Can we dominate and win at Stamford Bridge?

Written by Smith14

In recent years our encounters against Chelsea have tended to be harsh lessons. Aside from the RVP inspired 2-1 comeback against Scolari’s outfit, it’s fair to say we’ve struggled. The time of our yearly examination is nearly upon us. I pride myself on being one of Arsenal’s more optimistic supporters and sincerely believe that we have a visionary in charge of the club and that his plans, which have so tested our collective patience, will come good eventually. Despite all this, I’m still absolutely petrified of 4 o’clock on Sunday.

Arsenal fans, and those neutrals that don’t seem intent on upsetting us, are generally treated to the most attractive Football in the League. When everyone’s fit, which admittedly is as rare as a loose pass from Wilshere, we have a squad which compares pretty well to the elite of the division, the elite of Europe in fact. There is, in my mind, no question that the likes of Cesc, Wilshere, Arshavin, Nasri, RVP and Chamakh could orchestrate the downfall of any side, on their day. The question is why don’t we ever seem to have our day on the biggest occasions?

Our problem is not ability. All summer there were arguments among fans about who we needed to buy but, looking at the squad rationally, Goalkeeper aside, I don’t think there’s great room for improvement. The thing that we lack is not players, its mentality. In recent seasons we’ve taken the lead at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, The Millennium Stadium, Wembley and the Nou Camp and been beaten or drawn on every occasion.

We have had periods of great dominance against the likes of United and Chelsea but occasions on which we’ve turned that dominance into wins are few and far between. Apart from the colossal injury list, which isn’t an excuse but certainly an explanation for a lot of what’s gone wrong in the last few seasons, our poor return comes down to mental toughness. The ability to see a result out or dig in to drag yourself back from a mistake. Add to that games where we’ve squandered periods of superiority, games where we’ve given away the first goal and gone on to be embarrassed.

So, do we have the ability to get a result? We could argue that the age of the squad was to blame and it was a factor for a few years but, by now, they’ve all been together for long enough to have experienced success and failure as a unit. The likes of Clichy, Sagna, Fabregas, Nasri, Rosicky and Arshavin have all felt disappointment in an Arsenal shirt. Wenger was right this summer when he said that age was no longer an excuse. There can rarely have been a team with so much experience at such a young age. The last remaining hurdle for this team seems to be belief in themselves that matches Wengers. The idea that they can truly live up to the talent in the squad and get results we deserve. I’m fed up of arguing that we should have got better results, the time has come to start getting those results.

On Sunday we will be faced with Terry, Essien and Drogba. We will need determination, aggression, skill and concentration in abundance. I personally think we have the Footballing ability to play them off the pitch. We must now prove that we have the self belief to make this count. The fact that Koscielny, Squillaci and Chamakh – all likely starters on Sunday – have yet to face Chelsea in an Arsenal shirt may provide grounds for optimism. They will not so readily recall being put to the sword by Drogba and, if they approach the game with the appropriate professionalism, the centre backs in particular could give us a strong foundation from which to play.

The central defensive partnership must not allow themselves to be lulled into a false sense of security by Drogba. Consistently he will throw himself all over the pitch, whinge and moan and appear to have given up the ghost. All of a sudden, defence suitably relaxed, he surges back and simply blows teams away. If Koscielny and Squillaci needed an induction to the Premier League, this is it. Squillaci comes with the battled hardened features to match a long career. His experience could be vital in this duel. Firstly we must frustrate Drogba, then we must stamp on him whilst he’s down, figuratively speaking of course.

Ultimately the onus falls on Wenger and the players to toughen up and prove my bold claims to be correct. We as fans can do little but support the side. We may not think that each individual is good enough to achieve what we want them to but as long as they are in an Arsenal shirt they should be backed 100%. A team with whole hearted and unified support will perform better than one who transmits its anxieties onto the players.

Let’s hope that on Monday morning we are celebrating a side who are becoming men, rather than licking our wounds. Honestly, I don’t think Win, Lose or Draw, Sunday will be as decisive as Sky will portray it. At the very least though, it will confirm our worst fears or make a bold statement that we are at least up for the fight.

Keep The Faith.

You can read other articles by Smith14 at

41 Responses to Can we dominate and win at Stamford Bridge?

  1. Morning all

    Thankyou Ben for a great read, its so frustrating to know that our heads could drop after playing them off the park for long stretches and then let them in after a small error.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how The Squid and Kozzer deal with Drogba.

  2. Gooby says:

    nice read.

    i am expecting a 1 nil win, to the arsenal of course

  3. kelsey says:

    Morning peaches and welcome Ben.

