Chelsea V Arsenal: Forgone Conclusion Or A Pleasant Surprise

Arsenal visit Stamford Bridge a week after our title challenge has supposedly been transformed into a disaster. Many supporters have already decided that this game will result in another humiliating defeat taking us out of the title fight and dumping us in one for third and fourth place.

Given our recent record against the big teams and Drogba’s record against us it’s probably a logical conclusion. Football though, has an inherent ability to defy logic and some of the optimistic fans amongst us have good reasons to hope for a pleasant surprise against the Blues.

Not least of which is our result in the same fixture last year when very few really gave Arsenal a hope. The other feeling I have is that both Cesc and Arshavin are due a big game. This is one aspect where we have struggled to some extent in these matches. While the likes of Drogba, Rooney and Ronaldo before them rose to the occasion, our star players haven’t stamped their class on these games. We won at the Bridge last year when Van Persie delivered.

Too many of our key players talk of winning something but don’t deliver in crunch games. I realize that often our defense fails and we concede stupid goals but we also tend to miss chances at the other end. It’s been a while since all Arsenal players have given a hundred percent in a game with our title rivals and these are games where you want the players to raise their game.

Our back four will have their work cut out. They cannot be as poor as they were for Chelsea’s first two goals at the Emirates. Defenders have to take responsibility and not put the onus on the goalkeeper all the time.

We also need to find a solution for the Denilson problem. He has been woeful in the last few games and seriously weakens our midfield. I guess Wenger might put a half-fit Diaby in his place. In case Diaby can’t make it the other option would be to bring Nasri into the middle. The risk with that is that the Frenchman’s defensive discipline isn’t exactly better than the Brazilians. The advantage is that Nasri is physically stronger and a better passer. At the very least I would like to see Ramsey replace Denilson.

Up front Wenger has decisions to make. According to the manager Bendtner isn’t fully fit just yet. That leaves Arshavin to lead the line once again. Walcott might be another option but he doesn’t look ready to start centrally in a game as important as this one. The young Englisman could come in on the wing if Wenger decides he needs to give Denilson a rest. Eboue could also offer a direct threat from wide on the right.

From a Chelsea point of view all the focus in on Terry but I am more interested in the fact that Essien will be missing. In the game at the Emirates Ancelotti played both Essien and Obi Mikel in a clear sign of respect for the Arsenal midfield. It will be interesting to see how they line up at home.

Arsenal should have the advantage of not playing in midweek as Chelsea would be recovering from their tough trip to the KC Stadium. At least this time Arsene cannot get away by saying the players were not sharp enough!

The game might also be decided by mental strength. Our players are under pressure as their credentials are questioned and an unpleasant record against the title rivals is slowly building up. Are the players impatient? Inhibited? Anxious? We need each and everyone of them to be fully focused and play the game on our terms. Too often we lose control of the pace of the game and start playing into the opposition’s hands.

Mathematically this game might not decide the title challenge but mentally it is likely to. Clawing back a nine point deficit would require nothing less than a miracle while a three point one would set us up perfectly. This one has all the makings of a classic six-pointer and I have a feeling both teams will be happy with a point.

The team I would like to see is,

Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy;  Song, Cesc, Nasri; Eboue, Arshavin, Rosicky.

My guess is that both teams will share a goal and a point.


21 Responses to Chelsea V Arsenal: Forgone Conclusion Or A Pleasant Surprise

  1. bobbygee says:

    The mid week tussel against Villa took it out on us. This week is a full week of practcie and rest. Six points separate us from Chelsea. Denilson can score but he is not that good of a defender. Diaby is a game time decision. Lets hope it is a go.
    I think the Gunner nation will eb surprised by the result. Arshavin and Nasri will have huge matches.
    http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

  2. nicky says:

    I like the suggested team except for the omission of Diaby. This is just the sort of game where his power and unpredictability could reap benefit.

  3. Nischit says:

    Diaby and Eduardo are injured which leaves our bench pretty weak. I’d be really surprised to see Denilson starting this game, and if he does, it can only mean Arsene is seeing something that we don’t or his “replacements” i.e nasri, ramsey are doing much worse in his eyes. As you rightly mentioned, Nasri would atleast offer some drive and creativity in the center and hopefully the added defensive responsibility will make him less lazy. I really wonder if Wenger will throw a curve ball and start with a 4-4-2. Song Cesc, Rosicky Nasri, Bendtner Arshavin?

