Chelsea welcome Arsenal at the Bridge this Sunday but Jose Mourinho and his men are no happy hosts.
The truest test of our season. Chelsea, away.
After draws to Eveton, Manchester City and Tottenham, the questions remain over the ability of Arsene Wenger’s Gunners to gain the edge over top four and title rivals if we are to be taken seriously as one of the teams to beat. This will indeed be Arsenal’s biggest test of the first 19 games of this season, not only because Chelsea are the bookies favorites to walk to the title this year having established a lead already this term, but because of the recent history of this fixture.
Arsenal had been the team who put London on the footballing map, with many years of success in all the eras of English football, even till Wenger’s reign. Roman Abramovich’s money has done a lot to initiate a power shift and with the return of Jose Mourinho, Wenger is faced again with one niggling nemesis in an otherwise all-conquering 18 year stint in North London.
Chelsea has not been a happy place for Arsenal, certainly not with Mourinho is in the home dugout. Of the five goals we scored the last time we left Stamford Bridge with all three points, four were scored by players who are no more with us – van Persie and Andre Santos. 6 – 0 last year, on Wenger’s 1000th game at Arsenal will probably never be erased from his memory, but another opportunity has come for redemption. The question remains if Wenger would have finally learned, after 11 unsuccessful attempts, how to adapt his game to Mourinho’s anti-tactics against him.
Quick hassling breaks were the key to tearing us apart last year, making interceptions from long protracted passes which lacked real purpose. We’ve still been founding wanting on some occasions this term in giving the ball away in our own half. The manager has admitted to this deficiency and surely must have to work on averting it. If there is one team who could take full advantage in this league, it will be Chelsea.
But we have the momentum, and there must be no fear. After all, Mourinho is no longer invincible at Stamford Bridge. His team has shown various weaknesses in defence this season, shipping even as many goals as we have this season. He has not changed his defence first approach on against the big teams, which didn’t quite work out against City. On the back of our Champions League victory against Galatasaray, there is an air of positivity in the Arsenal camp that there can be no fear while approaching Chelsea on Sunday. Both teams are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the League, there is nothing suggesting any glaring disparity in quality this season.
A win will see us half the difference in points between the two teams, while sending out a statement to the other teams about our quality and ambitions this term. We may have to go about cautiously, but being a shade as clinical as we were against Galatasaray won’t see us live empty handed.
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