Chelsea v Arsenal preview: New boys set to tell a different story

I think is fair to call tomorrow’s game against Chelsea the biggest challenge our boys have faced so far this season. In fact, it might just be the biggest challenge they face in the entire season.

It is a huge disappointment that we go into such an important game with such an understrength team. We already knew yesterday that first-team players Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen, Manuel Almunia and Nicklas Bendtner would be missing, but now Kieran Gibbs and crucially, Cesc Fabregas can be added to that list.

The absence of our captain from Stamford Bridge cannot be understated. He is the heartbeat of this side, the player most capable of piercing Chelsea’s armour with a slide-rule pass or a stroke of genius and how the manager deals with his loss will be crucial.

Does he play it safe and pop Denilson in alongside Alex Song? Does he throw Jack Wilshere, arguably our most in-form midfielder, in to get our tempo up? Will Tomas Rosicky or Samir Nasri play in the creative role? These are the questions that will determine whether we get control of the game or allow Chelsea to dictate the pace.

Whoever it is that does get the nod in the midfield will need to ensure they work their socks off to keep things tight. With Chelsea missing Frank Lampard they may be short on some creative inspiration but with Michael Essien and Co in the side they will not be short on midfield steel. Hard work, defensive organisation and good technique in posession will be the only way to win the battle.

With Almunia all but certain to be left out Lukasz Fabianski has a unique opportunity to stake his claim as the first-choice goalkeeper at the club against Chelsea. Just how he has got into this position is baffling but if Fabianski plays well tomorrow, it will be a huge boon for both the player and the club. The Pole had a very solid game against Partizan Belgrade and his penalty save brought joy and relief in equal measure. In a game where supporters have increasingly short-term memories an impressive performance at Stamford Bridge could erase legitimate fears that he is an accident waiting to happen.

I will be interested to see the performances of the three new signings – Laurent Koscielny, Sebastien Squillaci and Marouane Chamakh – in tomorrow’s game. My early impression of these players is that they have the right temperament to perform in this sort of level and will be undaunted by the task at hand. I expect Koscielny in particular to do well and his and Squillaci’s battle with Didier Drogba will be the most fascinating duel in the match.

The French pair will receive support from relative veterans Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy on the flanks while further forward of the midfield Chamakh will be helped by Andrey Arshavin and one of Nasri or Rosicky. As I mentioned earlier the manager’s ability to get the midfield right will be crucial to our chances of getting a win at Stamford Bridge and the setup will have consequences on the team selection further forward.

In years gone by we would go to Stamford Bridge expecting to come away with three points but that will not be the case tomorrow. A win would be wonderful, a superb result giving the league champions brilliant home record, but a draw would be more than sufficient to keep pace with the top and indicate that we are a serious threat this season.

Like everyone else I am extremely excited about tomorrow’s clash. Even despite our injury problems, with so many new players on display we can genuinely expect to see more from our boys than the two dismal showings they put in against Chelsea last season.

Get behind the boys – it should be a beauty!

Have your say on Arsenal’s trip to Chelsea by leaving a comment.

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26 Responses to “Chelsea v Arsenal preview: New boys set to tell a different story”

  1. Bala
    October 2, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Hi Weber,I would like to see Jack and Rosicky in the middle because Jack is in top form and Rosicky is better than Nasri in spraying out passes like Cesc but the problem is,the midfield might become too offensive minded so Denilson might get the nod

  2. Adam Sommer
    October 2, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

    After Tuesday solid performance, I have confidence in Fab… hopefully he has the same confidence in himself, and makes some good decisions. I like Wilshere in the middle, and I think with Cesc out he’s the best option for creativity.

    I hope Nasri can keep the same energy and determination he’s shown in the last few matches. Going by the amount of possession we’ve had in the last couple of matches against Chelsea, I think it’s only a matter of time before Wilshere and Arshavin link up again for a goal.

    Party On!

