Arsenal vs Chelsea Preview

Arsenal v Chelsea
Barclays Premier League, Emirates Stadium
Sunday, May 10, 2009, 16:00

Let’s concentrate on the Chelsea game. Of course, both teams will be smarting from the recent European exits. Personally, I was delighted that Barcelona made it through to the finals, if only so Henry can win the trophy he has coveted so much. It’s the only trophy the ex-Gunner has not won yet.

Arsene spoke on the midweek events:

“Chelsea [will be affected more] because they were qualified and we were never, over the 180 minutes, in a position where we were qualified – not for one second.  We were always out of the competition and Chelsea were qualified. You couldn’t see how Barcelona could come back, they had zero shots on target. They were never a real threat. So yes, we will try to capitalise on that. For me Sunday will be down to the team who deals best with the disappointment, who wants it more and who has more strength of character.”

So tomorrow, we’ll see a test of our character. As we battle for 3rd place, a win for us would see us 3 points behind our London rivals with 2 more games to go. A tall order, but worth trying. Worth beating Chelsea anyway! Looking at th team line up, we will be without Andrei Arshavin as he is out with the flu, so we may end up fielding a very similar team to the Carling Cup final.

Rumours are that we may play a full strength side, but start with Wilshere to help him fast track, but somehow I have a feeling that that’s just a rumour. Let’s take a look at team news:

Almunia

Sagna – Toure – Silvestre – Gibbs

Walcott – Denilson – Cesc – Nasri

Adebayor – Van Persie

With the season coming to a close, I’d like to see a few more changes – like Vela and Wilshere getting some more playing time – but only Arsene can make those decisions. The boss has been talking about the game and the motivation behind the team right now:

“We are angry as well don’t worry,” said Wenger. “But I believe that you must give your players some credit because when you get to the final four in the Champions League it is important to keep the self esteem high. They have shown many qualities to get there. 
“For me it’s not hard to try to re-motivate the players but what is hard is to get the belief, desire and a bit of joy back in the squad. It’s very hard but this team have no attitude problems – their attitude in training is spot on. They are hugely disappointed but they always practice focused and well.
“I know we live in a world where when you lose a game everybody gets hammered but to get where we were you need some quality.”
“I didn’t ask the fans to be patient,” said Wenger. “I do as well as I can with my resources. I can accept if people say it’s not good enough, I can understand that completely. 
“I just give my best to take the maximum out of the team and to do as well as I can for the Club. But you have to accept as well, what we have done. We were in the last four in Europe and have not lost a League game since November.
“We have lost against a team who’s better than us. Nothing to be ashamed of, they are the best team in the world at the moment. OK, if it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough, we can accept that.
“But I feel we can go further because we have a young team. This is not a team who is over the hill, it is a team who are at the start of the hill.”

“We are angry as well don’t worry. But I believe that you must give your players some credit because when you get to the final four in the Champions League it is important to keep the self esteem high. They have shown many qualities to get there.  For me it’s not hard to try to re-motivate the players but what is hard is to get the belief, desire and a bit of joy back in the squad. It’s very hard but this team have no attitude problems – their attitude in training is spot on. They are hugely disappointed but they always practice focused and well. I know we live in a world where when you lose a game everybody gets hammered but to get where we were you need some quality. I didn’t ask the fans to be patient. I do as well as I can with my resources. I can accept if people say it’s not good enough, I can understand that completely. 

“I just give my best to take the maximum out of the team and to do as well as I can for the Club. But you have to accept as well, what we have done. We were in the last four in Europe and have not lost a League game since November. We have lost against a team who’s better than us. Nothing to be ashamed of, they are the best team in the world at the moment. OK, if it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough, we can accept that.

“But I feel we can go further because we have a young team. This is not a team who is over the hill, it is a team who are at the start of the hill.”

You know – reading this – the boss has a point. Man United, at the moment, are on another level. The have a collection of 30 million pound players, two of which were on the bench against us in Tevez and Berbatov and, if you take them out of the equation, we’ve had a decent season. Our team is young – and of course – we will only get better. A few experienced heads (which is what Arsene has said he will look to buy) will compliment the team and push us forward.

