While we do our work in preparation for the clash with Chelsea, it may be worthwhile taking a sneak peek into their camp to know what to expect tomorrow. And, there is some ‘good’ news.
Mourinho confirmed that both Didier Drogba and Ramires will not be available for selection as they continue recovery on ankle and groin injuries respectively. The Chelsea duo had missed their last league game at Aston Villa as well as their Champions League win in midweek. They will now have to watch the Sunday game against Arsenal from the sidelines.
Arsene Wenger will surely be a little relieved by this piece of news, especially the part on Drogba’s unavailability. The Ivorian had cut something of a menace for Arsenal since his time with Chelsea dating back to 2004. He has scored 13 goals for Chelsea in 14 appearances against Arsenal, cutting across both League and Cup competitions, scoring the winner in the acrimonious 2007 League Cup Final. His last game against Arsenal till date actually did see him update that overall record to 15 in 15, leading Galatasaray to come from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 last year, lifting the Emirates Cup in the process.
Wenger has expressed his regret at not taking advantage of the opportunity he once had of capturing Drogba right from his non-League days at Le Mans. Along with missing out on Cristiano Ronaldo, Drogba stands out as one of the players Wenger states he would have loved to manage in his time as a coach, and on account of how much pain the striker has caused him and his team over the years, you’d understand why Le Prof must have gained some solace from Drogba’s absence from the crunch game.
Drogba’s absence, though, will mean little for Jose Mourinho’s set up as they have a more than capable replacement in Diego Costa who has taken to the new challenge of the Premier League like a duck to water, banging twice as much as any other player closest to him on the scorers’ chart has. Wenger admits to being amazed at the rapid rate at which the Spaniard has adapted to the League, also declaring his admiration for his abilities as a complete striker, hoping that he manages to “dis-adapt” against us.
Ramires’ absence would probably not affect much in terms of Chelsea’s midfield too, as Fabregas and Nemanja Matic are sure to start against us, while Hazard and any of Willian or Andre Schurrle either side of Diego Costa.
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