  3. Zigzag
    October 2, 2010 at 7:16 pm #

    I think it’s going to be a good one. If Fab can handle the nerves he may have a good match too I’m sure. I would go for Wilshire too but it’s a big occasion and hope he can handle it allright. Rosicki to start and Nasri to sub if we need it. Arshavin and Chamakh between themselves should score at least once, surely. It will on depend on our spirit. Can’t wait now. Come on you Gunners!!!

  4. MTY
    October 2, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    song-denilson-wilshere and upfront shava-chamakh-nasri

  5. voley_gun
    October 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    I would prefer Wilshere , Rosicky and Nasri to all feature along with Song.Wilshere and Nasri can contribute defensively and along with Rosicky offensively.With either Rosicky,Wilshere or Nasri are replaced for Denilson . I think our midfield cannot compete without them together and when we are comfortable we can have Eboue more than Denilson for the tired ones and defensive approach.

  6. Ebun
    October 2, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    Hi everyone,
    I’m ebun and i am totally afraid of the team that the manager is going with to chelsea. i said that because there are alots of injuries with our starting players and it is certain they are not going to play.

  7. Mcoloow
    October 2, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    Hello i am mohamad tomoroow arsenal we will win 2 1

  8. Typical Gooner
    October 2, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    Arsenal are the best you will forever be in our shadow. We are ultimate and win unknown trophies in the inter galctic league ( the best league in the universe) we dont win stuff like the milk cup, aresenal are ultimate you only dream you could be like us fabregas is awesome and unstoppable,

    , Typical Gooner

  9. Typical Gooner
    October 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Spurs suck, they will forever dwell in arsenals shadow they won the league in black and white and you can only beat us in the mickey mouse cup. Van Persies the best player in the world and once wilshire gets his fake id hell be the best. we are invincible you will forever be in our shadows.

  10. kel
    October 2, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    I looked at the videos of our last five visit to the bridge and the problem appears to be the tactics.
    I remember very well that cesc had said in the worldcup that wenger does not study the opposition in modern football that is a huge mistake look at the westbrom game.
    I only hope for our sake that wenger has studied chls and their tactic and drilled the players on how to approach this game if he fails to do this we will loose am sure
    I know were missing some key players but that is no excuse for a good performance. We got beat with a strong squad already up there the team fro tomorrow on paper is very experience and has good quality come on guy show me that you have matured this season as wenger boast
    GO ARSENAL

  11. Godwin, Nigeria.
    October 2, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    Hi gunners faithful, tomorow’s clash with chealsea has been creating alot of anxiety among gunners faithfuls with reference to recent records of similar clash. Yes. OBJECTION. Don’t draw any conclusion based on past results yet. Tomorow’s clash with Chealsea will take another dimension. Chealsea will try to maintain the ‘status qou’ while Arsenal will try to redeem their pride of london. The game now will rest on technicality. Theoritically, the Chealsea team looks very much okay in every department of the game. But Arsenal are depleted by injuries such that on paper, one will be tempted to predict a wild margin score line in favour of Chealsea. After the practical test tomorow, the results may upset most bookmakers who have already awarded the victory to Chealsea. Technicality will see Arsenal through. Basically, the battle will be won from the midfield. In the 4-3-3 formation, Sagna-Koscingly-Squillaci-Clichy (defence) Song-Wilshere-Diaby (midfield) Arshavin-Chamach-Nasir (attack). Rosicky will sub Wilshere later in the game and Nasri will take the position of Wilshere in midfield while Rosicky operates from right. If all things being equal, this Arsenal squad will be very naughty. So, no cause for alarm. VICTORIA, CONCORDIAL CRUICITE.

