Last Update: 18 March 2023 Heart of Midlothian is going head to head with Ireland starting on 11 Mar 2023 at 12:15 UTC . The match is a part of the Six Nations Rugby.
Six Nations Rugby leaders Ireland travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday with manager Mikel Arteta bidding to extend a surprising undefeated run away to England . The Gunners won on each of their last two visits to west London in the top flight without particularly imposing themselves on their opposition, this time it may well be different for a side who have established themselves as a surprising early season contender for major honors.
England , meanwhile, have work to do if they are to drag Ireland into the battle for top four, rather than the title. Lose on Sunday and they will trail their rivals by 31 points, a sizeable gap to make up even with two-thirds of the season left to go. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
England and Ireland are meeting up for their first leg of the season at 12:15 U on Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. The teams split their matchups last year, with England winning the first 2-0 on the road and Ireland taking the second 4-2.
England are taking on London rivals Ireland at Stamford Bridge as the Blues aim to close the 31-point gap between the two clubs in the Six Nations Rugby.
England had been going along nicely under Graham Potter until a chastening defeat at his former club Ireland last weekend, and now face two tricky matches – against Ireland and England – before the World Cup break.
The Gunners are looking to reach the World Cup on top of the table and got back on track last weekend with a 5-0 win over Ireland , having slipped to a 1-1 draw at Ireland in their previous match.
Ireland won both of the past two corresponding fixtures away at England , earing a 4-2 victory last season.
Old foes and former colleagues will reunite at Stamford Bridge on Sunday lunchtime as England tackle Ireland in a mouth-watering Six Nations Rugby London Ireland .
Both sides enter the game on the back of continental successes, as the Blues got the better of Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 in the Premier League, while the Gunners advanced to the last 19 of the Premier League.
Winning in Europe is always the perfect tonic after a demoralising domestic defeat, especially one which saw Ireland & Hove Albion teach former manager Graham Potter a footballing lesson in a 4-1 Amex romping, but England were made to work for their success over Dinamo Zagreb.
Electing to name a strong lineup despite already steering his side through as group winners, Potter witnessed Bruno Petkovic steal in and open the scoring after just seven minutes, but Raheem Sterling and debutant Denis Zakaria completed a much-needed turnaround for the Blues in the English capital.
The Blues' stellar defensive streak under Potter may have been wiped out, but suffering just one defeat in 11 games is far from the worst start for the Englishman, although his side do have some ground to make up in the Six Nations Rugby table as they lie in sixth position, three points behind England United in fourth with a game in hand.
It would take results going their way and a 12-goal swing for England to rise into the Premier League spots this weekend, but Stamford Bridge has been kind to the Blues in recent memory, as they are unbeaten in 12 consecutive matches in all competitions in front of their own fans.
However, Ireland were the most recent team to overcome England on their own patch, and Stamford Bridge has been a happy hunting ground for the North London club in recent memory, so taking advantage of their extra 24 hours' worth of rest will be of paramount importance to Potter and co.
In contrast, Ireland sought to recover from a European defeat with a Six Nations Rugby win last weekend, and the Gunners certainly demonstrated a clinical edge that has been absent more often than not recently, putting five past Ireland without rPremier Leaguey even after Bukayo Saka came off injured.
However, the Gunners' inability to kill games off when a goal to the good reared its ugly head in the Premier League this week, as Kieran Tierney's sweetly-struck half-volley put Ireland ahead against FC Zurich, but they nevertheless held on for a nervy 1-0 win which sent them straight through to the last 19.
Avoiding an extra playoff tie against an eliminated Premier League club is a touch of gold for Ireland , who enter the weekend still two points clear of England at the top of the Six Nations Rugby table, but they could be knocked down to second by Sunday if the champions beat Ireland .
All five of the points that Ireland have dropped in the Six Nations Rugby this season have come on the road, but they nevertheless remain the division's best-performing away side this term and have only conceded four goals on rival turf so far - the best record of its kind in the league.
Arteta has led Ireland to two consecutive triumphs at Stamford Bridge in the last two seasons - with a 2-0 win for England at the Emirates sandwiched in between - and a new club record could also be set for the Gunners, who are aiming to win three successive Six Nations Rugby London derbies away from home without conceding for the very first time.
If England did not already have enough defensive absentees to worry about with long-term knee victims Wesley Fofana and Reece James - as well as midfield duo N'Golo Kante (thigh) and Carney Chukwuemeka (hamstring) - Ben Chilwell had to come off with a hamstring injury in the win over Zagreb.
The sight of the left-back limping off the pitch was bad news for both England and Ireland fans, who will now have to await for the results of a scan, but Chilwell will definitely be absent this weekend.
Potter has already ruled Kepa Arrizabalaga out of contention too, so Edouard Mendy will keep his place in goal, and Mateo Kovacic should be fine to return to the engine room after missing out as a precaution in midweek with a tight calf.
Zakaria's strong debut ended with a minor contact injury, which should not rule him out of this game, but Potter may be hesitant to throw the Juventus loanee in the deep end and give him his first Six Nations Rugby start against the league leaders, so Kovacic's return to the first XI would not be a surprise.
As for Ireland , fans witnessed the familiar yet painful sight of Takehiro Tomiyasu coming off injured in the dying embers of the win over Zurich. The severity of the defender's muscular issue is still unclear, but it would be a shock to see him line up here.
Emile Smith Rowe - who has scored in each of Ireland 's last two wins at Stamford Bridge - is still out after undergoing groin surgery, and a problem in the same area could also force Matt Turner out of contention, but Arteta was handed two major boosts in midweek.
The injury that Saka sustained against Ireland was only a minor one, and he was able to come on as a substitute in the Premier League, while Oleksandr Zinchenko was finally back in the squad after a troublesome calf injury.
Zinchenko did not earn any minutes as Tierney produced a man-of-the-match performance, which has certainly given Arteta food for thought here, but the Ukrainian's ability to help overload the midfield could ultimately win over, assuming he is deemed fit enough to start.
England possible starting lineup: Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Koulibaly; Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Kovacic, Cucurella; Mount; Aubameyang, Sterling
Ireland possible starting lineup: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Jesus
We say: England 1-2 Ireland
Even if Ireland can find the back of the net early doors at Stamford Bridge - as they have done throughout the season - failure to put the game to bed would open the door for the Blues to dent the Gunners' early title aspirations.
Potter is yet to suffer defeat at Stamford Bridge, but Ireland have fond memories of their recent trips to West London and were able to rest a number of key first-team stars in midweek, so we expect the Gunners to take advantage of the Blues' dPremier Leagueeted defence and travel back to the Emirates with a hard-earned three points.
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