Arsenal v Chelsea pre-match

Match day 20 and into the second half of the season. Today we welcome Chelsea to The Home of Football. We sit 12th in the table and they are 4th with eight points between us. Doesn’t seem real does it? Oh well, we are where we are and the only way is up (hopefully).

There were signs of improvement against Bournemouth in our last game (only three days ago) so I’m hopeful that the players are buying into Arteta’s vision and happy to follow his plans. I hope it doesn’t all go a bit silly today because it’s a London Derby.

There has been great rivalry between us and Chelsea over the years with them calling the shots recently although 2017 was a high point for us …….. beating them 3-0 at the Emirates in the league and then beating them in the FA Cup final 🙂 Their mean, tough strikers had been the undoing of us for quite some time, they were underhand and ruthless and punished us for being a bit soft. But in the 3-0 win we beat them with our most fabulous football which I’m hoping is what will happen today.

Against Bournemouth Mikel had plumped for experience with the addition of Nelson on the wing. I know he had Saka on the pitch at left-back but that was out of necessity and Saka is going to have to get used to playing there for a few weeks I think.

We should see Chambers back today which will be good as he’ll have played against Abrahams many times. No one else is banned for today and it would be good to have Martinelli back in the squad, he’s going to have a late fitness test.

We need to be ruthless in front of goal, we created chances in the last game but didn’t put them away. I think Martinelli could help there because he gets into great positions and loves to throw himself at an opportunity to score.

We have another big home game coming up on Wednesday so will Arteta rotate or stick with his starting line up from the other day plus a couple of forced changes.

Here’s my predicted line up.


AMN   Chambers  Luiz   Saka

Torreira   Xhaka


Pepe  Lacazette  Aubameyang

I hope we can steal three points …………….



85 Responses to Arsenal v Chelsea pre-match

  1. Forgot to say that I expect a great crowd at The Emirates today …………. the game had largely been sold out all week.


  2. Sue says:

    Nice one, Peaches.
    Looking forward to this one! There’s a lot of unrest amongst the Chelsea faithful.. they want fat Frankie out already!! Didn’t take long 😆 How I hope we add to that unrest!!
    A blogger I know, said last night that Xhaka didn’t train yesterday and isn’t in the squad today – how true that is, i don’t know, but hmm very interesting!
    As Sok is out, I really hope Luiz puts in a shift.. or even a motm performance, how sweet that’d be against them!!
    The Emirates will be rocking!! I hope all who venture there have a great time (Yes, you, JML!!) COYG 👊

  3. LB says:

    Looking forward to this one, thanks for the read Peaches.

  4. Sue says:

    A great day of sport ahead….Adama Traore, please play as well today as you did on Friday.. although Liverpool have had an extra day to recover, surprise surprise, anything to help the scousers 🙄
    Gezzy Price in the qf at the Ally Pally!! Come on!! 💪

  5. RockyLives says:

    Good stuff Peaches

    I hadn’t heard Sue’s rumour about Xhaka, but it could be true if we’ve managed to agree a satisfactory price with Hertha. In which case Xhaka could be on his way in 48 hours.

    I’m going to guess there’s something to it and predict this line up:

    AMN Chambers Luiz Saka
    Willock Ozil
    Pepe Lacazette Aubameyang

    (In other words Peaches, your line-up with Willock in for Chaka).

    Let’s hope our New Manager Glide continues its upward trajectory.

  6. RockyLives says:

    Hmmm…. I’ve just read Arteta’s comments suggesting that Pepe needs to show a bit more in training before he can be trusted in the first team.

    So I’m revising my line up to swap Nelson in for Pepe:

    AMN Chambers Luiz Saka
    Willock Ozil
    Nelson Lacazette Aubameyang

  7. John Matthew's Legend says:

    Cheers Sue!
    Pre-match drinks soon in the Owl and Hitchiker, Holloway rd.

  8. Sue says:

    Have a pint for me!! 😁

  9. LB says:

    I don’t have the faintest idea what the line up might be but Torreira and Willock from the outset worries me.

  10. Maybe Guendouzi and Torreira?

  11. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Peaches

    Really dont know what the line up will be in midfield and up front. I think the back 4 picks itself due to injuries, and is what you and everyone else have suggested. This also precludes any use of Luiz or Chambers in the holding midfield role, but I am not sure this will ever happen regardless.

