Why Oh Why can’t we ever have a fully fit first team when we play Chelsea? I am convinced that had we Cesc, Vermælen, Van Persie and Theo fully fit and firing on all cylinders we would win this fixture, without them there lies some doubt.
I believe that if the 4 missing players could each play 30+ games a season we would win the League. We have a brilliant first 11 (bar the GK!!) but taking out our best defender, best forwards, and the best midfielder in the world is putting enormous pressure upon our capabilities of challenging Chelsea for the title. It would on any team.
Apart from the blip last weekend and that silly overtime goal at TSOL we have played very well this season. Fantastic, high scoring wins against admittedly moderate opposition should have given us great confidence going to the Bridge, but those two games have left a major doubt over the team, and Chelsea away is not the best place to go when confidence is not 100%.
Then there is the goalkeeping issue. I am guessing that Fabianski will play and I wish him (or Almunia) the very best of good fortune, however ….. oh, I am so bored with this whole GK scandal. Let’s just use some of the shedloads of profits on a decent keeper in January and be done with it.
So where is the hope that we can get a result? It lies within the blessed feet of Arshavin and Nasri, and the combined strength of sinew and muscle of our defence. We all know the strengths of Chelsea’s attack, they have power and pace and have undone our defence too often for comfort. However, we have a shiny, new pair of CB’s who will be desperate to show they can be the equal of Drogba and Anelka (who in a just world would be wearing an Arsenal shirt).
Even without Cesc (and there remains hope he will play) our midfields cancel each other out. Missing Lampard, Chelsea look bereft of inspiration, relying on the lung bursting energy of Essien and the power of their forwards to create goal scoring opportunities. Whereas we have a wealth of creative players who are learning to stand up to the battle. I would start Wilshere who looks a special player; there are few creative MF’s who have his appetite for the physical side of football.
My main concern is Malouda. He can win the game single handedly, and it will require vigilance from our midfielders to protect our full backs. We have to defend as a team and not allow the vast open spaces that led to previous Chelsea goals, Song in particular will have to curb his attacking instincts.
My team (can I keep my 100% record?)
Sagna Squid Kos Clichy
Denilson Song Nasri JW
Chelsea’s record of over 100 goals last season was phenomenal and a testament to their attacking resolve. They are a fantastic side and definitely the best PL team since the Invincibles. The work done by Ancelloti has been of the highest calibre – to take a succesful but dull, mechanical team and turn them into entertainers was superb. Let’s hope they are one season wonders!
To go to last season’s Double winners and leave with 3 points is a big ask, but We are The Arsenal and We are the Best ….