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Big game today and there will be no need for me to further hype up this game. Arsenal visit Stamford Bridge tonight and look to correct an abysmal record against Chelsea in recent seasons. We were well and truly overpowered in both encounters last season. Neither were our result any good against the other title contender, Manchester United. Normally, the challenging team that picks up the most points from this mini-league against their rivals are the one most likely to lift the trophy come the end of the season, something which Arsene Wenger is acutely aware of.
Wenger has been trying to inspire his team all week. He’s been saying things like the team is ready to challenge for the title and physicality of Chelsea would not be an advantage to them. It is almost like he is throwing the gauntlet back at his own team to perform as he is expected of them. Perhaps he is trying to inspire his team to regain our foothold as the strongest club in London.
Although, with a game as big as this, I fail to understand why any player would not be excited or do not want to win this game. They have chase every loose ball like their pride is on the line. They should harry and pressure every Chelsea player when they are on the ball. They should not be in awe of Chelsea’s height or power and give back as good as they got. They can’t laze around on the pitch and only show their quality when in possession. Today, more than any other, it is what we do without the ball that is more important.
There’s a very long list of injuries surrounding the club right now and those out would make more than a decent team. Almunia, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Fabregas, Ramsey, Bendtner and Van Persie would easily please me that they could start this game if they were fit. But they are not, so there is no point to dwell over it. We have other players who could still do the job. Of those, here are the 11 who I think will start;
That line-up does not exactly inspire confidence as it means we are a little light in the middle of the park. However, without Frank Lampard, Chelsea are not exactly full strength. Player for player in midfield, Denilson, Song and Wilshere are certainly capable of matching up to Ramires, Essien and Mikel. Denilson and Song will play the pivotal role tonight of preventing the likes of Essien from marauding foward. Together, they are a very solid unit and as much as I like Song, I do hope he is one to stay behind and only allow Denilson the ocassional forays forward.
If the season end now, Jack Wilshere would be one of the candidate for the player of the season. But the winner would have to be Samir Nasri. The diminutive French playmaker has benefited from Fabregas’ enforced absence and stamp his influence in the Arsenal team. He will be the one we all look to, to provide the creativity and drive for the team. While we don’t doubt the quality that he has, other than the one game which he scored twice against Manchester United, he has been largely anonymous in big games. Hopefully that changes with immediate effect.
We know what is the possible threat tonight. I’m sure you and me as well as the entire Arsenal family are aware of the dangers that Chelsea possess. We’ve had ample time to prepare for this game and even rested some players midway through our midweek Champions League game. After what happen with West Brom last week, the players need to know that quality comes with application. Time to lay down a marker for the season. All is not lost if we are defeated tonight but it does not send out a serious message that we are here to fight.
Come on you Gunnners!!!!