Chelsea Weekly: Back on Track

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Chelsea Weekly: Back on Track
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Chelsea celebrate a fifth straight victory over Arsenal

What a Difference a Week Makes

This time last week, following two defeats, all the talk was that Chelsea had been found out. Flat-track bullies who would crumble against stronger opposition.

Seven days on and a lot of people have been made to eat their words.

First, there was the Champions League tie against French champions Olympique Marseille. A strong opponent, but Chelsea breezed to a 2-0 victory.

Marseille deserves a special mention for their fantastic support. Media reports said Marseille fans had been prevented from taking banners into the stadium.

Any Chelsea fan present could have told you the only reason for that would be they just didn't have room for any more banners in their section of the ground.

Then it was on to the big London derby against Arsenal on Sunday.

There is an emerging pattern to these games now.

Arsenal have the ball, pass it round a bit, don't really get anywhere, Chelsea counter-attack and score. Usually through Didier Drogba.

There was actually a sense of deja-vu about the second half in the game against Arsenal. It played out almost exactly the same as the second half against Marseille.

The only difference was Alex's free kick went in against the Gunners, whereas his one mid-week had come off the post.

Some say Alex Song could have put his head out to stop the ball. I say this is unfair, and would have just resulted in two fast-moving round objects going in to the Arsenal goal.

The victory over Arsenal was Chelsea's eighth successive victory over other members of the 'Big Four' (though Liverpool hardly merit their inclusion these days).

For Arsenal, it's part of a more worrying trend. In their last 34 games against Manchester United and Chelsea, the Gunners have won just six.

 

Arsenal's Nemesis: Didier Drogba

So what exactly does Didier Drogba have against Arsenal? Why does he have such a phenomenal goal-scoring record against them?

Drogba's goal on Sunday was his 13th goal in 13 appearances against Arsenal. A succession of Arsenal central defenders have tried and failed to stop him.

Even the man himself is at a loss to explain it. In an interview with Chelsea TV, all Drogba could say was, "I just seem to be in the right place at the right time against them."

Indeed.

Now, Chelsea fans don't honestly expect Didier to score every time he plays against Arsenal. But what if their players do?

What if Arsenal's players expect Drogba to score so that, subconsciously, they are contributing to their own downfall? Something to ponder.

Maybe though, it's something more straightforward.

In 2002, whilst playing for Guingamp, Drogba was given a trial by Arsenal. Arsene Wenger decided not to sign him, and Drogba moved to Marseille. 

The rest, as they say, is history.

How Wenger, and every Arsenal fan, must rue that decision, as the big Ivorian has made them pay ever since.

 

International Break in Focus

The biggest problem with International breaks for a team (without going into the great club v. country debate) is it can take away momentum.

Last season, Chelsea struggled in fixtures following the Internationals, most notably with defeats away at Wigan and Aston Villa.

Dates of the matches have now been moved, however, to Fridays and Tuesdays to give the clubs more time to prepare for their upcoming matches.

This is not something Jon Obi Mikel will have to worry about, though. The Nigeria national team has now been suspended from all international football until further notice.

When not fretting about players getting injured, there is one thing Chelsea fans can enjoy.

Chelsea will definitely be top of the league for another two weeks.

And Liverpool will be in the bottom three.

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