Arsene said this on transfers:

“I’m not chasing any player at the moment,” he said. “I believe my priority is to stay with the squad we have. We will try of course to bring in one or two players to strengthen the squad but we have plenty of strikers. And if we buy, it certainly won’t be players who lack experience. We have enough of those.”

Come on you Gooners, show the world what you’re made of!]]>

  • Pissed off

    What Flu Dev with Arshavin?

  • Pissed off

    Where are my fellow gunners; where you all at?

  • RF

    < ![CDATA[Feeling dishearten & Hurt at the moment ,
    I think not too many are excited about today's match, May be because we have nothing to fight for this season. I hate to say this but Its all over for us. Its really a very hard time for our players, Hope they bounce back strong.

    Pissed off, I hear you mate . The only reason watching today's Match was Arshavin. Looks like the Arsenal Injury Curse has affected Our Russian Playmaker lately. I'm so disappointed. But I also feel that , this match will produce something very unusual. Hope in a good way for Arsenal FC.

    Come on you Gunners !!!]]>

  • Pissed off
  • Fabrez

    I was just thinking that today mite not b as dull as I think… I think we’re gonna win. My reason for saying that? Just a positive vibe really. I think we’ll beat Chelsea 3-1! We’ll see tho! I’m actually excited granted our season is more or less over…but hey…I love Arsenal so that’s enuff reason 2 b excited I guess! :D

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Interestingly, Tevez has issued a "come and get me" call. Looks as if he won't be at Utd next season... He said...

    "Any club I join, whether it be Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool or Everton, will be a rival of Manchester United.

    "I would like to thank the United fans for their support. They will always have a special place in my heart.

    "If I was a United fan I wouldn't want to see their player in any other shirt but I think they will accept I've done everything I can."

    We don't need another striker but trust me...I would have him over Adebayor anyday. He's so hard working and that's a player we need. He's out of Arsene's price range tho...and we have to pay attention to our defence and defensive midfield positions before thinking about strikers...but if only we could nick him if we sold Ade for £25m! Wishful thinking i suppose!]]>

  • Debs

    No Arshavin, and there’s Drogba. But Ade’s on the bench. But why are we playing 4-5-1 at home? Or is Wenger still trying to play Cesc as a support striker?

  • Debs

    I guess there’s no better time than now for Fabianski to get over his Chelsea blues at Wembley, and for Gibbs to get over Man U. I’m not 100% confident we can win this, but if we play as well as we can, we should do. come on you Gunners! And maybe Drogba will be a bit tempered, seeing as he’s sort of on egg-shells with everyone else in the world apart from Chelsea, and not score against us!

  • AJ

    Ive just come home and got the last minute of the second half, saw us 2 nil down and frankly I don’t know if I can be bothered to watch the second half, I’m not expecting a miracle as Arshavin isn’t on the pitch. Frankly I’m disgusted with the way our club is and might not bother watching the last couple of games this season, Wenger needs to buy and if he doesn’t then we won’t do any better than this year I think and we could do alot worse if other teams continue to strengthen their squads.

  • Debs

    To be honest AJ, despite what the scoreline says, we should be ahead, cos we played better, we just didn’t take our chances. Maybe you came home at the wrong time! You should watch the 2nd half in my opinion, we can turn this round, cos our play so far suggests so.

  • Debs

    This is the oddest match ever! It’s quite funny actually. Maybe not.

  • AJ

    3-0, any other day I would stay and watch even if we’re loosing, but not today, I’m not in the mood to watch us loose.

  • Debs

    Actually, it was a bad suggestionAJ! lol

  • famon

    the result says it all – bunch of losers

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[The only positive thing I can say is that at least we didn't score first! And what a way to end our unbeaten run.
    In all honesty, that was a hugely embarrassing scoreline and although it maybe put a gloss on Chelsea's performance, maybe it's the scoreline Arsene Wenger needs to make him 100% convinced that experience is definitely needed.We started absolutely brightly, but overall, we didn't do enough.
    And it so might end up that Man U might have the chance to win the title when next we meet and you can figure out who'd be more up for the game. It don't look like we'll end the season on a high, but well, what can we do but hope, eh?]]>

  • Pissed off

    Wenger and Tactic !!!! I doubt if we can win the league in a very long time because of Chelsea and also the fact that most of our key players will always leave; so sad but it will definitely happen. V.P, Fab and possibly Me (LOL)

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I never knew you played for Arsenal, pissed off. Are you Ade in disguise? lol
    Fabregas isn't going, VP, maybe, and I know you're not going too Pissed off!
    Our ability to win the league will depend on what Wenger does in the transfer window. I wish I could just close my eyes and wake up and find out were in August, the start of the new season. The next few weeks and months are going to be pure torture! If only I could switch off!]]>

  • Shawn

    We really showed wat we’re made of today didn’t we?

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[The problem looks very minute Deb, but in real sense we have so much grounds to cover. I will tell you in details.

    We have to face the fact that most players will definitely threaten to leave, V.P and Cesc; its important we hold on to them.

    Secondly we really need to buy three or more experienced players; not just buying, but making sure the players bought blend with the team and league,(very tough call)

    Before buying, players like Silvestre and Diaby should not be considered in the team if we really mean business; I mean they should be sold.

    Of cause again, to win a title you have to have the mentality, that's the most difficult part, there has to be a belief, I mean for us finding our identity is the word to use. Imagine Evra saying after their win that the Match was played between men and children; that Chelsea also proved today. So identity has to be found; its the most important; and am confident that players like Song, Diaby, Fabianski, Silvestre, Ade, and Den should be questioned about thier presence in the team.

    Finally, I know this hurts; Arsenal will always struggle with some awful decisions of Wenger ; from team selection, defending set pieces , zonal marking when defending and of cause overall tactics where Wenger is very very shot with the modern premiership game.]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[In fairness this season would have been a lot easier for us if Wenger had retained the squad and added just Nasiri, never mind Ramsey ( what has his contribution been with 5 million) . We have no money, remember except for babes.

    Wenger disrupted his policy by selling Flamini and Hleb that's my opinion and he may well regret it for a long long time.]]>

  • Fabrez

    So much for my positive vibe! our formation was our downfall…and the inability to convert chances…that’s wat u get! No arshavin no chance these days it seems! I’m embarassed I probably won’t bother to watch Man U v Arsenal with my Manc m8! That’s setting myself up 4 embarassment…again… *sigh* Why didn’t we play 2 strikers Arsene? Theo looked good in the 1st half but Chelsea did wat they had 2 do and now we’ve cemented forth position…can’t go down to 5th and def can’t make 3rd…. Like debs, if only i could switch off…

  • Berth

    If only indeed, Fabrez and Debs; like Zohaib and Kieran has already.

  • Berth

    * have already.

  • AJ

    I am so glad I didn’t waste my time watching the game today. Arsenal completely ruined my day today. Wenger had better invest in new EXPIERENCED players, thats all I can say. All that shit about “next season” and we’re in a period of transition can be shoved where the sun doesn’t shine, because no one really believes it anymore and if you do, you’re a sucker.

  • Pissed off

    Am I sensing a conflict between Wenger and Usmanov here? Sure if it comes to that one must leave for the other to exist. What I care as a fan is to get results, and I sense that’s what Usmanov wants too.

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[To make matters worse, I'm watching match of the day. Some people don't learn, do they?!
    And pissed off, I'm not a Usmanov fan- I think he's dodgy and I'd be really worried if he managed to get control of the club.]]>

  • Debs

    I hope and pray Arshavin’s fit for the Man U game (and Almunia also), cos at the moment, it doesn’t look like we’ve got a chance in hell of even getting close to a draw at Old Trafford. But like always in footy, you just never know and just hope. It just happens to be that it’s been heartbreak these last few weeks. Something we’ve just got to endure as fans until we turn the corner, I guess. It’s through thick and thin, isn’t it?

