Chelsea vs Arsenal – The Preview

This season has been a mixed bag of goodies – well, goodies, baddies and randomness. But throughout the season, our two Achilles heels have been our away form and playing any decent team. 3 of our 4 losses have been top six teams – United, Liverpool and Sp*rs.

Away at Chelsea, it sounds like a tough one for us, but considering our recent improvements, we should go into the game with a bit more confidence than previous games. It’s Chelsea first and then Marseille at home on Tuesday. The boss spoke about the two games earlier today:

“That’s why it is such an important game for us at Chelsea. We play two cup games in the next two games – one at Chelsea and one on Tuesday night that can qualify us as well [for the Champions League knockout stage]. So let’s go step by step. Chelsea is a very important game for us but still I believe the only way to succeed is to focus on the quality of our performance, play our game well and the consequence is that you have a chance to win the game.”

Chelsea will be favourites for sure, they are at home, and have just come off the back off a league defeat to QPR, and an unconvincing win against Everton in the Carling Cup. They are a team full of quality players, but due to their recent bout of sending offs, they will be without Drogba and Bosingwa – although having the likes of Fernando Torres as backup shows the strength of their team.

Team news for us sees the surprise return of Thomas Vermaelen, who is available for the game, despite coming off with a calf strain against Bolton midweek – there has been a lot of debate whether to break up the Koscielny-Mertersacker partnership but after listening to Arsene, I don’t think the vice captain will start.

We had good news about Vermaelen in the game against Bolton the other night. It was just cramp [that forced him to come off] so that’s good news. He will certainly be in the squad at Chelsea. I don’t know yet whether he will start, I have to think about that. I feel physically he is not completely ready because he had problems to finish the game against Bolton, but he is close. We play two games in three days and I will have to evaluate the whole situation. But Thomas always wants to play.

I think Arsene is more likely not to gamble on TV5, but looking at the opposition, he and Koscielny would probably be a better combination. Torres, Anelka and Sturridge all have pace and are tricky which may cause Mertersacker a few problems. In other positive injury news, reports from the manager confirmed that Carl Jenkinson is back training – weeks ahead of schedule – but perhaps not quite ready for this game…

I will know more [about Jenkinson's fitness] after training on Friday. Jenkinson was alright yesterday, but I don’t know if I will take him or not. It depends how well he does in training today.

Digesting the current injuries and injury returnees, my guestimated line up is:

Szcznesy

Djourou – Mertersacker – Koscielny – Santos

Arteta – Song

Walcott – Ramsey – Gervinho

Van Persie

With a strong bench of Fabianski,  Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Frimpong, Arshavin, Park, Chamakh

Arshavin was very impressive behind the striker in the Carling Cup, but we probably won’t see a repeat of that against Chelsea. We may need him deployed in that role against Marseille at home instead. Arshavin seems to be better at home than away at the moment.

It will be a very hard game tomorrow, and with the performances against bigger teams this season not being very good, we are underdogs. But that’s the way we like it – and let’s hope we spring a surprise…

Til tomorrow… Come on you Gooners!!

 

  • Shazam

    Very excited about the game!
    It will be tough, but we are on a good run of form now and I think we can do it. I wouldn’t start Walcott though, he has been rubbish, I think Arshavin deserves the nod…

    But there is no Rosicky in your line up or your bench…. but he played so well the other day!?!

  • devday

    Very true re Rosicky. He should be on the bench at least! But who would you take out of the bench – probably one of Chamakh or Park – as you need the other players as options….

  • ZimGooner

    This should mark a test of the season and it seems the odds are for us. I’ve got a good feeling and I will wear my away jersey with pride. So if you see a 6′ 5″ Gooner with the name Biggie 69 written on it, run for your life. Funny I dreamt RVP hit hit a hat trick, Theo 1, Gervihno 1 (5-0 was the final score). Lol but once again Chelsea’s back 4 is quite menacing so Gervhino (arguably our best buy of the season) has to pull one out of the hat if he’s to trick Andy Cole. RVP stand a chance to score with the shaky Louis Wild Boy being suspect in the CD role. Theo’s pace may pay off but his opposite Ramirez will be stubborn as usual with his robust tackles. Chelsea’s hopes lie with Juan Mata (I wonder why Wenger didn’t get him earlier. Thank God Drogba aint playing but in comes Torres who now seems to be picking up his form. Our back line will be beefed up with Vermaelen’s return but I gather Jenkinson may be playing and if he does that will be our Achilles’ heel. Realistically speaking, I would expect 2-1 as our best score and the worst 1-1. It’s gonna be a hell’uva battle. Come on ye Gooners!!!

  • ZimGooner

    Sorry Andy Cole should read Ashley Cole. ;)

  • ZimGooner

    Say Dev – Please update the top scorers as you still have last season’s totals with RVP @ 21.

  • Shazam

    @ZimGooner

    Jenkinson was our best player against Marseille away before he got injured – I have been very surprised and very happy about his form since he started playing for the first team. I really think he is a brilliant buy – I didn’t realise how much pace he had – if it’s a choice between a fit Djourou and a fit Jenkinson – Jenkinson will win hands down every time!

  • Berth

    Van the man

  • edison

    what a result.

    we will score one more than you Chelsea !

    If I heard right thats the first time Chelsea have conceded FIVE goals at home in the Premier League

    ANDRE SANTOS MAN OF THE MATCH without a doubt

  • AmriGooner

    @ ZimGooner:
    Oh man, most of your dream was right.
    RVP hat traick and walcott one.
    Really,really….
    I wish you sweet dreams all the season.

  • robin

    So proud of the boys. Showed a spirit we haven’t seen for a long time. Yes there are issues that Wenger needs to address but what the hell, we won 5-3 at the Bridge and that was flattering to Chelsea!

  • michael

    MY FUCKING WORD as Butch Wilkins would say…. Cool

    Absolutely hungover watching that but cannot wait to get on the beer after that performance.

    Fuck me, even the second half alone was epic stuff. Santos was terrible in the first half and world class in the second! This current side are the most unpredictable Ive ever seen!

    Days like today are what makes this game so special. Would have loved to have been there today fuck me, fair play to our fans I suppose even at near 60 quid it was worth it for that!

    Echo what others have said, after the day and seeing how much that meant to the lads, led by the legend Van Persie and I’m starting to love this team again.

    We wont win the league and we probably wont even get 4th but fuck it lets give it a good rattle and we can at least be proud instead of always depressed!

    I LOVE YOU VAN PERSIE!

  • andrew

    That was absolutely fantastic!!!!

    I was cursing Santos and Mertesacker early as they both look extremely slow and take unnecessary chances. Both improved as the match went on.

    BUT what an AWESOME display in the second half. Chelsea defense really looked quite poor for most if not all the game. Not to take anything away from our boys, but Chelsea do not look like they’ll challenge for the title this season.

    Up the Gooners! Robin was fantastic and both Walcott and Gervinho looked very good. It has been quite a while since the entire front line had a good looking game. For me Ramsey was quite good and seems to be regaining the form he had before he broke his leg.

    Great confidence builder for the lads. Hopefully this will go even further to settling us down and making us steady. The return of Vermelean should start to shore up our defensive woes. Maybe by the time January rolls around we might see Wilshere and Sagna returning!!