Arsenal will come face to face with long-time arch-nemesis Didier Drogba for the first time since 2010 when they meet Chelsea at the Emirates.
Drogba plundered a fearsome 13 goals in 14 games against the Gunners during his first spell at Stamford Bridge between 2004 and 2012.
Fortuitously for those of a Goonerish persuasion, old Father Time has dulled his explosive big-match influence since then.
When the Ivorian battering ram left the Blues for Shanghai in the wake of their 2011/12 Champions League triumph he entrusted the Arsenal-tormentor-in-chief mantle to the now departed Juan Mata.
The Spaniard did him proud, procuring himself four goals and two assists in six meetings with the Gunners before departing for Old Trafford.
Arsene Wenger’s men count as the most profitable career foes in terms of scoring for both men, but since the latter’s exit, the role of their blue-clad bête noire has yet to be claimed anew.
Three post-Mata Chelsea aces have done more than their colleagues to throw their hats into this particular ring…
Eden Hazard and Oscar have both struck twice in their five career meetings with Arsenal – not necessarily the most intimidating of form figures.
Yet, since the departure of Mata, the heir to Drogba’s Gunners-bane status, both have struck twice in three games against the north London side.
The Emirates outfit remain the most profitable English foe of the Brazilian Charles Bronson lookalike’s career to date.
Hazard and Oscar are 2/1 and 11/4 to find the net against Arsenal respectively, but it has to be worth considering Diego Costa at 7/4 in the same market.
The Spaniard’s mixture of superb traditional centre-forward skill and Machiavellian rule-bending mark him out as the most likely to ultimately replace Drogba’s sizeable space in the darkest recesses of the north London unconsciousness.
Costa may yet make the bench for the Sunday afternoon showdown and bids to augment a record of one goal in as many games against the Gunners.
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