Visiting Stamford Bridge is probably a long way down on Arsene Wenger’s list of favourite things to do. Only one place above being stuck in a lift with Jose Mourinho, Sam Allardyce and Tony Pullis.

On Sunday Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge, scene of some of their worst performances in recent years. The Gunners results in the last five league visits to the Bridge read Won 0, Draw 0, Lost 5. Goals scored 2 and goals conceded 15. It’s not pretty is it.

Arsenal's last away win at the Bridge came in 2011 in that freakish 3-5 win. It was the game John Terry fell over some air and RVP (or the little Dutch boy inside him) ran through to score unchallenged. It was also the time Theo tripped himself up, got back up, somehow still with the ball and carried on to score. An odd, error strewn game, very un-Chelsea and oh so very Arsenal.

The Big Issue

Arsenal’s poor record away to Chelsea is part of a bigger problem. The Gunners have not won away to one of the teams at the top end of the league table since January 2015. Since that away win our record against Chelsea, Man United, Man City, Spurs and Liverpool reads W0, L8, D5.

A fairly damning statistic that Arsene Wenger seems to be somewhat baffled by and doesn’t seem to think playing on enemy turf should be an issue. When asked whether he thought the team has a psychological problem when playing away to a big team he didn’t believe three was.

“I don’t really believe in that.” He goes on, “The pitch is 105 metres long and 68 wide, everywhere. And never in my life I could understand that it’s different away from home. It’s just a matter of how much you want it, wherever you play.”

He is right in that playing away shouldn’t make a significant difference. It certainly shouldn’t make the kind of difference that it does to Arsenal.

Whatever noises the players and manager make in public about how this sequence of results doesn’t affect them it sounds hollow. They have to say all the right things in their carefully managed pressers. They are effected psychologically away from home. There is a barrier to overcome, the evidence is there for all to see.

When the Gunners are away to a big team they seem to lack belief, or lose whatever belief they have at the first setback. The loss of fight, good decision making and general composure ensures there is no way back once Arsenal are a goal down.

This away monkey is something that Arsenal need to get off their back. It is no longer Macaque, it’s a full-grown Silverback now.

This weekend is an opportunity to change this pattern. Doing it at the home of the champions would make a statement.

The Opposition

After a laughable start to the season at home to Burnley the Blues have hit their stride. They won the subsequent three league games including an away game to Spurs. Having just beaten some team in the Champions League called Carrier Bag 6-0 confidence will be high.

Chelsea’s new signings Morata and Bakayoko have settled in quickly. They look a slightly more mobile team this year, stronger in midfield and technically better at the sharp end of the pitch.

Chelsea are the reigning Premier League Champions for a reason. Antonio Conte has made the side extremely well organised, difficult to breakdown and pull out of shape. They are a big, physical side, with a fast and lethal front line.

Facing Alvaro Morata will be interesting for the Arsenal defence. He is a technically more accomplished forward than Diego Costa but lacks this predecessor’s nasty streak and intimidating presence.

Eden Hazard will be a handful, Pedro is on form and Willian is a threat from the bench. Alvaro will be well supported by the runners from deep.

Chelsea are an extremely efficient machine, very confident and will be strong favourites for a good reason.

Arsene’s Approach

Since Middlesbrough away last season Arsenal have stuck with the 3-4-2-1 system. By and large it has suited them well.

Since switching Arsenal conceded less, and found some resilience that had deserted them completely prior to the switch. The three at the back system suited the centre backs who are generally pretty good ball players. The extra man at the back, and constant width that the wing-backs provide seemed to bring the best out of Xhaka. The system also enabled Ozil and Alexis to play in the inside left and right channels. That means Arsenals two best players are closer to each other and neither man is shunted out wide.

Results against Man United at home in the league and Man City and Chelsea in the cup suggested Arsenal had found a system that worked.

This season Arsene has continued with the system but achieved mixed results. Wins against Leicester and Bournemouth were bookends to a narrow loss at Stoke and a thrashing at Anfield.

In each of the games where Arsenal have been behind and chasing a goal Wenger has switched the system mid-game to a back four.

In Arsenal’s last game at home to Cologne in the Europa League Wenger switched to a back four. He put the extra man in midfield and Arsenal moved up through the gears to ultimately win comfortably.

Could Arsene be tempted to start the game by sacrificing the extra centre-back and put the extra body in midfield. Chelsea’s midfield is very strong and he must be tempted.

It’s Not All About the System

Systems and tactics are important, they can swing a tight game your way. They can blunt an opposition threat or throw the other team off-balance.

There is a lot of talk around whether Arsene Wenger will continue with the back three system or revert to a back four. Whichever system Arsene decides to adopt they have a chance of winning, and a good chance of getting hammered.

I feel the more important issues are whether Arsenal can play with the right level of intensity both on and off the ball. Can they move the ball at speed and play the fast, aggressive front foot game which we see from them now and again?

In the last league game against at admittedly very poor Bournemouth, Arsenal moved the ball at speed, one touches, and great movement. The front line pressed hard which led to a mistake and Welbeck’s second goal. The work rate and cohesion from front to back was exceptional.

In Arsenal’s last competitive game against Chelsea in the neutral ground of Wembley, the Gunners were by far the better team. They won the second balls, were aggressive, moved the ball quickly and played with belief.

The Team

I think Wenger will stick with the 3-4-2-1 system and switch in-game if things are not going to plan. The big selection dilemma is whether to retain Welbeck who was exceptional in Arsenals last league game or bring back Sanchez, the clubs best player. I think Welbeck might shade it on fitness grounds and get the nod.

Up front surely, he will play Lacazette. Chelsea have a big defence who would have no issue facing a big forward like Giroud. Lacazette’s pace and sharp movement will present them something more challenging.

The rest of the team baring any late fitness issues will be as expected.

Cech; Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac; Ozil, Welbeck; Lacazette

My Prediction

A Bridge Too Far…..Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal.