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:
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. 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!]]>