THE BIG ONE IS HERE.
It’s very difficult to replace the passion of a North London Derby, but for me, playing Chelsea is right up there for pure hate stakes. At least with Spurs of late, you could kind of respect their playing style… and we normally beat them. Chelsea? Mostly getting the better of us, mostly under horrible circumstances, mostly with a nasty air of arrogance.
Today, we have make a statement. I kind of feel like Wenger team talks find their way into the press. Like there’s a push to tell the people that he’s thinking about the opposition. What I’m taking from the read around is there’s a plan to finish the game with 11 men and we’re worried about their counter attack.
Pretty deep stuff.
I’d imagine based on the confidence we showed in the week, factored with the decimation of Hull, we’ll go all out to attack them. They don’t have the fastest back four and I’m not sure they’re in a world of confidence at the moment. Being taken to extra time by a Leicester currently being spanked by United tells a story. This game is a chance for Conte to showcase his skill as a manager. He’ll have looked at our midfield being fairly open and I’d imagine he’ll have some sort of plan to take advantage of our high press.
We need to be alert to the pace of their players and also the new found confidence of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, two players largely responsible for the demise of Jose Mourinho when they switched off massively last season.
You all know my view on midfield. I’d be playing Xhaka. His ability to open the game from deep could be a huge asset. I’d probably go with Coquelin to strengthen the base, but I’m not sure I’d have him in a high press against a team we think will counter. I’d be using Santi as an impact sub.
However, the manager rested his favourites this week, so we know it’ll be Coq-Caz.
Perez looked good in the week, but I’d imagine Wenger more likely revert to type and go with Alexis or Giroud (if he’s passed fit). It’d be nice to think Wenger might try something interesting or new that could have the impact of wrecking Conte’s plan (because he’ll know exactly how we’re going to play)… but that’s not his style. Imagine Wenger dropping a 3-5-2… or even a Giroud / Griezmann like frontline.
IT’D BE CRAZY.
I don’t want to come out the back end of this game complaining about Diego Costa, moaning about the referee or bemoaning midfield discipline. We are a very good team, more than capable of defeating Chelsea. No excuses today, we need to set the tone for the rest of the year. I also want us to send a big middle finger the way of Rob Beasley. Fuck his book and his PR campaign designed to destablize the club.
Here’s to the 20th anniversary going better than the 1000th one…
Statement time… see you on the other side!