    I think I could accurately predict Torreira and that is it, although I would go 90% plus on Ozil playing, and rightly so if Arteta can get him playing consistently as he did the other day. So I am uncertain on 4 spots between Willock, Douzi, ESR, Auba, Pepe, Laca, Martinelli and Nelson. Not included Xhaka as that looks finished but you never know

    Anyway I would love the 3 points but more important at this stage is how we play, and the signs of progression in performance style and performance level. We must commit to the Arteta style even if it exposes us slightly at this stage.

    Getting the playing style right has more longevity and will reap benefits in a few weeks and see us finish the season stronger. Playing a nullifying game and scraping a win doesnt progress us overall.

    Realistically top 4 is not our target, although not impossible. Getting stronger for the last 12-14 games and pushing into top 6 is a better target, but more importantly playing that superior football at the business end of the EL. That is our back door into the ECL and far more realistic for us. Everything should be thrown into that.

    Anyway, COYRRG’s. Let’s see a good performance and hopefully the 3 points may follow with it

  12. Sue says:

    Xhaka’s off then…..

  13. RA says:

    Excellent pre-match, Peaches.

    The team/subs:

    Leno; Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Luiz, Saka; Torreira, Guendouzi; Nelson, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette

    Subs: Martinez, Mavropanos, Mustafi, Willock, Smith Row, Pepe, John-Jules

  14. RA says:

    In his pre-match interview, Arteteta said the club would make some decisions when asked about Xhaka, but did not mention Xhaka directly, and he is in any event said to be ill.

    And backing that up, there has been a lot of rumours re: Jerome Boateng of Bayern possibly coming to Arsenal, or ……. Rugani

  15. Sue says:

    He’s been struck down with Hertha Berlin 😂

  16. GoonerB says:

    As I say I think the style of play is more important than the actual line-up at the moment, which hasn’t always been the case. I am more relaxed about our line ups than I have been in ages and very happy to bow to the manager, basically because I believe he is a good tactician and will not often get his line-ups wrong.

  17. Rasp says:

    We’re keeping our shape well and working really hard on and off the ball so far

  18. RockyLives says:

    Get in! Come on Arsenal!

  19. Sue says:


  20. RockyLives says:

    Chambers has no luck whatsoever.

  21. RockyLives says:

    Remember that long unbeaten run we had whenever Mustafi was in the line-up?

    Time to start another one…

  22. RA says:

    It’s really odd seeing Mikel’s coaching staff – don’t recognise any of them.

    Fantastic start — don’t care about the ‘Don’t say that” – it is hopefully a big, damned green shoot – and a promise for the future!!!!! 😁

  23. RA says:

    To many crap tackles by Chelsea, and the ref is not keeping discipline — then two yellows in a minute – the damned cheats!

    “Xhaka has gone down with a severe case of Hertha Berlin? ” you are a naughty woman, Sue!! 😛

  24. RockyLives says:

    Good to see the ref get his card out at last. Chavs have been attempting to kick us off the pitch.

  25. RockyLives says:

    Wow – we dodged a bullet there.

    What was Guendouzi thinking of pulling back Abraham by the arm in the penalty box?

    When I saw the replay I was convinced VAR was going to give the penalty.

    Someone needs to have a word with him after this game.

  26. Sue says:

    What a half!!! Bloody brilliant!! Torreira is such a beast 💪
    More of the same in the 2nd half please!

  27. RockyLives says:

    Well that was an encouraging half.

    Well done to Miki and to all the players.

    Now let’s keep it going in the next 45.

  28. RockyLives says:

    And Ozil unleashed… wonderful.

    Also I am delighted to see Leno deciding to kick long whenever the conditions are not conducive to playing out from the back.

  29. Sue says:

    At least you knew what I meant, RA. I meant to say ‘gone’… where did I get ‘struck’ from?! 😆
    Maybe I was hoping your Bertha had clobbered him 😜

  30. fatgingergooner says:

    If Arteta can get this out of Özil and Torreira every week then we have a chance. They’ve both been excellent in this game and the last. Best half of football in a long time in terms of all-round play. In defence, shape and passing, we’ve been fantastic. Let’s hope we can grab the next goal.

  31. RA says:

    That is only 45 mins — but it is the highlight of the season for me – so far.

  32. Brilliant first half …… singing loud and proud

  33. fred1266 says:

    Nelson looking good LBG

  34. RA says:

    I suppose it was inevitable – but the Chavs have improved in this half – bit worried about Douzi reverting to the headless chicken and joining Luiz in the coop.

