Saturday, 19 September 2015

Arsenal's Trip To Chelsea Previewed

It's never easy as an Arsenal fan as you never know when the team will suddenly decide not to show up. You do know it will happen though and such was the case on Wednesday night when they lost 2-1 away to Dinamo Zagreb in the first game of their Champions League campaign. It won't be easy for them from here on in, but they certainly have every chance of making the knock out stages.

After a bad start in the league they have managed to take 10 points from their last four games and keep a clean sheet in the last three. Those 10 points have moved them into the top four, but they are five points behind City already with City winning their first five games. They head to the champions on Saturday morning knowing they have to get something from the game to make sure that gap doesn't become too wide.

Chelsea have had the worst start to a season of any team ever defending the Premier League title with only four points from their first five games. They have conceded more goals in those five games than any other team so far this season and there are rumours of unrest. They're only one place above the relegation zone, but things will change for them and it's just a matter of when it happens.

They did manage to get their Champions League campaign off to a good start on Wednesday with a 4-0 win at home to Maccabi Tel Aviv, but they still looked very vulnerable in defence. They had the best defensive record in the Premier League last season, but they have looked very shaky at the back this time. If they're going to turn things around they have to sort out their defensive issues and I wouldn't be surprised to see them play a very defensive game against Arsenal despite being at home.

Attacking football is alien to Jose Mourinho, but his team is full of players with attacking flair. He tried to play two defensive midfielders at Everton and they were two down before they even knew they were in a game. He knows Arsene Wenger will attack and that could give him the best hope of getting the result they need to kick start their season. 

It's not all about who plays or doesn't play for Chelsea though because Arsenal have the players to beat almost any team with the right attitude. The boss made six changes on Wednesday night and it backfired miserably, but I don't expect him to take any chances with the team against Chelsea. I have no doubt he will play what he considers to be his strongest team which should see the recall of the six players who were rested on Wednesday night.

There's always the possibility of Olivier Giroud leading the line for his aerial strength in attack and defence, but I doubt if he will get the nod. Besides his stupid sending off on Wednesday night he is struggling with his game at the moment and spends far too much time complaining and practicing his facial expressions of angst. I think Theo Walcott did enough when he came on against Dinamo to keep his place and hopefully his pace will be a real asset.

I'm one of those who has found the frequent exclusion of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hard to understand, but he showed again on Wednesday night that he has a lot to learn about his defensive duties. I don't blame him completely for the first goal Dinamo scored as Mathieu Debuchey has to shoulder some blame too, but Chamberlain wasn't able to get over it afterwards. If he's going to become the player we all hope he will be them he needs to make sure he doesn't switch off when the opposition have the ball.

I think Gabriel Paulista will keep his place even with Per Mertesacker well again as he has done very well since coming into the team. Mertesacker lost his place due to illness and I think he might have to wait until somebody picks up an injury or has a serious lapse in form before he gets back into the first choice team. He will of course get a game in the Capital One Cup against Spurs next week along with a few of the players who didn't look so good against Dinamo.

There's a real opportunity for Arsenal to go to Chelsea and get a win and it's been a while since they won at Stamford Bridge. The boss had never beaten a Mourinho team until the Community Shield, but that victory has put that hoodoo to bed. If he can go to Stamford Bridge and take the three points it will be well and truly buried.

Arsenal have created an awful lot of chances in their league games up to now, but they have scored far too few goals. They need to start taking more of their chances and this would be the perfect game to do just that. Alexis Sanchez had a great goalscoring first season at the club last season, but the chances just aren't going in for him at the moment.

The strikers might be a little goal shy right now, but the rest of the team are even more goal shy. The goals will come though and again Stamford Bridge would be the perfect place for players like Alexis, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey or Mesut Ozil to open their account for the season. I'm not too bothered who gets the goals as long as Arsenal get them even if they get their third win of the season thanks to an own goal.

A win would move Arsenal into second before the other teams play and only two points behind City before they have a tricky game at home to West Ham. There's nothing like sitting back with the three points and waiting to see how the other teams cope in their games. 

The team owe the fans and themselves a performance after Wednesday night and there would be no better game to come up with the goods. A win that could possibly put Chelsea into the relegation zone would be almost too good to be true and it would heap the pressure on Mourinho too. Let's just hope the players can react positively to Wednesday night and put in a performance to take all three points.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.


  1. You can bet your life Mourino will let Arsenal have all the possession in the world. Furthermore he will let them shoot with all shots missing the target or saved.
    Then a counter punch like the one Drogba used to score with alarming regularity will see anguish on the FM's face.
    This scenario may or may not happen. If the gunners play an endless passing frenzy like Chelsea did in the Everton game,they could lose especially if the Blues go direct.
    Incidentally an article in the Daily Telegraph criticized the fm for not learning from previous losses.
    In soccer as iin war,every battle is different. You don't used the same style. Here I have to blame the fm: its the sos endless passing with no crosses and always down the centre.
    No wonder his track record against Chelsea and MU is terrible and horrific.

  2. Why no crosses?If Giroud doesn't play,that's one problem Chelsea wont have.
    Wenger has a habit of trying to weave through a massed defence. So when the ball is intercepted or mispassed, a hdl is a big gap Costa would relish.He expects the Blues to play to his game plan : attack. He chose to ignore or forget the Blues counter attack is like a cobra ready to spring at the unsuspecting mouse.
    That is why he lost heavily to the top teams not once but repeatedly.And the 8-2 massacre was not unexpected. He is too stubborn and arrogant for the good of Arsenal.
    At any other top club,he would have been axed following disastrous losses.His cup wins only paper over his tactical naivety and his refusal to adapt is a handicap .

    1. Last season was definitely an improvement against the top teams and away from home in particular. Hopefully that will continue this season.

  3. It's about time Wenger beats Mourino. Failure to do so will hurt the former more than the so.
    The problem is the fm thinks his style is best when he has lost countless times. It's like someone prospecting for gold who would not give up thinking the gold nugget is aound the corner.
    I believe Walcott shd start because the Blues cds are cumbersome.Btw,reduce the incessant passing game and start shooting on sight like CP and the other teams.If the gunners indulge in their trademark intricate passing,rest assured Costa will score a hattrick.

    1. It Alexis can find his shooting boots I think he could make the difference and he certainly is prepare to shoot from anywhere.