Arsenal Vs Chelsea: Threats, Strengths and Tactics

You know it’s not going to be a good day when the first thing you read after waking up is that Van Persie will be out for a long, long time! I find it difficult to take my mind of such news and it always makes me wonder if the players can focus on the game at hand when news of this sort is likely to affect the whole season. But focus, we must.

I thought the best way to preview this game would be to look at threats we face and the strengths we have. Tactics must counter the threats and bring out the best in our game.


Chelsea Defence: The Blues have been drilled in the art of defence by the dark lord of anti-football, Mourinho. They don’t make too many individual mistakes and remain highly organized.

Drogba: The Ivorians scoring record and impact on results against Arsenal is well documented. Our defenders can’t match him for physical strength and power, hardly anyone can, so it’s even more important to get the tactics right.

Anelka: He has the pace to trouble us on the counter. The Frenchman is clinical enough to score from half chances.

Set Pieces: The visitors have several men who can score with their head.

Shots from Distance: Lampard, Deco, Anelka, Essien … All of them can work the keeper from distance.


Arshavin: Our Russian magician can create something out of nothing at any moment. Tight games are often decided by individual brilliance and Arshavin is due a big one.

Cesc: El Capitan will be the best football player on the pitch. If he gets on the ball more often in the final third, Cesc will unlock the Chelsea defence.

Speed: Our players are younger and in my opinion more skillful in possession. We can control the tempo of the game and keep Chelsea pinned in their half.

Movement: Our players don’t have a physical presence but our movement can wreck as much havoc.

Vermaelen: I have a feeling the Belgian will be a surprise for the Chelsea players.

Talking Tactics

I don’t expect Chelsea to come out and attack us. An interesting observation is that most of Chelsea threats are about individuals and moments. It gives them the freedom to sit back, knowing that a moment can come for them anytime and if needed, they can push forward towards the end.

On the other hand, our strengths are more collective in nature. If one fails, so do the other. For instance, if we don’t have the right movement, it automatically affects Fabregas’ game.

The biggest challenge for Le Boss is to ensure that our players are focused for the duration of the game. There is enough quality in the opposition to make us suffer for minor lapses. Unfortunately, in the past, we have failed on this front.

The second important aspect is the movement of the front three. These players have the intelligence to know what they should do, yet, at times they are caught on their heels. We need more from these players in terms of desire and invention. I am hoping Vela will get another start but Arsene might go in for the experience of Eduardo.

I am quite keen to see the back four that Arsene sends out. Hopefully, he will not risk Gallas unless the Frenchman is fully fit. This could be a game where Wenger’s earlier reluctance to rotate at the center of defence might trouble us. Looks like Senderos is well down the pecking order and Silvestre might have to step up. A scary thought, but his days with the Mancs will have taught him how to handle a monster.

Can Song play at Center Back? It’s a good question and a possibility worth considering. The only problem is that we will have too many changes to the spine of the team and Wenger doesn’t favor that approach.

Left back is another position up for grabs. In his interview with ATVO, AW said the choice is between Traore and Eboue! The young Frenchman will be a good choice if we can use his pace well as Right Back is the weakest link in the Chelsea defence.

All our players will have to be on their toes for every set piece. As long as we don’t give someone a free header this threat can be controlled. We also need better tackling and tactical fouls from our defensive players to break down the counter attacks.

Silvestre might not have the speed to catch up with the likes of Drogba and Anelka. It’s important to ensure he has enough support. Song will have to cut out any adventure and focus solely on breaking up play.

Must Win?

I believe this is a must win game. In terms of points, this game is worth three like any other. But in terms of confidence and belief this game is worth more than any other game this season. Three points would be the perfect launch pad for a winning run.

I expect the starting line up to be,

Almunia; Sagna, Gallas(Silvestre), Vermaelen, Traore; Song, Cesc, Denilson; Nasri, Eduardo, Arshavin.

Interestingly, almost a year ago, we beat the Blues at the Bridge. Chelsea were top of the table then, eight points clear of United who had a game in hand and were third in the table. We all know how the season ended. Déjà vu anyone!?

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23 Responses to Arsenal Vs Chelsea: Threats, Strengths and Tactics

  1. Deen nigeria says:

    We shall surely win , 2-0 to the gunners

  2. umo-nkan says:

    We need to win this match to prove a point.Chelsea are beatable and come tomorrow victory will be ours by God’s grace.