    Being positive is great but being realistic is another.I honestly don’t think it would matter if all our players were fit or not, we have to at the least contain Chelsea for 90 minutes +.
    Our form is so topsy turvy at the moment that one never knows which Arsenal will turn up.
    No mention of Anelka,who I see as just a threat as Drogba(5 goals in 4 games against us ).
    I hope jack plays and now I am going to surprise you, this could just be the game for the enigma that he is,for Diaby, who returns to have a blinder.
    Defensively, I am concerned that Vermaelen who was to miss 2 games now has missed 6, and there is talk that he may need an operation on his achilles(see official website.)
    Koscielny is a big worry for me, he has cocked up in 3 of his 6 games so far, so I hope to be proved wrong.
    We may play well, have 70% percentage but it counts for nothing without a win.
    Chamakh is a player who brings a different dimension to the attack,and I am hopeful he will have a good game.
    Rosicky needs to improve his shooting, Arshavin to be more involved and Song needs to stay in defence,but the key man for me really is Nasri, he has to take over as the conductor for this game, and like many I feel that everything has to click and fall into place for us to get something out of the game.
    We won’t park the bus,because we haven’t got one, so here’s hoping.

  4. Rasp says:

    Great article Ben,

    I think you’ve said it all. We will be without our best defender, our best midfielder and our best striker (maybe even our best GK???), but we have to win matches like this one to lay to rest the ghost of recent seasons. I prefer us to be underdogs.

    I do not want to see Diaby, Denilson and Eboue all in the midfield again. I think it will be as much a test of Arsène’s courage as the player’s. Will he put out a team that plays to our strengths rather than attempts to negate theirs? Will he be strong and make early substitutions if players are not performing?

  5. Ibrahim says:

    Very very good post. You said it all. We have the ability. We only miss the mentality, may be no more. We need also a little bit luck. All big teams need that when face each others.

    Many fans do not agree with me. But i think Fabiansky is a great keeper. He only needs more confidence, and let us face it, with all the mistakes he makes, he still have the trust of Weneger, why? because Weneger do not listen to anybody? bullshit, Wenger want to win just like the fans. It is because he shows things during the training not everybody can. I hope this season to be his.

    I still think we will win, if fabrigas was fit I would not have any doubts. Chelsea is a little bit hyperinflated by the media.

  6. GunnerPete says:

    NOOOOOOOOO! How do you think Chelski,Manure, etc etc would do against us with half a team? Get real son the only chance we have of ever overtaking the above two is for us to have an injury free first 20 matches. This has never happened and will never happen until there is an investigation into our training methods etc. Most we can hope for is for Chelski to be over confident for 70 minutes.

  7. Morning kelsey

    If Diaby had been out for a few matches I’d agree with you that he could come back and have a blinder for us tomorrow but he was dismal only last Saturday!!!!! Thats not enough time for him to have been re-programmed 😉

  8. kelsey says:

    But that is the nature of the man,peaches.He can be absolutely brilliant yet awful at nearly the same time.We will see.

  9. We will see kelsey, we will see 😉

    I think what we’re missing is a player thats going to give a good r***ocking when someone messes up …… I love it that we’re the good guys but sometimes we need a bit of nasty in there.

  10. Red Arse says:


    I love it that you are so sensitive about bad language you have ** out some letters in rollocking! 🙂

    Rollocking usually means carefree and boisterous. A bit like Frothing Inarticulate Loon!

    Now b***ocking is a whole new ball(s) game. 🙂

  11. Morning Red Arse

    No suggestions for who’s should be our Mr Nasty then …..

  12. SharkeySure says:

    Great read that Ben….

    I can only ever be positive about our chances.

    Hat trick from Song tomorrow….all from 40yds or more cos he’ll be sitting a bit deeper.

    I really do think we’ll win tomorrow.

  13. Red Arse says:


    If I had my ruthers I would play Kosser and Squidgy as CH’s and TV in midfield.

    Subject to everyone being fit. 🙂

  14. Red Arse says:

    Sorry Ben, (Smith14) I should have complimented you on a very good article.

    Difficult to disagree with any of your comments. 🙂

  15. Wouldn’t that be a shock if either Clichy or Sagna sent a screamer into the back of the net – love to win a game that way, so unexpected 😀

  16. London says:

    Wow, the bar has been raised even higher. Excellent read Ben, hope we have the pleasure of more insightful comments in the future.

  17. Usman Zakari Barde says:

    arsenal will winner chelsea tomorrow in sha Allah from barde

  18. Neamman says:

    I dreamt last night we played well but lost 2-0!! Seriously!!
    Sadly I just cannot see us winning with 7 players out and we lack, even at full strength, a dominating physical midfielder. In short we havent repaced Vieira as an intimidator. Perhaps Diarra ws the one and I will never forive him for walking out on us. He cost us the league that year.

  19. Usman Zakari Barde says:

    in sha allahu arsenal will winner chelsea tomorow from barde gadaka

  20. Smith14 says:

    Firstly, thanks for the welcome to the site, it’s good to be here.

    I agree with a lot of the comments here, it’ll be a great achievments to get a result tomorrow as we have so many injuries. I remain optimistic though.

