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Chelsea Vs Arsenal PL Match Preview

An opening loss against Manchester City makes this game that little bit tougher, as we go to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea.

 

The fixture list wasn’t kind to Arsenal, and had no reprieve for Unai Emery’s new regime, with the last two winners of the Premier League as our opening two opponents. It means Unai Emery may be waiting a wee while before getting his first win.

 

Still, Blues boss Mauricio Sarri is also dealing with a new club and new players, so this game will be a truer vision of where we stand for this current campaign. We have a better chance in this game than against a rampant and unmatched City team, and Emery will have watched Chelsea’s opening day win over Huddersfield very closely for any signs of weakness that we can exploit.

 

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We could change a few things in our team, but one of them won’t be who takes the gloves. Emery alluded to the fact that Cech will again start the game in his press conference, ahead of summer signing Bernd Leno, so the Czech stopper will get the chance to play against his former team.

 

Our defence will be boosted by the return of Nacho Monreal – and just in the nick of time. With Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles out for the foreseeable, the Spaniard will be a welcome addition. Stephan Lichtsteiner played well on the left, and his solidarity and experience at the back may just oust Hector Bellerin in this tough away fixture.

 

In midfield, another summer signing, Lucas Torreira, may come in to tighten things up in the face of Jorginho and Kante. Matteo Guendouzi played well against City despite his errors, and his mobility and transitional play were a highlight, and could be vital at The Bridge.

 

A lot has been said about incorporating Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette into the same side, but this game may see Lacazette remain on the bench, and Emery may wait to unleash both players together for a slightly less fraught game where defensive solidarity will be just as important as firepower.

 

It will see Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil play just behind the Gabon striker, and our bench should be a strong one, with Lacazette, Iwobi, Welbeck and perhaps Xhaka waiting to come on when needed.

 

Our recent record versus Chelsea is strong, but on our last six visits to Stamford Bridge, we have one point, with very few goals to show for it too. We have lacked in away games versus the so called ‘Top6’ in the last few seasons – a win here would show that Emery is making good progress on our squad.

 

Our new coach will be looking to squeeze the best out of his squad, but this will take some time to achieve, so a tight game is on the cards. Expect Chelsea to hit us hard, and with Hazard ready to start after appearing as a late sub last weekend, we know how we could be hurt if we lose concentration.

 

Then there is the small matter of Olivier Giroud making an appearance, with most fans still affectionate for the French striker. Giroud may start too, as Morata is desperately short of confidence in front of goal.

 

Three points is a big ask, but with an attack as potent as ours, if we click then we can take the win. We will have to utilise our pressing and make precious few errors though, as Chelsea looked in great shape in their win over Huddersfield.

 

Keep the faith Gooners – and remember that we need patience to see the fruits of Emery’s work. UTA.

 

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Sokratis, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang.

 

Predicted scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal

Chelsea Vs Arsenal Semi-Final Carabao Cup 1st Leg Preview

It may not be the best choice of opponent, but any match gives us the opportunity to erase the taste of our embarrassing FA Cup exit to Nottingham Forest.

If we could have chosen a team to face, Chelsea wouldn’t have been one we went for. The Blues are in fine form and we, quite simply, aren’t. Antonio Conte may well be rattled by the constant stream of Jose Mourinho bile, but our draw last week shows that he will take this match very seriously.

Funnily enough, the Italian coach nearly had the same fate befall him and his team in the weekend. Fresh from our 2-2 draw, we both went into our FA Cup matches against Championship opposition. The difference was that we lost convincingly, and Chelsea escaped with a 0-0 draw.

Conte also rested the majority of his big hitters, but his squad is a little stronger than ours. Yet they also put in a sub-par display against the Canaries.

Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Victor Moses, Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata have all been rested, so will most likely line up against us. Pedro, Michy Batshuayi and Willian will drop to the bench after failing to impress against Norwich.

In terms of our team, Alexis is still with us, for now, so should be back in the team. Mesut Ozil is also back in contention, but if any of the eleven who got humped against Forest make the eleven, they can think themselves very lucky. With our squad looking a little thin, then we might have to have at least one from Holding, Mertesacker, Welbeck and Walcott on the bench.