  12. Godwin, Nigeria.
    October 2, 2010 at 11:29 pm #

    Hi gunners faithful, tomorow’s clash with Chealsea has been creating alot of anxiety among gunners faithfuls with reference to recent records of similar clash. Yes. OBJECTION. Don’t draw any conclusion based on past results yet. Tomorow’s clash with Chealsea will take another dimension. Chealsea will try to maintain the ‘status qou’ while Arsenal will try to redeem their pride of london. The game will rest on technicality. Theoritically, the Chealsea team looks very much okay in every department of the game. But Arsenal are depleted by a diverstating spate of injuries such that on paper, one will be tempted to predict a wild margin score line in favour of Chealsea. After the practical test tomorow, the results may upset most bookmakers who have already awarded the victory to Chealsea. Technicality will see Arsenal through. Basically, the battle will be won from the midfield. In the 4-3-3 formation, Sagna-Koscingly-Squillaci-Clichy (defence) Song-Wilshere-Diaby (midfield) Arshavin-Chamack-Nasri (attack). Rosicky will sub Wilshere later in the game and Nasri will take the position of Wilshere in midfield while Rosicky operates from right. If all things being equal, this Arsenal squad will be very naughty. They will conquer from start to finish. So, no cause for alarm. VICTORIA, CONCORDIAL CRUICITE.

  13. Shard
    October 3, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    @kel

    I don’t think that’s what Cesc said. He said Wenger doesn’t focus his team’s preparations based too much on the opposition. That is not the same as saying he doesn’t study their tactics, and to believe that Wenger would be so naive is in fact naive itself. Basically, what he meant and Wenger consistently says is that we have to focus on our strengths and not obsess over the opposition, which in my view is a fair position for a top team to take.

    I’m strangely optimistic about this game. I think we’ve been a bit unlucky at times against Chelsea, or just shot ourselves in the foot. Hopefully this time will be different. We’re due a bit of luck. Only Fabianski scares me.

  14. Hey Nonny Mouse
    October 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    @Godwin – I like your comment. Let’s be positive. We have nothing to lose but 3 points. We can beat these chavs. They’re only innit for the money anyway.

    Up The Gunners!

  15. zen
    October 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    Likely starting line-up for both sides:

    Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Cole, Essien, Ramires, Mikel, Anelka, Drogba, Malouda.

    Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Diaby, Wilshere, Nasri, Chamakh, Arshavin.

    Live stream: http://zenofelea.blogspot.com/

  16. Karl KL
    October 3, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Go Gunners go,show em you are the pride of London

  17. Giddie Nairobi
    October 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    Personally i think we can win this game though Wenger must employ carefully thought tactics. All the best for the arsenal faithful

  18. Manamongst
    October 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    @Godwin I liked your comments too and agree with the alignment. Rosicky’s no longer a 90 minute guy, and Nasri has proved he needs to be out their the entire time…and just has to keep an aggression at attacking mid.

  19. ArsenalTheWengerWay
    October 3, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    This is not sour grapes but if van persie was here….. Lethal. Van persie is a very aggresive forward and thats whats missing in arsnal, arshavin was key today, i really liked he’s play and he’s not afraid to shoot. Cech brilliantly saved most of the shots. Without fabregas Arsenal overplay, too many fancy touches, it irritates me that only arshavin seems to have that killer edge. I’m slowly getting fed up of supporting arsenal, i will always support them but in my heart i know that we won’t win anything without a consistently healthy lethal striker. WE need a bit of individuality, a player who doesn’t just blend into the arsenal pass and move system. A player who can step up and do his own thing. Sometimes i thing arsenal’s system seems to kill individual talent. Thus this is why van persie arshavin and fabregas are the most important players for arsenal. They are different, players that play the arsenal way but impose their own game in matches

    Conclusion: 1, we have a medic staff no better than my youngest brother playing doctor, 2, we are light weight, not in terms of physical but individual threat and 3 i have given up on any titles this year. It’s painful but life’s tough and arsenal isn’t

    Conclusion: 1, We have a medical team no better than my youngest brother playin doctor, 2, we are light weight in terms of individual threat and 3 i have unfortunately given up any hope of winning anything this year. I love arsenal to bits and i’ll keep supporting but i’ll watch the invincibles on youtube. Mark my words, we will win nothing this year, it’s not out of spite but reality hits home in matches like this, even arsene wenger looked absolutely crest fallen.

    Carry on gooners but our kind of football isn’t made to be champions.

