With Chelsea’s home form looking shaky and Arsenal’s inconsistencies apparent this season, it is anyone’s guess who will come out of this London derby on top. Each team can be ruthless on their day, but it is now a matter of stringing good performances together with each team suffering from hot-and-cold syndrome in recent weeks.
Arsenal have suffered no new injuries from their midweek FA Cup victory over Swansea. It is almost certain Arsene Wenger will change up the starting 11 from the one in midweek, although in saying this it is only the front trio that will see the major changes in personnel.
Expect Cazorla to slide back into the attacking midfield role and Podolski and Chamberlain to retain their positions on the flanks. In terms of the spearhead, it is touch and go whether Arsene will opt to use Walcott or Giroud up front. If the latter does indeed get a start, Walcott will replace Chamberlain on the right.
Another talking point of course is the return of Frenchman Abou Diaby. Wenger has hinted that this could be his last chance to prove himself after he limped out through injury in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. The lanky midfielder provides a more physical presence in midfield and was sorely missed after his early departure when we played the Blues at home. Hopefully his body holds out for this one.
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In terms of the opposition, their players really need no introducing. Their are multiple threats in the side with Spaniard Juan Mata the key link. In the previous fixture Mata somewhat outshone our own little Spaniard Santi Cazorla. Hopefully both Cazorla and Wilshere can impose themselves in midfield.
Overall it certainly seems a case of who performs on the day. Ideally you would like to see both teams produce great performances, but given each teams inconsistencies in recent weeks it may be that only one team turns up hot. Hopefully it is Arsenal!
on Benitez and Chelsea…
I feel sympathy for every manager until the day I play against him. Then the sympathy goes and comes back after the game – not always straight after the game, sometimes it is some time later. We are all in the same position.
We know we are in a fragile job and that the confidence is very important, but it is a job where you have to take care of your own team.
Both teams have attacking styles. Chelsea is today a team who has many good attacking players so it should be a game with goal chances.
We will not change our style too much, so we will try to attack and try to create chances.
Sagna Mertesacker Vermaelen (c) Gibbs
- Arsenal have won at Stamford Bridge more often than any other Premier League side (seven) and scored more goals (27), so they are worth a bet with Ladbrokes to take the tie at 16/5.
- The Gunners away record is solid of late, they have lost just three of their last 19 Premier League away matches (W9 D7 L3) and are unbeaten in the last five (W2 D3 L0).
- Meanwhile Chelsea have won only one of their last seven Premier League home games, Stamford Bridge has hardly been a fortress recently.
- Arsenal became the first and only away team to net five times in a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge last season in the 5-3 thriller.
- Demba Ba netted a brace in his final match for Newcastle against Arsenal at in late December before signing for Chelsea in the New Year.
- Theo Walcott scored his first ever goal for the Gunners against the Blues when he found the net in the 2007 League Cup final, and he may be set to sign a new contract before Monday’s match according to Sky Sports.
- Arsenal, who are currently 6th on the table have fewer points this season after 21 games than in any previous Premier League campaign under Arsene Wenger.
- The Gunners have scored more goals (9) in the final 10 minutes of games this season than any other team in the top flight.
- Rafa Benitez’s home record in games against Arsene Wenger with Valencia and Liverpool is (W5 D2 L3).
- Chelsea got fewer points from London derbies than any capital club last season (8), but have already matched that tally this season.
Chelsea 1 Arsenal 1