  35. Sue says:

    Bloody hell

  36. fred1266 says:

    I love lacazette but he really cost us how the hell he let jorginho get that ball from him

  37. Sue says:

    Arghhhhhhh I don’t believe it

  38. fatgingergooner says:

    Oh dear. The lack of discipline and composure costs us in the end. I’m not sure you can manage that into players. Everything else has been excellent but sometimes you have a group that is just mentally inept.

  39. GoonerB says:

    Of all the times we have complained about referees this is the worst one of the lot. Referees that try and not be too card happy are to be applauded but when a team has been keeping itself in a game by persistent fouling the referee has a duty to stop that team benefitting. He has absolutely bottled the 2nd yellow to them on a couple of occasions. The most obvious is Jorghino who scored the goal and shouldn’t be on the pitch. We can analyse mistakes but the ref has decided the game in that moment but in his whole handling of it.

  40. RockyLives says:

    Appalling display by the ref, to be honest. How we’ve ended up with more yellow cards than the Chavs…

  41. fatgingergooner says:


    I think that yellow changes the result, but it doesn’t excuse what came after it in terms of our implosion.

  42. Sue says:

    That was so cruel… gutted. What a way to lose it. It really was a game of 2 halves 🙄

  43. RockyLives says:

    Terribly disappointing result…

    BUT – I am massively encouraged by that performance.

    If Leno – probably our most consistent player this season – had not had a moment of madness we would have won.

    Perhaps there’s an argument that we didn’t need to go hell for leather for a winner when it was 1-1, but there were huge signs of improvement today.

    Mikel’s impact seems to be working already.

  44. fatgingergooner says:

    The effort and performance didn’t deserve that result. Leno has been solid all season, and then the one time we need authority and have the opportunity to get a huge win, he fucks up. Someone has a very large voodoo doll of Arsenal and are sticking needles in it. It’s just one thing after another with this team.

  45. fatgingergooner says:

    Definitely an improvement but if the results aren’t there then the confidence will soon disappear. That’s the worry. We need that big win that gives the fans and players trust in the manager. That should’ve been it.

  46. RockyLives says:


    We’ll just have to get it against ManU.

    Hopefully our defender injury curse will stop soon.

  47. fatgingergooner says:

    I think Arteta could’ve done more second half to change the flow of that game. We were getting deeper and deeper and totally stopped playing football and just started playing long balls. It’s difficult when you are low on confidence and holding a lead, but I think more could’ve been done to alter it.

    Great signs of improvement, but ultimately another defeat and another disappointment.

  48. fatgingergooner says:


    I’d love to have confidence that we can beat United, but we just seem incapable of getting over the line right now. We need a 2 goal lead just to have a chance. Frustrating.

  49. Game of two halves really ☹️ magnificent first half, really deserved the lead. Chelsea much better 2nd half and we lost our way a little.

    Ref was dreadful so that didn’t help but we rarely were able to play 2nd half.

    I’m sure the players will be very disappointed with that result.

  50. Rasp says:

    I think the decline in our confidence started when Chambers went off … before that we were really good.

  51. RockyLives says:

    Interesting Rasp. Mustafi did pretty well defensively but he’s not as comfortable on the ball as Chambo so maybe that made a difference.

  52. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky … it just seemed like a reminder to the players that luck has not been on our side for a long while. I also think that our fitness still needs to improve so we can maintain the energy for 90 minutes.

  53. LB says:

    I thought Torreira and Guendouzi ran that midfield for three quarters of the game — and then they tired and Chelsea were able to take advantage.

    Just for a moment I foolishly allowed myself to dream……

  54. Sue says:

    Will Guendouzi be suspended on Wednesday?

  55. Rasp says:

    We saw the best 35 minutes of football since Arsene Wenger today. Mikel has showed he knows how to get the best out of our players, all it needs now is for the players to believe in themselves and to be resilient if we have a setback.

  56. RA says:

    It was 5 minutes of loopy droopy where we reverted to tired or clumsy play — I will take that.

    The team were magnificent in the 1st half – all of them – they looked like a ‘proper’ team playing to a tactical pattern, and I loved it.

    The second half Chelsea pressed more, but we handled them well. It took an out of character mistake by Leno, normally the steadiest player in the team, to give Chelsea a gift.

    The second goal was a bit unnecessary, we should have bitten the bullet and taken the draw, instead of going all out for the win and leaving us open for the inevitable breakaway goal.