  3. Vertino says:

    Desi, very meticulous observations so let me add my two pennies here (English money and all that haha)

    Chelsea’s Threat

    Defence- True, they have been very solid lately and picked up clean sheets against Liverpool and United. However, they were truly shocking against Wigan and Villa and failed to deal with the aerial threat, especially from set pieces well. Very unlike Chelsea.

    Drogba- His physical attributes, evident in that 2nd goal vs Liverpool at the bridge a month or so ago. He practically bullied the Kop defender into submission. However, let me ask you this. Do you think Johnny Evans is stronger than Drogba? I asked this question to my United friend and he answered in Drogba’s favor. And we know how Evans nullified Drogba’s threat. As strong as Drogba is, he has preyed on our insecurity (largely helped by the fact that we play a high defence line), so if he wins the battle there, there is enough room for him to power through or set up any of the Chelsea runners in Lampard, Cole etc.

    Shots from distance – A cruel reality, Essien’s thundebolt denied us 3 points in 2007 and Anelka’s rocket in May. Reasons why we need Song and Denilson at the top of their game to plug those gaps, especially on the counter.

    Our strengths

    Speed/Movement – In May for the first 20 minutes, we absolutely used both to almost perfect effect. The commentators said we deserved to be ahead, but if we didn’t score it would come back to haunt us. In the end it cost us heavily. Eduardo or Vela, either of them has to get the manager’s backing, send the believe that they are picked on merit, on the basis that they can be clinical to make those chances count.

    • desigunner says:

      Vertino, great observations again.

      Drogba is a very moody sort of player in my opinion. He doesn’t turn up for all the games, not even big ones. Somehow, against us he seems to enjoy raising his game. Another aspect is that our defenders are not very good in the physical duels. See the number of times even the likes of Carlton Cole troubles them physically. When they try to be physical with a striker either they lose the battle or end up giving a clumsy penalty. I guess its a compromise as we want top quality ball playing defenders.

      We need to be clinical. Last year Chelsea had 5 shots on target and scored 4. We need to score early and then ensure that we don’t lose focus.

      • Vertino says:

        Re: Carlton Cole. Valid example as the Hammers strike doesn’t have the same image built up about him as Drogba. I still like to hold the opinion of ‘mind over matter’. Perhaps they need to watch how Keown took no prisoners. Vermaelen is fast taking up that role, Sunday is his “biggest” – metaphorical/literal challenge.

        By the way it should read above “man utd supporting friend”.

      • desigunner says:

        I think it’s a balance of ‘mind over matter’ and defensive technique. Very difficult to divide that in percentage terms.

        Even I am looking forward to TV5’s performance in this game. I think he can be a big player in defence as well as attack.

  4. Vertino says:

    as for the a year ago comparison of Chelsea, haha, even I mentioned the same. Tis true, they collapsed badly. Who knows if they lose on Sunday, they might play for 3rd place vs Spurs/City/Villa/Pool etc later in the season? While we’ll be comfortably ahead of them. Wishful thinking but who knows, could happen!

  5. messi says:

    im gonna pray hard as fuck man, with no aerial height + gallas or song will be the tallest ones in our team, i think almunia will have to come out and get the balls other wise we may concede from set pieces because look at our height, all our tallest players are out injured bendtner, diaby and robin. and i doubt that arsene will play senderos or silvestre. i just cant wait for that game but i will pray HARD!

    1-0 to the gooners time for eduardo or arshavin to step up to the plate.

  6. ashish arora says:

    Hey desigunner
    Wonderful observations man.
    I would like to add a few more points in this.
    1 more key battle will be between fabregas and essien.If fabregas comes on top in this battle we will win.
    I think we need to score in his game as it will be difficult to contain them for 90 min.
    Arsenal will have to spread the ball wide as i think chelsea play very narrow in the midfield area.
    Arsenal will Rock!!!!!!!!!

  7. summer breez says:

    Its my son Ben birthday he is 12 now and winning the match will very well be a cool birthday present
    and there is nothing more fulfilling that one could give to ones child but a wining Arsenal
    With that note in mind i find it a necessity for Arsenal to win our young got to take our youngsters to their dreams to empower their confidence and flourish thire existance well into their future
    With best wishes to Van we need to win and for rosisky and archivan edwardo and vila to score Gas and Danilson too electrifying players come on lets go let us electrocute Chelsea to their seat
    And give a well earned smile to our injured players

  8. TrAnE says:

    Common on Arsenal! Lets not get intimidated by the physical side of Chelsea’s game and show them what Arsenal is and what beautiful football is!

