After the North London Derby last Saturday, Arsenal play another local team next week as they travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea. The Blues are the league leaders, unbeaten in six games so far, with five wins. Arsenal, meanwhile, are also unbeaten, but have only managed to win two of their six fixtures and are six points behind Chelsea.
Speaking about the upcoming game, Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said that Arsenal will look to play with a positive approach and will try to attack Chelsea, rather than sitting back and defending. Arsenal are already injury plagued in the defence, and have also lost the services of Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta for the game. Despite this, the Ox insists that they will be the ones on the offensive.
The last time the Gunners went to Stamford Bridge, they suffered a humiliating 6-0 defeat, in which Kieran Gibbs was shown the red card by accident after a handball by Chamberlain. As such, the team feels like there is a lot to prove and they are determined to give a good showing of themselves.
We know this year we’ve got to step up in the big games and get some results in them. We do understand what happened there [Chelsea] last year and maybe we’ve got a point to prove.
We’ll be really looking forward to that game and we’ll definitely give Chelsea the respect they deserve. But at the same time I have belief in my team-mates and I do definitely think we can go to a place like Chelsea, set the tempo and take control of the game.
There will be times in the game, I’m sure, when Chelsea have a spell because they’re a top team. But we’re going to have ours and we’ve got to make sure that, when we do have our chances, we make them count.
The lack of clinical finishing cost Arsenal dearly against the Spurs. The Gunners had 70% of the ball, but were unable to take their limited chances in the final third. Eventually they fell behind against the run of play and had to work hard to salvage a point. Against Chelsea, they will have to be much more ruthless in front of goal if they want a positive result.
We send a lot of bodies forward in a positive fashion and you do leave yourselves a bit vulnerable to the counter-attack at times.
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As a team we do try to work on stopping that at source but sometimes you do get countered and teams maybe set up to do that against us. We’ve got to be ready for that and we’ll continue to work on it.
It’s important that, when we do, we’ve got people in the team that are willing to take the responsibility of holding back and being there to stop counter-attacks.
I do love being in this team and playing the style that we play – as I think all the players do – but we need to be careful and make sure we’re defending at the same time as we’re attacking.
We know how much it means to everyone not to lose the game [against Tottenham] and personally I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t manage to nick the last goal and take all three points.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was the goalscorer for the Gunners, and he could hardly have netted at a more opportune moment. The Ox sees the team’s comeback as proof of increased resolve in the squad – and also feels that the glut of drawn matches may turn out to be valuable in the long run.
You have to show character to come back, which we did, but it’s not a situation we want to find ourselves in too often, having to fight to get back into games.
Nerves can creep up at that point but, if we are going behind, then it’s definitely a positive that the team can show character to get back into these games.
There have been games that we’d like to have won, but the important thing is we haven’t lost. We’re not losing any games and I think that can play a role towards the end of the season.
You never know how important these points here and there can be and, if you’re not losing games, you’ve got a chance to build on that.
With piling injury concerns, a draw against Chelsea is a result that Arsenal fans would gladly accept. The Blues have been in ominous form under Jose Mourinho this season, and it will take something extraordinary from Wenger to snatch away victory from the Special One.