
They have at least won four away London derbies on the bounce in the top flight, their longest sequence since five under Jose Mourinho in 2006.