    Gunner forever!

  9. 0.9 Calibre says:

    Great analysis as usual.. but i’d like to add a coupla more points… Firstly, Song will be THE player tomorrow , a lot rests on his young shoulders but should he fail to deal with the tip of the diamond then our makeshift back four is in for a real test! Joe cole is someone with a heart of a striker and the mind of a playmaker.. his versatility will test us both inside and outside the box.. Stifiling him should be one of the key tactics tomorrow and this also explains why Song cant play as CB cos there is no one else to do the Dm duties better than him.

    Secondly, Your team according to me great but I feel we MUST play Rosicky instead of Denilson.. Again two reasons
    1) Denilson simply doesnt have enough minutes under his belt for this game.
    2) I’m sure u’ll remember how Essien OWNED Gerrard in chelseas CL fixture against Liverpool.. Essien will try to do the same to Cesc..ofcourse our movement off the ball will make it difficult for him but should he manage to Stifle Cesc then we have an another creator in Rosicky. And Rosciky’s Workrate is as good as denilsons..

    Now, We will be outnumbered in the midfield.. Which means that Arshavin (Hope he is Ok!) should drift infield and start creating (And he must be in the Wing at the same time.. like Tony says.. Quantum Football).. Its important that Eduardo shows intelligent movement and begins to link up with the midfield.. I still feel he should have had that game against Liege.. but you know.. the Boss knows the best.. hope it works out for the best.. Lets Kick some blue Ass! Go Gunners!!

  10. gooner ji says:

    Well said and great comments as well.
    I would like to add just one point that Drogba is a very good diver and he has done ever so well this season in getting penalties. I think Gallas will be a must for this game. His experience can win us this game.

    • 0.9 Calibre says:

      Ji you are right about Gallas’ experience.. in fact we’ll sorely miss him.. but am not sure if he can do anything against the dives.. If you accept Drogba is a better diver than wayne rooney and Carlton cole then you have to look back a bit.. the pens won by both of them were while feigning to go down against Gallas.. No defender can do anything about the divers.. the FA has to do something.. I think Desi had posted earlier bout Technology implications in Football… that is the only solution.. By the way I hope you watched manure Vs Pompey yeaterady.. rooney went down with minimal contact.. they got a pen.. after that pompey got a bogus pen decision which they happily accepted.. Scholes asked the ref if he “Gave pompey a penalty to even out his poor decision on the earlier occasion when rooney got one”.. now what does that say? Manure veterans themselves accept the fact that they win games cos of diving shrek.. well i cannot give irrefutable evidence that scholes said that.. but he clearly pointed to his own box while talking bout it.. so..

      • gooner ji says:

        Agree with you totally. No defender can do anything for the dives. The FA should do something about it or such incidents will keep on increasing.

      • desigunner says:

        I think everyone realized it was a compensation penalty lol. Unfortunately Mancs got a result even after a very poor performance.

    • desigunner says:

      Sorry, I completely forgot about diving! It’s definitely a big issue and a Chelsea strength.

  11. anup says:

    title hopes are over…(45min)….this team won’t win anything…never….what a shit chelshit are….or are we UNLUCKY AGAIN….

  12. anup says:

    or will it be a greatest comeback??let’s wait n watch…

  13. anup says:

    can any1 can dfend arsenal in any way????

    • diceman1984 says:

      What I will say is this:

      The one thing, on the day, that we did not have was CUTTING EDGE.

      They did not play like a team that won 3-0 but yet did.

      Anup, I said it before that if we stay close, at most 5 points from the top, come the turn of the year, we will have a good shot still.

      But no excuse for this lost. I said they did not look that much superior but they were still the better team on the day. All their strengths shown through in this game. Someone, a striker, must step up for us NOW.

      It sucks, very very very much, but it’s life. They won the battle, it’s like we’re about 6-7 men down to them, but there are still 6 months of war left.

    • desigunner says:

      anup, whats your point? I know it’s frustrating. But if you just keep ranting “we will never win anything” people will just stop taking you seriously.

      We have problems. No one is denying that. But such negativity doesn’t help in anyway. Think about it.

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