  20. MTY
    October 3, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    If there is only one thing that hugely influenced today’s result, it has to be the injuries we are carrying at the moment.
    Personally, I’m more than satisfied by the performance of our team & Fabianski did really well in goal. It will be unfair to demand more from these stand-in players. Yes, we had several chances to bury the game but when you are missing the likes of Cesc, RvP, Walcott & B52, it’s difficult to come out with a win from away trips like this one.
    Last season I thought we were unlucky with the frequent injuries but this season it’s far more worse. Are we eternally cursed? When are we going to be able to face the so-called big teams without major injuries? That’s more frustrating than the loss itself.
    The sight of Squillaci with the arm band & the substitution of Jay Emanuel (who?) tell a lot!!

  21. Lil Weezy
    October 4, 2010 at 3:36 am #

    Not much too say, but it was a very good performance at the Bridge, it took 2 incredible strikes to score on us… and we had open nets and couldnt finish.. Not enough luck today..But to take1 point out of the last 3 matches is certainly not Championship contender..

  22. LAGunner
    October 4, 2010 at 4:40 am #

    Can’t really complain to much about today’s performance. Drogba got a lucky strike and Alex had a great free kick. I can’t really say that anyone had a bad game. I needed some time after the match, but after a few hours, I can’t even really say we would’ve done better with Fabregas, RVP, or Walcott. The team was able to get into the box and create. There was some good play on the wings. I thought Sagna did well. I agree with Wenger…the squad playing now just has to improve in front of goal. I’m still confident the team can win the title this year. We were off the pace last season, then clawed our way back close to the top. The squad can claw back and stay at the top this season.

  23. Hey Nonny Mouse
    October 4, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    I thoroughly enjoyed the game and was happy with our performance. I don’t agree at all with what’s being said in the media about ‘same old Arsenal’. It’s a joke really because if Chamakh or Kosh’s headers had gone in right at the start we may have had a different result and the press would probably be writing ‘Arsenal discover new steel’ – even though we’d have played exactly the same! As far as I could see it was a contrast of two styles (ours much more enjoyable to watch) and their goals went in and ours didn’t. It could well have been the other way. Or,equally as likely, a draw.
    Yes, the Rent Boys have got it over us for now – but it won’t last and we will have our revenge sooner or later. No one outside of their own few supporters likes them. Their players are all wide-headed c*nts. And things can change very quickly in football…
    Up The Arsenal!

  24. Gibbs
    October 4, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    Same old, same old. We usually play well against chelsea and end up on the losing side. Nothing’s changed. We are so predictable and Chelsea will keep pulling our pants down until we are willing to change tactics in certain games.

    We have to learn to be more direct and more clinical. This “pretty football” of ours is pointless. Hell, I dont even think we play pretty football anymore. Passing the ball around with no end product, defending like clowns and conceding silly goals is hardly “beautiful football” now, is it?

  25. billi
    October 4, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    I think they told the same story, or quite similar……….
    cause defensively they looked a bit more solid and not so csared or helples or nervous than before, but in front of goal it was the same, maybe it is just fortune which is lacking but I’m not sure, I thought several times why did he this and not go for the goal, too complicated in front of goal or too hopeless,
    but I can’t say that it was ‘conceding silly goals’, the goals from Chelsea were superb, inevitable in my opinion, at least no silly mistakes goals, not at all,
    but on the other side, Arsenal couldn’t make the easiest goals, that was the difference … šŸ˜Ž and not the first time, but how to infiltrate the killer-instinct, you have it or you have not šŸ˜Ž

  26. Terry
    October 4, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Bugger.

    Two freakish goals against and we couldn’t put our chances away. Overall the performance was heaps better than our last few games against Chelski but let’s be honest, we were lucky not to concede one or two more after we went two down and were chasing the game. Squillaci had a nightmare. Overall there were a few positives – Wilshire and Nasri especially, plus I thought Sagna had a great game. Fabianski looked pretty safe but Arshavin was frustrating. Nearly scored with a fantastic shot but I counted about five or six times that he coughed up possession easily. Chamakh was pretty anonymous I thought for long periods but on another day could have had two goals. We really need Fabregas, RvP, Vermeulen and Walcott back. Might have been a very different game.

    I am mightily sick of Drogba though!

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