    The other side of the coin is that if we had won, many fans would have been bragging about an unrealistic top four finish, whereas, now those fans are talking as if that game was a disaster — it was not!

    It was a great and entertaining football game we should have won – but football is cruel as well as kind, and 3 minutes wrecked the best Arsenal game I have seen in a long while.

    Keep it up, Mikel, I am with you, a really good effort!!

  57. Pat7 says:

    Agree re. fitness as we seem to struggle last 10’ of the half. I saw plenty today to indicate progress so not too dismayed. Ref missed second yellow on Guen, maybe saw it during half time and equalled it with Jorginho. We’d have lost with 10 men so…..
    Callum loss certainly made a big difference – can’t wait for new signing but Luiz, Ozil and esp Our captain had a great match.

  58. Rasp says:

    BTW peaches …. you got a ‘Steeden’ 👍

  59. fatgingergooner says:

    Agree about fitness. We tired at the end of both halves, but that will come with time. All teams tire though, but it’s the ability to keep the ball and keep shape that allows the breather. First half we were never in trouble towards the end, but second half we never gave ourselves the chance to keep the ball and often booted it up field instead of passing. Fair play to Chelsea who pinned us in, but once again it’s a lack of smarts and game management from our team. Something that has been a problem for years.

    We can play football, we can score goals, and today we’ve shown we can keep shape and defend, but it’s those 1% decisions that just let us down time and time again.

  60. fred1266 says:

    We are at the Middle of the season and we are tired

  61. GoonerB says:

    I also agree about the fitness issue for the faster more aggressive game that Arteta wants. That will come however, and parallels can be drawn with both Guardiolas and Klopps initial periods in the EPL.

    It seems it takes a little while before that type of game can be implemented effectively across the 90. We kind of needed to be more in the ascendancy earlier in the game when we had the energy and were dominating, but I am still furious with the ref as Chelsea essentially kept themselves in the game with fouling and the ref let that happen without the most serious od consequences.

    Torreira was awesome today, but all players were really good. Ozil and Nelson rose to the occasion but both ran out of steam eventually. I actually thought Douzi was still a little suspect at times. He was good for huge amounts of the game but still has some issues with positioning, needless fouls in danger areas, and a casual dwelling on the ball in dangerous areas at times. Nothing that can’t be coached out of home though, so still a great prospect.

  62. Sue says:

    Big shout out to Luiz… was impressed with him today. You could see he was up for it from the word go! Disappointed for him, we didn’t bag all 3 points!
    Also thought Ozil, Torreira and Auba were brilliant!
    Despite the loss, lots to be positive about… United up next.. then Leeds – they won a cracker today (5-4) Just bought tickets for that game, sitting by the tunnel… can’t wait!!! 👍

  63. John Matthew's Legend says:

    Match report from the Ems:
    1st half: Great.
    2nd half: Sh*te
    3rd half: Round of beers for 10….30 quid in the Coronet….. Result!
    4th half: Should be a F-off curry in the Indian Ocean, Holloway rd.
    5th half: my guts tomorrow… No report planned.
    Ps:Sue, I had one for you….. Had and am having a few more for me!

  64. Sue says:

    😆😆 Great report, JML!! Ooh I wonder what state you’ll be in tomorrow 😜

  65. John Matthew's Legend says:

    Correction: nobody goes to the Indian Ocean anymore.
    Curry at Men Saabs in Westbourne rd (where I went to infant/primary school) (the road, not the curry house!)

  66. Me? A Steeden? I’m honoured 😁

  67. fred1266 says:

    Did Eddie score

  68. fred1266 says:

    Why would he be suspended ?

  69. Sue says:

    No, Eddie didn’t score, Fred.
    That was.his 5th yellow.

    I said a great day of sport ahead – we lost, jammy LiVARpool won. Please Price, don’t crash out of the darts!!! Stop today from going completely down the khazi!! 🎯

  70. So ……. I sat watching the first half wondering ( as I do whenever we play brilliantly ) if LB was choosing the adjectives he was going to use when he wrote a report later that evening. As the second half drew to a close I knew that maybe it was too soon for such wonderings …….. maybe next time eh LB?

    Failing LB wanting to grab it does anyone else fancy writing something for tomorrow?

  71. RockyLives says:

    Good comments all.

    Enjoy your curry Legend. Vindaloo?

    Congrats on your Steeden Peaches.