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah I have tried all my creative thinking to see what Denilson offers and what Arsene might be seeing in him. Except the stats for passing there isn’t much else. Since Arsene is a stickler for objectivity I have a feeling he might be missing out on Denilson’s weaknesses.

      Of course, he would have much more detailed stats and he sees the game much better than me so that’s just a freaky opinion.

      I doubt he will change the formation. Mainly because the way we play, our players need time to adapt to changes. Even when there are too many changes in personnel we tend to struggle a bit. A formation change could cause a similar problem.

      • Nischit says:

        I’m guessing he had a week to reflect on the mauling we received, and if he identified the formation as the cause for our performance, then I think a week is long enough to get used to a new formation. However, I doubt that its the formation as much as that the players we have right now don’t suit the 4-3-3, especially given their performances. Arshavin is definitely due a big game but I feel playing him up there all by himself is pretty useless. I’m not saying a formation change will help, but given that we cant change our personnel, some change is definitely necessary

  4. redoak13 says:

    don’t get your hope that a miracle will happen. . . just enjoy the game even though i want arsenal to beat the crap out of Chelsea, i got a feeling the players as what we have seen in recent big games that they will always falter when the going gets tough. we are simply just not good enough at the moment to beat them. sadly.

    cheers

  5. nicky says:

    Support for Arsenal has never been for the fainthearted. The Club’s history shows, time and time again, that they often win when certain to lose and vice versa.

  6. Aussie Jack says:

    If Wenger is bold in his selection and Arsenal come out of the blocks from the first whistle ,and not take 20 minutes to find their rhythm, then we stand good chance of taking he points.

  7. nicky says:

    I would like to see a large notice placed on the inside of the Arsenal dressing room door tomorrow, reading

    EVERYONE WILL NOW GET STUCK IN

  8. The above person is right. I am still fuming about our defeat against Manchester Utd. Against Chelsea, it is going to be another humiliation. Both Almunia & Fabianski should be sold during the summer transfer window. I am not going to watch the game tomorrow because I do not want be humiliated again. GOD BLESS ARSENAL TOMORROW IN JESUS NAME.

  9. I am not going to watch, the game tomorrow because I do not want to be humiliated again. Tomorrow, Arsene Wenger, should be radical enough by putting Vito Mannone, the Italian boy in goal. He is the best goalkeeper, we have right now. As, I have already asserted, Almunia & Fabianski should be sold during the summer transfer window. Under any circumstances, we can count on them to win a big game. GOD BLESS ARSENAL TOMORROW IN JESUS NAME.

  10. Nischit says:

    btw, anyone here bold enough for predictions? I have a feeling we are going to show up tomo and am going for a 1-0 to the arsenal

  11. tony says:

    diaby brings some balance to the side. his long legs eat up the kilometers. i thought he was poor in the air but the way challenged that bolton player in the air to set up tv5 made me think twice. he has bags of pace and offers us a lot both defensive and offensively. on the counter attack, theres few who can match him for pace and he scores the occassional goal. the key for us is if diaby plays or not. funny this was the same player most in the gooner nation wanted shipped out!!!

  12. The Mark says:

    This game goes 2-1 Chelsea and believe me, I don’t care for either team. An Arsenal win would make me happy but a tie wouldn’t hurt either. Man U looks hot right now.

    Almunia is the weak link. I don’t think you can win anything with him.

  13. gooner ji says:

    A draw will be a good result but a victory will put us firmly back in the title race.
    A midfield of Song,Cesc and Diaby can really win this one for Arsenal. The pressure will be immense on us in the first half and we will have to keep them quiet in the first half. I think we can have a better second half as Chelsea will start tiring.

  14. GoonerGaz says:

    An Arsenal win without an attack would be some performance.

  15. JohnW says:

    I say, should the Arsenal come out of the Liverpool game with only 6 points separating us and the table leader, then I will be optimistic. Any thing more than that and we will be out of it. I really wish we win to day, it would bring back our self-esteem, and also give us a margin of error on Wednesday. Lose today and we will most definitely lose the one on Wednesday.

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