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Been away for the day and decided to give this game a miss, and boy am i glad I did. Haven't even watched Match of the Day 2. Gutted about the result. Hope this become a blessing in disguise and encourages Wenger to strengthen the squad a bit come summer!

    Win, loose or draw, Arsenal til I die! :D]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Fabrez, I like the idea of selling Adebayor and buying Tevez a lot !!!!!!!

    For one, Tevez, unlike Villa, Benzema etc etc has already adapted to the league so that won't be an issue.

    The only thing I wonder is how much we'll get for Adebore. We'll be lucky if we get more than 10 million quid. But we need him to get us around 25 million quid as you said. Maybe some ruthless business by Ivan Gazidis.

    But, as I've said before, even if we did sell Ade to generate money (for better experienced players for our defence and midfield), we wouldn't necessarily need to sign another striker. We have quite a few in Eduardo, VanPersie, Bendtner, Vela, Walcott and Simpson. Then we have AMs in Arshavin, Rosicky and Nasri. NOT Fabregas though - attention Mr. Clueless a.k.a. Wenger.]]>

  • Pissed off

    Selling Ade without replacement is not the best decision. And a bit harsh calling Wenger clueless.

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Last season was the time to sell Ade for a large sum if we really wanted sum1 else! But then again so many fans didn't want him to go end of last season (including myself admittedly)...and now he's not reproduced that 30 goal form...ah well! As u said zohaib, his value is not close to £25M atm...

    I'm actually a bit happy we lost today too Pete...it'll open Wenger's eyes a bit more and he'll also feel increased pressure to strengthen from incensed fans who deserve success!]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    < ![CDATA[Well, for a start the Chelsea fans will have to shut the fuck up about bad refereeing decisions. The free kick Drogba won for the first goal was about as likely a free kick as I am to sign for Man United next week. Fucking outrageous. Cesc then got booked for saying so.

    As for Adebayor, I'm pretty sure he made the most of it - but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as that West Ham players this weekend. Cech definately got Adebayor. Whether he lost his balance first or not I really couldn't say. Again though, it was a 50:50 shout and I've seen them given before. Chelsea got the rub of the green there as well.

    5 shots on target, 4 goals I think pretty much. Awful. And Diaby aside who had yet another dreaful game with a pass completion of 10% I didn't think any of the Arsenal players actually played that badly. Clichey Part 2 had another brilliant game and Theo left Cole on his arse a fair bit.

    Just sums up the season really - played well enough, defended poorly, finished like a third world hooker.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    < ![CDATA[Zohaib - you claim Wenger is clueless but are advocating the purchase of Tevez - who will cost in the region of £40m, a fee even Manchester United won't agree to.

    You want us to be the new Manchester City?]]>

  • Debs

    Yeah, Gibbs had a brilliant game. And apart from Theo’s finishing, he played really well too. Bendtner also did quite well when he came on, and it sort of brought back a little urgency into our game, but then Chelsea scored the fourth to undo that. So a few ppl did have good games, but with a scoreline like that, it’s hard to imagine that, and very easy to assume everyone was pretty woeful!

  • Pissed off

    Walcott reminded me how I played when I was in some college.

  • Debs

    Oh, and well done to the ladies, who won their Premier League yet again,and in addition to the FA cup!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[That was a typical Arsenal performance...all of possession but no goals to back it up.

    We really need to drum in to the players that the ball needs to go between the white posts.

    RVP and Walcott had chances which got me out of my seat with my arms half in the air ready to celebrate but chose the wrong option. RVP took it inside and tried to beat the same players again before he shot and Theo just tried to hit it first time when he could have taken a touch and slotted it home.

    It is a sorry state when our forwards cant reach 20 goals in a season....in all competitions!!!! Things need to change!!!