    I agree with most assessments above:

    Auba, Ozil, Terrier, Nelson, Saka and Luiz were the stand-outs for me.

    AMN, Chambo, Mustafi, Laca, Willock all pretty good.

    Gwen, plenty of effort but a bit suspect at times and might have given up a penalty.

    Pepe – not long enough to have an impact.

    Leno… oh dear.

  72. fred1266 says:

    The commentatot say it was lacazette fault jorginho didn’t get a yellow

  73. RockyLives says:

    I’m not buying that Fred.

    The ref could easily have booked Jorginho for the foul and also booked Laca for yapping.

  74. fred1266 says:

    Yea me either he was never going to to book jorginho

  75. fred1266 says:

    Yea felt sorry for chambers today, is it something with us cause he never get injured when he goes out on loan

  76. RockyLives says:

    Agreed Fred.

    Crocked defenders: Sokratis, Chambers, Holding, Bellerin, Tierney, Kolasinac… am I missing anyone?

  77. fred1266 says:

    Saliba, isn’t even with use but he injured

    Sokratis ok just precautions for is concussion

  78. Sue says:

    Price into the semi-finals! Hallelujah!! 🎯

    Hi VP.. Just watched Star Wars… wasn’t very impressed. As you said, it really is a visual treat… but it’s very repetitive, just with different characters! The last half hour was really good though – pity it took so long to reach it 😄

  79. VP says:

    Hi Sue
    yes it is a visual treat but at times I felt that quiet a lot was being vomited up all at once on the big screen
    However that said, I liked how each of the story lines closed out and its the first star wars movie that I will have to rewatch to determine if it was bad or really really good.

    43 degrees today so I’m just lounging about the house watching rubbish on Netflix, Stan, Amazon, Apple+, Disney+ etc.
    Which is annoying my wife to no end

    Such a shame this morning (1am game). We gifted 1 goal and the ref practically gifted the 2nd by not sending of Jorginho

    However I was impressed with how we played and I am now very confident of beating Manure
    onwards and upwards

  80. fred1266 says:

  81. LBG says:

    Having left the Emirates last night suffering from the symptoms of an unbelieving, all consuming 2019 Arsenal panic attack, I resume life this early, foggy day in London Town morning with a little more control.
    THE GOOD :- Shape, discipline, creativity, TORREIRA, a man mountain of a player, Mesut generally until he got tired, Luiz (the best defensive performance from the worst buy of 2019. You have got to be motivated by something other than playing your old mates, Daviiiiid!!), Nelson, Saka (worried he was tucking in too much in first half, leaving Azpit too much space. Thankfully Chelsea centre backs couldnt hit a barn door with long passing!), you is learning the job young man – speak to Lauren, probably the best non- full back I’ve ever seen play for The Arsenal. Aubang defending,
    THE NOT SO GOOD:- Guendouzi, you must stop losing your head (Xhaka style) and giving away stupid, dangerous free kicks and getting booked again, Chambers injury, Mustafi – since you know you are not quick in a straight line or on the turn, go to the man and closely ” jockey “. Dont let him run into the box and shoot from six yards out, ? the fitness levels.
    THE UGLY :- Refereeing, Bernd ( already forgiven, as the best player of the season to date). Chelski “professional” fouls a la Manshitty, but if the referee wont protect what can be done. VAR.

    Sorry Peaches, as I got into it could have been a bit of a report.

  82. LBG says:

    Even Freddie viewing from the Directors box is proof further we have the right, young, truly Arsenal man in charge. Do it, Mikel.

  83. fatgingergooner says:

    The fact is if we can replicate that first half in our next games and can start to sustain that level for longer periods, then we will win a lot of games. We shouldn’t worry too much right now about Liverpool, City, Spurs, Chelsea and United. We need to become flat-track bullies again and make sure we are beating everyone else on a regular basis. The results against the big sides will come, but right now we need confidence and that comes from results and good performances.

    Having said that, a win against United in midweek would set us up nicely for 2020.

  84. Sue says:

    I’m usually devastated the next day, after a loss against a team I loathe…however, today I’m not!
    I only ever want to see a decent performance and if we lose, then so be it, but at least we tried, and that is how I feel about yesterday!
    Looking ahead to Wednesday… I’m nervous! Our performances have improved, but we’re in desperate need of some points!! 6 points above Villa in 18th!! 😬
    Gary Lineker tweeted saying he thinks we’ll stay up!! 😳

  85. Rasp says:

    Morning all …

    … New post …

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