I’m up early and ready to roll today, I hope you are too. Today, Arsenal host Chelsea in the biggest grossing Premiership game in history. Hopefully, the boys will make it worth every penny by taking 3 points from the leagues early leaders. We’ll be facing up to a new look Chelsea side this year with some familiar faces disgracing our eyes.
Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole, Mikel, Ramires (or Lampard), Hazard, Mata, Torres, Oscar
The above line up is how one of the Chelsea bloggers sees it happening today. Obviously there are some key players we need to keep an eye on there. Juan Mata is Chelsea’s supremely gifted attacking midfielder, he glides around the pitch and has an eye for a quick pass. There’s obviously Hazard to watch out for as well. The young Belgian has had a mixed bag when it comes to performances so far this year, people writing him off already are wishful thinkers more than anything, he has the capability to kill us today, so our full backs needs to be super vigilant and at their best.
Rumours are suggesting there will be a centre back pairing of Vermalen and Koscielny today. That makes sense on a number of levels. The two ingredients those two give us are pace and mobility. Mertesacker has been excellent this season, but some games are clearly more suited to others and I think Chelea’s more continental feel this year is better placed with the other two. The benefits of having good centre back stock eh?
In midfield, pending any disasters, I’m hoping to see Diaby, Arteta anchoring with Cazorla sitting in the hole. Arsene Wenger has taken a sly dig a Song by sharing the reasons he didn’t buy an outright defensive midfielder.
“We try to find the defensive balance collectively. We have fewer players who are purely defenders but some are physically strong in defending like Diaby, some are tactically strong like Arteta.
“At the moment we have the balance because everybody participates, but we have fewer specialists, purely defenders. We are more versatile going forward because everyone has the potential to go forward.”
The above was kind of what I was talking about most of the summer. Looking around the league and in fact Europe in general, the traditional defensive midfielder is a dying breed. I think there is definitely a need to have more defensive minded midfielders, but what you actually want is disciplined well rounded footballers. The Makelele type player is a dying bread. Why do I think that is? Well, teams like Barcelona have shown that you are stronger as a unit if everyone can pass to the same standard. I remember Liverpool beating Chelsea in the Champions League by forcing them to give possession to Makelele. He couldn’t pass so the scouser broke their midfield flow.
Arteta is our deepest lying midfielder most of the game, but note how many times Diaby is level pegging with him. Watch how Cazorla bombs back if he loses the ball. There’s virtually no individualism in this side which makes for a more powerful collective. Today is going to be about confidence and taking our chances. We need to be ruthlessly clinical. We need to be efficient. We need to take the same spirit of Manchester City into this affair.
Whenever John Terry plays off the back of a scandal, he always has a blinder and it seems he always scores a goal. He’ll be one we need to play close attention to today. However, he could the weak link we need to take advantage of. He’s not the player he used to be, he doesn’t have the legs and he’s not playing with defenders that are as good as those in years gone by. If ever there was a player who deserved to be on the end of a humiliation… it’s this guy.
Up top will be interesting today. We either opt for physical presence and the hope there’s been a change in confidence by going for Giroud, or we look to pace in Gervinho. For me, Theo can at best hope for a chance out wide. I still can’t believe people are pushing for a player so constrained by inability to play through the middle. Anyway, the other option is to go for Podolski, I think that might be a waste though.
I’d probably go for…
Podolski Giroud Theo
To be honest though, it’s so damn hard to predict these days, it’s almost not worth it. If possession is important you’d go for Chambo over Theo. If pace and confidence are important, then you might opt for Theo. Whatever the line up is today, I’m confident we have a good chance of taking three points. Again, let’s not pretend we’ll be happy with anything else. We’ve got most of our key players fit and in form, we’re at home and the team has started to gel. A win would be a great way to kick off the weekend. I hope the crowd are all up for it, the atmosphere where I sit has had an injection of singing of late… I hope that continues on today. We need to make the Emirates a fortress and there is no reason it shouldn’t be…
Right, I think that’s your lot for today. Have yourself an exceptional day and enjoy your night in equal amounts!