    Defensively we were poor yet again...set peices seem to have been our downfall a lot this season so we need to either buy in a tall, powerful CB or aquire a decent coach to teach the current batch. Overall THINGS NEED TO CHANGE!!!]]>

  • parsi

    < ![CDATA[Next season’s team will look remarkably different from the team that we have seen through this year.

    This year you’ll remember we

    * Finished 4th in the EPL contrary to all predictions which had us in free fall (remember the “should Wenger go if we don’t make the Europa League)
    * Got to the semi-final of the Euro Cup and the FA Cup
    * Went 21 games unbeaten
    * Beat the EPL record and our own club record for minutes at home without conceding a goal
    * Our ladies team won the treble including winning the league for the 6th successive year on the last day of the seas, and the FA Cup for the fourth successive year - a fair way to say goodbye to Vic - not least after several senior profile players abandoned ship and went to play pro football in America.
    * Our Academy team won the league by so many points it was embarrassing for everyone else. The kids are also in the Youth Cup Final, and look like they will win the north/south league play off.
    Next season the team will be quite different. It looks like we will have five players who are either new, or played very limited football this year for us… Eduardo, Rosicky, Arshavin will all appear more, while we will have two new players, a midfielder and a defender. Effectively almost half a new team.]]>

  • Berth

    Parsi I like your comments; its realy cheering but dont forget its been 4 years since the light shone for Arsenal, 3 years now in the grove; its really important to have it in mind. I hope Rosicky comes back as soon as possible; to me his injury last season and this, so much contributed to our fall, and Wenger seems not to take note or at least.

  • debs

    < ![CDATA[On an unrelated point, 'Silvestre slams Evra'. Hear hear Silvestre! lol. It's actually the first time I've heard Silvestre say anything about Arsenal. Evra might have an ever so slight point, but still, he should keep his mouth shut!

    skysports.com/story/0,19528,11095_5312960,00.html]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Kieran - try reading what I've written properly. You're taking my comments way out of context, as usual. I didn't say Wenger was clueless if he didn't buy Tevez, or clueless about everything. I said he was clueless because he was playing a CM (Fabregas) at AM, an AM at DM (Nasri) and so on.

    And I also said we should only think about getting Tevez if we manage to sell Adebayor for a good amount of money - around 25 million quid or something. And even then I also said, we don't really need another striker even if we managed to sell Adebayor.

    Don't you read man.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Pissed off - Calling Wenger clueless is about right I would think. So would an enormous amount of Arsenal fans and football fans. Just take the fact that he keeps playing players out of their positions, for one. He doesn't have the bravery to make an early substitution, when it's needed. If it was a Murinho, Ferguson, Hiddink, they'd make a substitution when it was needed. Not at fixed times (60, 75, etc). He's way too stubborn to even realize where he's making mistakes, or where he should try something different. Not fielding Arshavin against Chelsea in the semifinals of the FA Cup is another example. And that's not the only one.

    I'm surprised how some fans seem to forget everything that's wrong with us. You don't improve by talking big about what little you've done right. You improve by concentrating on where you're going wrong and trying to find a solution to it. In Wenger's case, he's gone on and on about how we hadn't lost a league game in 20 or so games and now it's come back to bite him in the arse. He had nothing else to say. He'd only start about how we're unbeaten for that long.

    He's lost a lot of fans already and if he doesn't lose his foolish siege mentality he'll only end up making matters worse for the club. I saw an interview after the Chelsea league game, and the interviewer asked him something about how the fans were upset and all, and he became firm/rigid/stubborn and almost annoyed and retorted almost angrily that getting to the semifinals of the FA Cup and the Champions League was a pretty good achievment and if the fans are still upset that he doesn't care and that it's good for the club.

    Pathetic choice of words but that shows how much he cares for the fans. He keeps going on about how it's better for the club in the long run but what good will it be when you've lost a huge chunk of your fans.

    In the game against ManUtd, we went 2 - 0 down very quickly and a large amount of supporters left the game early on. That must have sent a strong message to people with responsibilities at the club. If only they had the sense to understand what they needed to do.

