Written by Big Raddy
At last a game and what a game – the chance to get a monkey off our backs and put some distance between us and Chelsea.
I trust that you all had a fine Xmas and are recovering from the effects of over-eating and that last pre-bed Brandy. What better than a dose of fresh air and a home match against the pretenders to our crown as Kings of London?
In very recent years Chelsea have bought their way to become a major force in European football, no-one could deny the quality of their Double win last season which was achieved with a rash of goals and some superb entertaining football. With Malouda in form they became as artistic as they were effective, but he has suffered from post-WC withdrawal and following the injuries to Fat Frank, Drogba, and JT, Chelsea have struggled for points. Ancelloti will be delighted to have his full team back on the pitch and expect a return to winning ways.
This is not the place to discuss the total lack of class exhibited off-pitch by Chelsea and their players, but from the top down they are as dodgy as 3 week old Turkey sandwiches and it is for this reason that whatever the result of today’s match Arsenal will remain London’s top team. Yes, it is true that we have a dreadful recent record against them, yes it is true they have amassed a pile of Silverware in recent times but I would suggest one checks out the Trophy rooms and see whose is stacked with treasures representing a long, proud history, and whose has just a few pots gathered in the last few years. Our fans have been complaining about lack of silverware - well, I suggest you look at the decades between Chelsea’s first Championship and their second (5 was it?).
Today’s match is interesting because neither team is firing on all cylinders, both losing points to teams well beneath them in quality and PL position. To our Newcastle, Spurs and WBA one can compare Chelsea’s losses to Sunderland and Birmingham. Had they lost last week’s postponed game against Man Utd, Chelsea’s season could have been over by the end of today’s match!
Onto the “hoodoo”. Can we beat one of our rivals for the title? The loss to MU pointed to an improved attitude – I never felt we were outfought or that our players didn’t believe they could win, they just were found out by a lucky, well drilled team. I look forward to the Mancs return to the Emirates. It was a similar story at Stamford Bridge, we weren’t outplayed but were beaten by a superb Drogba goal and an unstoppable shot from Alex. In between we were well on top and had Koscielny scored an early header from 2 yards out, we would have gone on to win the game.
We all know the Chelsea team, full of great players from Ashley through JT, Essien, Fat Frank, Anelka and Drogba (can we stop his outrageous run of goals against us , 13 in 11 games?). A truly formidable side who on their day can seriously be considered to be challengers to Barca as the best side in Europe. But they are struggling and we can take advantage.
If Cesc is firing and Nasri shows the form he has everywhere except OT we can and will win. I am happy that Fabianski is fit despite Chesney looking very good last time out.
Bench: Chesney, Gibbs, Kos, Chamakh, Diaby, AA, Eboue
I would love to see us attack them at pace. Chelsea are not going to worry about Chamakh’s aerial ability – they are fantastic in the centre of defence, so we need to test them with guile and speed.
I firmly believe we can win this game ( I always do!), we are rested , have our Captain and best player back and have excellent players on the bench. Mr. Wenger will have been stung by the criticism of his tactics at OT and will be eager to pit his wits against one of the World’s top managers in Ancelloti. In a topsy turvy season a good run will win the title and we can start today.