On Monday, 23rd December Chelsea play their biggest game of their season yet as they visit Emirates to take on Arsenal, it’s the clash of the top 2 of the BPL separated by just 2 points. Both the teams will be looking to get back to winning ways, Arsenal after their drubbing at the Etihad and Chelsea for their defeat in the Capital One Cup.
Arsenal will be looking to extend the gap to 5 points while Chelsea would be looking to be on top of the league table at Christmas and going into the festive period. It is often said that the team on top at Christmas goes on to win the league, however the last time Arsenal was on top at Christmas they didn’t win it. A LOT is at stake in this one. A win here will set the tone for the festive season with the fixtures coming thick and fast.
Chelsea in the last 6 league games have picked up 4 wins, a draw against West Brom at home and a defeat away to Stoke City making a total of 13 points from the possible 18 available.
Arsenal have picked up 3 wins in their last six games with 2 defeats to the Manchester clubs, a 1-nil defeat at Old Trafford and a 6-3 thrashing at the Emirates last week.
Arsenal who are at home for this fixture have been near perfection picking up 5 wins in their last 6 games. The only game they didn’t win was a 1-1 draw against Everton. Chelsea’s away form is a worry with the Blues losing 2 and winning 3 on the road in the last 6 games.
Arsenal will be missing Jack Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny are the players missing for their bans and injuries respectively, and leaves no excuse to the Blues as Koscielny missing in the defense for Arsenal will be a massive blow.
For Arsenal Podolski will be back but it’s highly unlikely that he will start. Theo Walcott will be in the mix though as the player returned from injury recently and scored 2 for Arsenal against Manchester City.
Chelsea after having lost to Sunderland in the Capital One Cup after Jose made 8 changes to the side. Although we had players who played 120 minutes but most of expected starters didn’t feature.
Jose before the game against Sunderland talked about the busy schedule and the necessity of using the full squad. he said:
“We think a very difficult period is waiting. We have to save players and prepare the others for what is coming.”
Ivanovic will be back from his 1 game suspension and Terry will definitely start against Arsenal after his well deserved rest against Sunderland. Torres will be expected to start after the failure of Ba and Eto’o in front of goal against Sunderland.
Hazard and Oscar will be expected to start and a spot for Willian or Schurrle or Mata in attacking trio? Only Jose knows. My pick would be Willian for his recent performances. The Brazilian is beginning to enjoy his stay at Chelsea and would be quite a handful against Arsenal.
Chelsea are struggling for goals from the strikers they got. Torres, Eto’o or Ba, Chelsea really haven’t been able to get one striker scoring freely and that’s a massive worry for us. The 3 strikers have combined for a total of 5 league goals so far this season. Let’s face it, Chelsea’s first choice striker won’t even be the 2nd choice striker for our rivals. Still we are 2nd with a chance to go on top on Monday. Not bad if you ask me but this has to end and Chelsea need to be in the market for the striker.
Chelsea is heavily relying on goals from the creating trio behind the striker and there are days when Hazard or Oscar won’t score and we struggle to finish teams off. Defensively we have been a worry as well and the defense need a shakeup. Only Terry has been the bright spot in the defense so far this season. Cahill and Luiz have not really given good performances.
Chelsea has been really vulnerable on the dead ball opportunities and Giroud and Mertesacker would be well aware of that. Chelsea will have to be on top on Monday if they are to take anything from this game.
The Rivalry: Jose vs Wenger
The rivalry between the two London teams is huge and with Jose’s return to the BPL the rivalry just got an added spice of another battle between Wenger and Mourinho. Wenger has not been able to beat Jose’s team in his previous nine attempts. There is no love lost between the two managers but when they clash on the field there is only one who comes out on top, the most recent one coming in the Capital One Cup, a 2-0 win at the Emirates. Surely Wenger will be looking to make it tenth time lucky.
Chelsea have a great record at the Emirates as the Blues have only lost one of their last seven trips to the Emirates and the corresponding fixture last term ended in a 2-1 win for Chelsea courtesy goals from Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.
League leaders Arsenal are slight favourites for Monday night’s encounter, with Paddy Power offering the Gunners at 7/5.
Chelsea are at 2/1, with the draw available at 23/10 with the same bookmakers as well.
What do you think will be result of this one? I am going for a 2-1 win for Chelsea, i have this feeling, we always show up against Arsenal. Arsenal taking the game to us might just be ideal for us to play our brand of football.