Arsenal FC: 5 Reasons Why the Gunners Will Beat Chelsea in the London Derby
As one of the most exciting fixtures in English football, Arsenal versus Chelsea isn't just a battle for three points—it's a battle for the pride of London. Because these two clubs are commonly regarded as the two best clubs in London, fans of each club will tell you their respective team is the best in the city.
Now, that might all sound a bit overdramatic, but as you can see in the picture above, these matches tend to get quite heated. There's been fights on a number of occasions, as emotions run high with so much pride at stake.
Although Arsenal face a tough task travelling across town to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, football tends to be quite unpredictable and really, this match could go either way.
Here are five reasons why the Gunners can defeat their local rivals away from home and prove that they are the pride of London.
The Verminator Is Back
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When he's fit, Thomas Vermaelen is arguably Arsenal's most important player.
His presence turns the Gunners' shaky defense into a solid one, as his ability to win balls both on the ground and in the air can silence any forward. Vermaelen kept Andy Carroll, arguably the best header in the Premier League, quiet during Arsenal's match earlier this season against Liverpool, and in both legs of the Gunners' Champions League qualifiers against Udinese, he was the backbone of the defense.
Although he tends to be quite injury prone, he's currently fully fit and will surely be in the starting lineup against Chelsea on Saturday. Vermaelen's return to the squad is a huge boost for Arsenal's hopes of grabbing all three points from this fixture, and could be enough to walk away victorious.
Robin Van Persie Is Better Than Any Forward Chelsea Have
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Of the whopping six forwards that Chelsea have, none are better than Robin Van Persie.
Let's take the Blues' best two strikers: Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres. Drogba seems to be way past his prime, and is no where near the form he enjoyed two seasons ago, let alone the mediocre form he was in last season. On the other hand, Torres seems to just be regaining the form he found at Liverpool a season ago, but hasn't gained nearly enough momentum to prove himself as the reliable forward Chelsea need just yet.
Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about Daniel Sturridge. Ironically, the 22-year-old has been Chelsea's most in-form striker this season. As one of the hottest young English prospects, it's obvious that Sturridge will one day be one of the best in the Premier League, but currently he's not at the level Van Persie's at. Maybe one day, but at the moment not quite.
It's as simple as that. Van Persie is in prolific form and at the moment he's undoubtedly better than any forward Chelsea have. He hasn't scored against the Blues in quite a few seasons now, so expect him to be hungrier than ever for a goal.
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Although they may currently be higher in the table, Chelsea's team morale isn't nearly as high as Arsenal's seems to be.
Both teams are in basically the same form, gaining 12 points from their last six matches, but Chelsea have stumbled upon a number of controversies in recent weeks, specifically from last week in their West London derby defeat to QPR. John Terry was accused of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, a claim made by Ferdinand himself; however, no one really knows if it's entirely true or not.
The unlikely defeat to QPR seemed to be fairly demoralizing as well, and the Blues also needed extra time to defeat Everton at Goodison Park in the Carling Cup midweek.
So even though Chelsea are sitting at third in the table, it's not all smooth sailing at Stamford Bridge.
On the other hand, Arsenal's team morale seems to be higher than ever, with some players even speaking out to the media about the sense of togetherness the squad feels in training and the dressing room. This probably comes from the obstacles the Gunners have recently overcome—losing key players, enduring horrid form, but coming back and finally getting points on the board.
Although Chelsea's controversies may be highlighted by the media, their morale still certainly isn't as high as Arsenal's, and this could very well factor to give the Gunners an edge on Saturday.
Arsenal Have Improved Against Physical Sides
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One of the most common criticisms of Arsenal is their trouble competing against the more physical sides in the Premier League. Arsene Wenger's side is a young one with an emphasis of playing flowing football on the ground, so when they play teams like Stoke Rugby Club—I mean Stoke Football Club, the Gunners often struggle.
However, their surprising 3-1 win over Stoke (arguably the most physical side in the Premier League) last weekend showed that they have the ability to beat big, strong players with their speed and passing.
Arsenal also showed this with their win over Sunderland, another side known for their physicality. Last season the Gunners couldn't seem to get a good result against the Black Cats, drawing 1-1 away and 0-0 at home.
But the 2-1 against Steve Bruce's side as well as the 3-1 win over Stoke shows that Arsenal have definitely improved against physical sides they used to struggle again.
Now, it's no secret that Chelsea are a fairly physical side. With players like John Terry and Ashley Cole in their defense, you know you're in for some no-nonsense English defending when you go up against the Blues.
Fortunately, it seems like Arsenal are getting much better when faced against teams that are the antithesis of their own team, so expect them to be stronger than expected at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
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Although the Gunners have only picked up a point in all four of their matches on the road this season, the travelling Arsenal fans have been absolutely incredible.
In Manchester United's 8-2 thumping of Arsenal at Old Trafford, it was the Arsenal supporters who were making all the noise, trying to rally their side on to avoid humiliation.
Most fans tend to be pretty silent when their team is down six goals, but from the noise level of the Gunners fans at Old Trafford you would've thought Arsenal were crushing Manchester United rather than the other way around.
With only a short trip across town to Stamford Bridge for Arsenal fans, don't be surprised if you hear Gooners chants on Saturday rather than Chelsea ones.