If there ever was a day when the Gunners would have to assemble to prove that they had the potential to defeat the leaders, this is the day.
If there ever had to be a time for the Gunners to set aside History and write the future, this is the moment.
This is a battle for supremacy. This is a fight to show our might. This is Super Sunday.
The week that was:
Arsenal go to Stamford Bridge this Sunday to face league leaders Chelsea in a much awaited encounter. What sets up this encounter perfectly is the way the two teams fared through the last week. Chelsea started with a fiery campaign slotting 22 goals as they raced to 15 points in 5 games, but lost their last fixture against Manchester City. Arsenal on the other hand, were unbeaten in their 5 games with 14 goals and had a shock defeat against West Bromwich Albion at Emirates. Both these teams had to travel across Europe for mid-week encounters for their respective Champions League fixtures. Chelsea comfortably won 2-0 against Marseille while Arsenal managed to beat 10-man Partizan Belgrade 3-1. Both of them have had an almost similar past coming in to this game.
Another thing that these two teams share in respect to this encounter are in injuries to key players. Chelsea will be playing without the services of Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Yossi Benayoun in their midfield. Arsenal, on the other hand, have a sort of crisis in their squad with injuries. Vermaelen, Gibbs, Almunia, Robin Van Persie, Theo Walcott and even Cesc Fabregas have been ruled out for the game. Abou Diaby is in the squad but has been given an 80% chance of starting the game. Hardly 10 games into the season and we are almost down to bare bones.
Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelloti, has had a rather unfortunate incident in his family with the demise of his father. It isn’t certain if he will be on the touchline, but he might play a part in the game. Last season, Ancelloti played a strategy of counter-attack saying it worked very well with Arsenal’s attacking style. Arsenal’s defense was caught unawares on the break as Chelsea defeated us 2-0.
Which brings us to our defense. Despite the poor shows he put up last season, Fabianski had a good night in front of the bars at Belgrade where he managed to save a penalty and also tipped of another certain goal. Even though Wenger has confidence in him, the fans do not. He will be in the firing line this Sunday. Since Wenger started with Djourou in the previous game, Squillaci & Koscielny might make the central defense. And they will have to deal with trio of Drogba, Malouda and Anelka with all their might and guile.
Players to watch out for:
With both teams having a potent attacking force, the game will be decided in the midfield. Essien, Mikel & Malouda are capable of filling in for Lampard. Not much has been seen of Ramires in Premier league so far, but Ancelloti has faith in his skills. Malouda is their man to watch out for in midfield.
For Arsenal, Nasri, Rosicky (or Diaby), Song and Wilshere might make the midfield line-up. Wilshere has been in excellent form of late and much is expected from him. In the disaster against West Brom, the only positive that could be drawn was Nasri’s resolve. Being down 0-3, most players drop their shoulders and give up. But not Samri Nasri. He was relentless and was willing to battle it out till the end. A true sign of a fighter.
“15 – In 15 games versus Arsenal since Didier Drogba was signed, Chelsea’s record is W9 D3 L0 with him playing, W0 D1 L2 without. Nemesis.”(http://twitter.com/OptaJoe/status/26069074833) That is a devastating statistic that shows the threat posed by Didier Drogba against Arsenal. He has scored 12 goals in 12 games against Arsenal. He is as lethal as they come and Squillaci & Koscielny will have to be at their best. Ex-Gunner Anelka can also cause trouble by luring away defense to corners and opening up the field.
Chelsea defense have just let in 2 goals so far. Although, Marouanne Chamakh has seamlessly blended into the role of a striker for Arsenal, we are yet to see him at his best. This game will test him. Our main hope for Sunday, though, now lies squarely on the shoulders of the Russian hitman Andrey Arshavin. He might have been off his ‘magic’ as he claims and he has missed some good chances. But he has created more goal-scoring opportunities for Arsenal than anyone else this season and we expect nothing less from him.
The final word:
Arsenal is unable to put up their best team. History is against them. Statistics are against them. And so are the bookies. But these are the odds that bring out the best among the warriors. These are the circumstances that separate the men from the boys. These are the challenges that a Gunner ought to relish. Such high profile clashes usually end up in lacklustre games and we hope it doesn’t turn into one. Wenger believes that his men can beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. And so do we, their unwavering fans. Go Gunners!
Chelsea (4-4-2): Petr Cech (GK), Ashley Cole, John Terry, Alex, Ferriera (Defense), Essien, Ramires, Mikel, Malouda (Midfield), Anelka & Didier Drogba (Strikers).
Arsenal (4-4-1-1): Fabianski (GK), Clichy, Koscielny, Squillaci, Sagna (Defense), Rosicky, Song, Wilshere, Nasri (Midfield), Arshavin & Chamakh (Strikers).
Note: If any of you want to share your views/opinions on the club from N5 (read: Arsenal!), leave Us a comment at the bottom. We’ll get back right away & be glad to give you a chance. Keep Gunning..