The whole team should conceivably be changed, but there are doubts hanging over Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka. The biggest miss would be Mustafi right now, with Koscielny looking dicey on the fitness front, Holding low on confidence and Nacho still a month from fitness. If Xhaka misses out, then Elneny, the perhaps off-to-Valencia-Coquelin or even Ainslie Maitland-Niles could come in.

The Carabao Cup was prioritised by Wenger as we are in the latter stages. This makes sense of course, but if we were to be dumped out by the Blues, then his plan will have backfired, much like his weak bench he named for the Forest debacle. A two-legged affair with Chelsea is a tough hurdle to jump, and with a probable Final against City to come, we may have bet on the wrong horse here.

The Europa League has some big hitters in the draw, and with our Premier League top four spot in serious jeopardy, we are slipping towards the worst season in recent memory.

We have the capacity to defeat Chelsea, our FA Cup final win showed us that, as well as last week’s draw that could have went either way. It all hinges on which Arsenal show up. We were excellent in midfield and attack versus the Blues, but our defence was suspect, letting Morata have three one-on-ones is something we need to rectify.

We will need Koscielny and Mustafi if we are to stay in this tie for the second leg. Home factor may swing this though.

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Mustafi, Chambers, Holding, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Wilshere, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette.

Predicted Scoreline – 1-1.

Chelsea Vs Arsenal PL Preview

Two wins in our last two games have allowed the green shoots of recovery to sprout, but now we have our toughest test so far this season to truly test whether this is another false dawn. 

Do we have what it takes to end our awful away record?

In the last thirteen games away from home versus the Top6 sides, we have failed to win ANY of them. Not exactly the form befitting of contenders. Then there is the small matter of seven defeats in the last eight visits to Stamford Bridge.

There are reasons to be cheerful though, at least three of them. 

We have defeated Antonio Conte’s team in three of the last four times we have faced them. The problem is though, is that the one defeat from that four was at the Bridge.

So, Arsene Wenger’s choice of tactics will certainly be in focus. Can he muster the team which goes for the jugular from the first whistle? Or will it be the ponderous, plodding Arsenal which are merely reactive rather than proactive?

Wenger at least has a nearly full bill of health in his squad. The only injuries are Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla. In his latest press conference, the Arsenal coach said that Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil should make the team after picking up slight knocks. There will be many changes to his side after defeating FC Koln in the Europa League in midweek however.

The strength of our squad was on show against the Germans on Thursday, but the team which does battle with Chelsea today will most likely closely resemble the team which defeated Bournemouth last weekend.

The only point of consternation is regarding Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez.

Welbeck is this seasons top scorer and even without his goals, his team play and work rate is second to none. Does he deserve to keep his place? Definitely. Will he? Alexis may have something to say about that.

The Chilean’s fight for match sharpness reached new highs so far this campaign against Cologne. His excellent goal showed exactly what he brings to the table, and it may well give him the edge over the England striker. 

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will likely have Eden Hazard available, and the Belgian winger is in line to make his first start of the season. It is the new boys that are really firing the Blues so far though. Zappacosta and Tiemoue Bakayoko are showing great signs of melding into the Italian’s way of thinking, and the blistering form of Alvaro Morata means Laurent Koscielny and co will have their hands full.

No clean sheets in twelve games at the home of the Blues could perhaps be telling too. Petr Cech must relive his former glories, as well as the defence ahead of him really keeping tabs on the Chelsea attackers. The first goal could prove huge, and a clean sheet will go a long way to providing a foundation for a decent result.

It is easy to type, far harder to achieve though. Part of our frustrations is knowing what our team are capable of, but only seeing it come to fruition on very rare occasions. We have lost our only two away games this season, and a loss here could compound our malaise. 

It really is win or bust, and at such an early stage this season that shows how far we have dropped. It won’t mean an end to our hopes, but the mental effect it could have would have far deeper ramifications.

Time to send a message that the reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. 

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac, Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette.

Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal. Forever the optimist.