|Chelsea vs Arsenal – Arsenal tactical analysis
Probable Lineup – Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Vito Mannone, Kieran Gibbs, Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker, Carl Jenkinson, Lukas Podolski, Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Santiago Cazorla, Olivier Giroud
Arsenal have a strong defense which looks rather strange as they are used to having defensive vulnerabilities. They have conceded the least number of goals in the Premier League along with Chelsea. The only weak point of the Arsenal defense are their flanks. Crosses are very common at the Arsenal box and they just keep coming in; but thanks to Mertesacker most of these corners are well dealt with.
The fullbacks are not really that good despite Jenkinson showing great amounts of improvement in his play. If Hazard, Mata, Oscar and Ramires are to start, then expect the fullbacks to face huge amounts of pressure throughout the game and they’ll hopefully succumb to it.
Koscielny might be chosen as Vermaelen has become used to moving up the pitch. Chelsea can exploit this area and if Arsene Wenger does chose Koscielny over Mertesacker, he has someone who can cover the space left. Mertesacker also lacks pace which gives Wenger another reason to pick the French defender.
The Arsenal midfield has been left largely unaffected with the loss of Song to Barcelona due to Wenger making smart decisions of pairing Diaby and Arteta to provide good cover for the back four. Arteta has brilliant defensive qualitites, despite being a deep lying playmaker.
Diaby on the other hand uses his strength to stop threatening attacks. Ramires can use his pace against him and draw quite a lot of fouls in the middle of the pitch.
Podolski and Ramsey are probably the most flexible players on the pitch. Despite their obvious contributions to attack, they track back in time to give in their share of defensive duties
The Arsenal attack is the most dangerous area that Chelsea have to be wary of. Santi Cazorla is arguably one of the best signings in the English Premier League , adding much needed quality to the Arsenal attacking third.
Cazorla has the habit of drifting a lot to the left where he finds Podloski with clever passes. The Spanish- German combination has worked brilliantly for the Gunners and Terry and Ivanovic (if they’re to start) will have to keep up their high levels of concentration to stop anything that threatens Petr Cech’s goal.
Keiran Gibbs will be ever-present on the left wing and by putting in Ramires in right midfield behingd Ivanovic, Di Matteo can ensure that the Arsenal left flank is well guarded whereas Jenkinson is much more reserved on the right.
If Giroud is to start he can be pretty dangerous with his all-rounder abilities. Arsene Wenger might even start Gervinho in a false 9 position, freeing acres of space for Podloski and Cazorla to exploit.
Mikel will play a very important role in breaking up attacks as Robin Van Persie and Theo Walcott exploited spaces between the defenders at the Bridge last year.
So what will Chelsea have to do to stop them?
In my opinion, this formation should be heavily considered by Roberto Di Matteo to stop Arsenal.
Cole and Ivanovic will be a integral part of our attack. Personally, I would prefer Cesar, as he is much more attack minded but with Ivanovic’s physicality , Di Matteo might opt him.
Mikel and Lampard can be chosen due to Ramires shifting to right. Mikel will be very important and hopefully he can cope up with the pressure. Lampard will probably be given the task of denying Cazorla any kind of space with which we can literally close Arsenal’s attack in the center.
Ramires starting on the right wing has left almost everyone, including me, baffled. He offered nothing there and made an instant impact while starting in the center against Stoke City. But against Arsenal, he HAS to start on the right. He provides brilliant defensive cover for the center midfielders, stops major attacks from the right flank and can use his pace brilliantly against the defenders.
Hazard and Mata, will have to try to open up Torres, who will be having a tough afternoon but with proper patience anything can happen.
A big day for John Terry is arriving. Stick with him, show him your love and sing “There is only one England captain ! “
Sherry Philips (@bluebloodSherry)