    I think we have to play to our strengths as we aren’t capable of shutting up shop; it’s just not our style. Wilshere must play with Song, after those 2 I’m torn between Denilson and Diaby. I think I’d give Denilson the nod as you just don’t know what you’ll get with Diaby, he could be great, could be a liability.

  21. London says:


    Yep, Wilshere, Song and Denilson over Diaby. My guess is that Wenger gave this a trial run in the week and should be fairly pleased by the results.

  22. rockylives says:

    Great preview Smith14. Even with players missing we can put out a team with the quality to beat the Chavs – but it’s all about the mentality as you say. I would definitely not risk Diaby – he’s just too flaky and inconsistent to play against the best teams. My team to start would be:
    Sagna Kozzer Squid Clichy
    Denilson Song Wilshire
    Nasri Chamakh Arshavin
    If we win tomorrow I fancy it will be down to some Arshavin magic.

  23. Hi rocky

    Denilson Song Wilshire definitely for me and I agree that this season Arshavin has to do something really magical against the chavs.

  24. London says:


    To the team Rocky

  25. rockylives says:

    The way JW and Arsh linked up for that goal against Partizan gives me hope. If they can keep that kind of understanding, and if Song curtails his forward wandering, we can hurt them. And let’s not forget what a good player Chamakh is turning out to be.

  26. Rohan says:

    Hello everyone! Been a long time,eh. Absolutely loved the post, great job. Me, I think we;ll do them. Squillaci will be the key man for me. His hardened experience and professionalism will help see us through. I’m tipping Nasri to be the main man for us in attack. This is the sort of game he needs to perform in if he wants to achieve his lofty potential and aims.

  27. SharkeySure says:

    Hey Rohan, pick a topic and write a post yerself, I’d look forward to that.

    Says me thats still not written one myself !!

  28. SharkeySure says:

    Top team that Rocky, even if part of me thinks that it almost picks itself.

    I’m not as comvinced as most about excluding Diaby. He can be completely unplayable, and his height and strength are always useful.

    If only we could sign him in for a partial frontal lobotomy, and remove the part of his brain that generates his ‘randomness’.

    That video of his performance for France vs Bosnia was pretty damn amazing, and we’ve also seen him do that in an Arsenal shirt, just not often enough.

    I do think Diaby relishes big games though !!

  29. SharkeySure says:

    Hey Smith14 (age or

    Diaby great or liability..?? Thats when Arsene has to sub him out instead of lettng him run out the 90mins.

    I’ve never liked the way Arsene has let some players have a real stinking 90mnis, when many managers would have cut their losses around the 55 min mark. AdeNuff’s CL semi final ‘performances’ will stick in my mind for many many years. Subbed on about 85 min in the first leg, then started the 2nd leg. Mon dieu??

  30. Mr SharkeySure are you sure you wouldn’t like to write a post for us?

    Did you get my email?

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we knew Diaby would do the business for us – he should be reliable by now 😦

  31. RockyLives says:

    The Mancs’ result at TSOL puts our performance up there into perspective.

  32. ….. and maybe the chavs will slip up there too …..

    Now if only we could keep Drogba and Malouda quiet tomorrow – Anelka doesn’t like working alone and Arshavin owes us a performance against a big team. I’ve been really impressed with Andrey’s work-rate so far.

    rocky – have you found a good spot to watch footie?

  33. RockyLives says:

    Yes thanks Peaches. Plenty of good pubs, plus most of the time our games are on various of the sports channels.
    Do you want me to defer whatever I would write for the Monday piece to Tuesday (as presumably Monday will be a match report)?

  34. Rohan says:

    That sounds fun, Sharkey..maybe a bit later though, my courseload at college is a bit overwhelming at the moment. Thanks anyway.
    Diaby on his day is absolutely unplayable. It’s just that sometimes complacency seems to creep into his game and he just leaves the dirty work to others or refuses to take the initiative. Nasri’s been doing that this season, he has grown as a player and as a leader, will Diaby? I’d cut my losses if I were Wenger and Ramsey comes back with no ill-effect. I’d start Song and give him stern instructions not to cross the 30 yard line, and play Wilshere in a slightly deeper role with Rosicky/Nasri as our main playmaker. That leaves Arshavin to run at defenders and Chamakh to run Terry ragged. That is a key part of our game tomorrow- If Chamakh can pull Terry out of position which he definitely can, that will leave space for Arshavin and co. to exploit. For me, that’s where we need to capitalize. Clichy also has to have a stormer because I doubt Arshavin is going to give him too much support.

  35. Rohan says:

    Maybe a few paragraphs there would be nice, but on that note I’m off. Ciao, and here’s to hoping I can find a stream.

  36. Rohan says:

    Oh, and we need to not concede an early goal. Keep it tight for the first 60 minutes and then go for the kill then.

  37. RockyLives says:

    Good analysis Rohan – particualarly about the role Chamakh-attack has to play in pulling Terry out of position.

  38. Rasp says:

    New post……

  39. […] Can We Dominate and Win at Stamford Bridge? […]

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