EPL: Gunners hoping to bounce back in derby

Arsene Wenger's side welcome Tottenham to the Emirates stadium after being dismantled by Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Chelsea take on Stoke City without Jose Mourinho as he serves his one match stadium ban.

Arsenal host Spurs in the North London derby after being hammered 5-1 by Bayern Munich in midweek Champions League action.   -  REUTERS

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech insists the Gunners will make amends for their Champions League meltdown by winning this weekend's north London derby, while troubled Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea face a tricky trip to the Britannia stadium to face Stoke City.

Arsene Wenger's side suffered a potentially fatal blow to their chances of making the last 16 in Europe's elite club competition after crashing to a dismal 5-1 loss against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The Gunners' joint-heaviest European defeat leaves them in severe danger of missing the knockout stages for the first time in 16 years.

But veteran goalkeeper Cech knows they have a chance to erase those painful memories when they return to Premier League action against arch rivals Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

“Every game comes thick and fast and you have to make sure you recover and move onto the next one,” said Cech, whose second placed team have won their last five league matches and are behind leaders Manchester City on goal difference.

“The defeat to Bayern is tough to take but in a way you have to accept the team you played was superior to us in everything they have done. In terms of the league, you have to make sure you are ready for the next game.”

Fifth placed Tottenham's hopes of avenging their League Cup loss against Arsenal earlier this season won't be helped by their gruelling schedule over the last week.

Mauricio Pochettino's team beat Aston Villa on Monday then hosted Anderlecht in the Europa League on Thursday, leaving them with little recovery time before facing Arsenal.

“We need to take the schedule and not complain about that,” Pochettino said. “It's true this is not the best condition but we need to be ready and we need to take the excuse away from the players.”

Britannia blues for Mou?

Mourinho will remain firmly in the spotlight when Chelsea visit Stoke on Saturday, even though the beleaguered Blues boss won't actually be at the Britannia Stadium.

The 52-year-old isn't allowed any contact with his team as he serves a one-match stadium ban following his half-time dismissal at West Ham last month.

It will be fascinating to see how Chelsea's players respond to Mourinho's temporary absence given the numerous reports of a dressing room mutiny against the manager.

The crisis-torn English champions are languishing in 15th place, although Mourinho got some much-needed breathing space on Wednesday with a vital 2-1 win over Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League.

City seek to keep momentum

Manchester City provide daunting opposition for Aston Villa's new manager Remi Garde when the Frenchman takes charge of the division's bottom club for the first time on Sunday.

City secured their place in the Champions League last 16 with two games to spare thanks to an impressive 3-1 win at Sevilla in midweek.

In contrast, Villa were beaten for the ninth time in 11 league matches this season as former Lyon boss Garde watched from the stands at Tottenham on Monday ahead of the official start of his reign.

After ending their three-game goal drought with a 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow, fourth placed Manchester United host West Bromwich Albion.

Meanwhile, Liverpool will be hoping to continue their good start under Jurgen Klopp as they welcome Crystal Palace to Anfield on the back of three successive wins.


Bournemouth v Newcastle, Leicester v Watford, Manchester United v West Brom, Norwich v Swansea, Stoke v Chelsea, Sunderland v Southampton, West Ham v Everton, Arsenal v Tottenham, Aston Villa v Manchester City, Liverpool v Crystal Palace.

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