    Now we've got Usmanov against Wenger too. He's recently stated how we need to spend. He must have made himself slightly popular with some fans, and personally I hope Usmanov doesn't get all control of the club, but the point is, that's another thing going against what Wenger and the club is trying to do.

    Then you have players who can't stop getting injured. I can't say if that's the reason why their form has been so poor of late but certainly players like Fabregas, VanPersie, Adebayor, Silvestre, and a few others have shown they don't deserve to be starting for a club like ours. Where's all their experience ?! It couldn't all be because Wenger's playing them out of position. Then again, who knows.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I am slightly relieved at the comments Wenger's been making about his transfer window plans because he's given a hint that A) we don't need another striker, and B) we don't need more young players ; we need some experienced players.

    That should mean that he's trying to reinforce the defence and the defensive-midfield positions. And that's a good sign. But it's too early to put all the faith in the spin-doctor, Wenger. Let's see what he does.

    I believe this summer will be the defining point of where the future lies for Arsenal FC. Wenger's got a couple of years left at the club, so does he get and sign a new contract ? And the other issue is about the control of the club. Does Usmanov or Kroenke buy it out or does it remain as it is ?

    Some defining issues that will shape our future.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[One other major thing that needs to change is the mentality. You had people like Gibbs, Walcott and Bendtner playing like the only professionals, trying to make something happen and they were the youngest players on the pitch. You had people like Fabregas, VanPersie, Diaby, etc who didn't look like they were tough enough to cope with the situation.
    The mentality really needs to change. We need our team to be tougher mentally and more ruthless. But you wonder, when the manager is such a chicken, where that ruthlessness will come from. Look at Ferguson. He says it like it is when they haven't played well. He speaks about where they should've done better. Yet our manager speaks about a meaningless 21 game unbeaten record. You hear Ferguson take his biggest players off the pitch to rest them or have a go at them when they've been poor, yet you have our manager who adopts a siege mentality and gives our players way too much credit, much more than they deserve, and they think they're bigger than the club. Giving Adebayor a pay rise was a big mistake, as we're now realizing. They should've waited till this season got over to see if he was a one-season wonder or whether he was actually a proper striker.
    But unfortunately we lack men of steel at our club.
    English players give you that. Maybe because they understand the fans the best. But this a huge down-side to our game. And it needs to change.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[

    but certainly players like Fabregas… have shown they don’t deserve to be starting for a club like ours.

    Really, Zohaib?!]]>

  • devday

    Wow, Zohaib, you’re really not happy at the moment – Cesc is in my top five… which leads me to think… maybe I’ll blog about my top five tomorrow (Tuesday)… hold the comments back until I’ve posted my blog though… now that the seed has been planted!

  • AJ

    I agree with Zohaib, alot of the players show they don’t really give a damn about the club, atleast their attitude on the pitch seems to say that and they never really seem to have any real passion or desire and they aren’t playing like they want or deserve to be in a Arsenal shirt, to be honest, I am just sick of the team and Wenger at the moment, the loss to Chelsea wasn’t the knife going in the back, it was the knife already in and being twisted, no trophy since 2005 is a joke, it’s no wonder people don’t think we’re that big a club anymore, jesus we lost to Hull and Stoke earlier.

  • zohaib

    On recent form, I meant. Add to that the way they lose concentration and determination when they go a goal behind. As I pointed out, Gibbs, Walcott and Bendtner were the only ones against Chelsea who looked like they cared and tried. Nobody else seemed to have that fight in them. I know it’s the end of the season and everything but still, very disappointing mentality.

  • zohaib

    Okay maybe including Fabregas was a bit harsh, in the company of Adebayor, Silvestre, Diaby. He’s come back from injury and he was involved in pretty much every goal for a while, getting assists etc. So exclude him from my earlier comment. And I suppose Wenger playing him out of position has confused him and put him out of his comfort zone as well. So, yeah, exclude Fabregas. Sorry, that was harsh.