Arsenal travel to South of London to play Chelsea with revenge of last season’s embarrassment in mind.
However, it’s been Cesc this, Cesc that. The name Cesc has been mentioned so much in the last twenty-four hours that it has sent me into paroxysms of reflexive indignation. The media machine has overtly managed to wheel off just enough pressure from a match with so much at stake. The arguments now are weather or not Cesc is an Arsenal Legend, or the kind of reception he should receive, rather than how both teams invincibility this season is on the line.
What I won’t do is add to the already overflowing mess; let’s talk about the game proper
How the teams will play
Chelsea: José Mourinho’s men couldn’t have wished for a better start. Four wins and a draw against last seasons winner (Man City) means they are comfortably topping the league table with a game to spare. Although It could be argued that they’ve only played one big team in Man City, and that they’ve only enjoyed such easy ride due to the stature of other teams they’ve faced, nevertheless, confidence isn’t a virtue they’ll be short of heading to a game of this importance.
Morinho is expected to name the same team that won in Portugal on Wednesday with Willian for Shurle the only probable change.
Probable 11; Courtious, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Matic, Fabregas, Oscar, Willian, Hazard, Costa
Arsenal: There’s expected to be only One change from the that disposed Galatasaray on Tuesday. The Manager during the post-match conference of the said match confirmed that Jack Wilshere will play the full 90mins of this fixture. Mind, this will also mean there will be alterations to the team’s tactical set-up.
Wilshere is expected to slot into the midfield tandem with Flamini in what should look like last season’s 4-3-3 formation. Consequently, it means one of Cazorla or Chamberlain will drop out from the starting lineup. Now, if it was my choice, I’ll definitely go for Chamberlain’s youthful energy and tenacity at the expense of Cazorla’s added creativity. But hey, it’s not the job of a 19 year old, year 3 uni student. I’ll leave that to the man who’s spent 18 years in charge.
Probable 11; Chambers, Gibbs, Per, Koscienly, Flamini, Wilshere, Ozil, Sánchez, Ox, Welbz.
Key Battles to Watch out for:
Diego Costa vs Per/Koscienly: Honestly this, to me, seem more like Jack and the giant( Ala Jack the Giant slayer) with Costa of course playing the role of giant. Costa has been in sensational form for the blues this season despite struggling with a hamstring problem. Arsenal defensive duo on the other hand have struggled to keep just One clean sheet since the beginning of this campaign. On paper the odds are well against the gunners, one can only hope it’s one off Costa’s off days.
Welbz vs Terry/Cahill:
“….he is the type of forward who will never give a defender a moment’s rest. He will be at Terry and Cahill from the start”
Words of Jamie Carragah on his Daily Mail column. Indeed Welbeck’s expressive work rate is every defenders nightmare, but even as important is his composure in front of goal. Mid week’s hattrick gives good signs of things to come, and there’s certainly room for improvement. Against arguably the best defense in the League, the test, for Welbeck couldn’t get bigger.
Ozil vs Matic: This is most likely where the game will be lost or won. Ozil’s last three performances provide sufficient hope for Arsene Wenger and Us Gooners, that he’s returning to his best and fitness. Ozil at his best is unplayable, by even the solid Matic.
Fabregas vs Flamini: This is another battle which is a little bit lopsided. And scary too. One can only hope Flamini times his two – footed tackles impeccably or at least well enough to last 90mins. Enough have been said about Cesc already.
Verdict: Majority of Arsenal fans would sell their soul to the devil- if José isn’t the devel himself- if it means they get to see Arsenal demolish Chelsea and dump it in Morinho’s rough face. But that’s about what it is, hypothetical. Later today, there will be no souls nor devil, just players of both teams on the greens of Stamford Bridge.
Some Arsenal fans, like me, have plied the easy route; maintain zero expectations, whatever comes above that is bonus. For us, Arsenal just need to avoid last season esque drubbing, then we’re fine
Here’s to hoping our team turns up. 2-1 to Arsenal is what the heart says. Not the head.