It is Super Sunday in the Premier League as two London heavy weights clash. The historical king of London Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge to play their western neighbours Chelsea. The last time the Gunners visited the Bridge which also coincided with Wenger’s 1000th game in charge at Arsenal, it was one to forget as they were annihilated 6-0. Wenger has admitted he is still hurt by the humiliation and would look to avenge it today while Mourinho has admitted the scoreline is one that happens once in a generation.
Another 6-0 whitewash might not be in the offing but certainly 3 points is up for grabs and both teams will be jostling to pick it. 3 points for Chelsea would consolidate their place at the summit of the Premier League table while 3 points for their Northern neighbours would take the Gunners closer to them and cut their lead to just 3 points.
Most importantly, it would give Wenger his very first win over the Portuguese. In the previous 11 attempts, Wenger is yet to beat Mourinho and I know the Frenchman would be keen to end the hoodoo. It is easier said than done. Mourinho won’t want to lose and certainly not at home but that doesn’t make the task impossible. For it to happen, some things must be done.
Arsenal must take their chances. Wenger would look back at the last clash with some regrets. The first good chance of the game fell to Arsenal but when Giroud’s tame effort was saved by Cech, Chelsea countered and Eto’o scored. This time around, Arsenal must go out to take the chances that fall to them. If they take the lead, Chelsea might struggle to contain them because the Gunners could resort to absorbing their pressure and hitting them with swift counter. With Chamberlain, Welbeck, Sanchez and Ozil behind them, that shouldn’t be so difficult to do.
Welbeck should stay close to Terry. Chelsea might look a strong team but they are not without their frailties. They are like a giant standing on the feet of clay. Despite their intimidating attack and strong midfield, their defence is weak. Terry might be captain but not the player he used to be. He is now slow and against a pacy attacker like Welbeck and Sanchez, he will struggle. The last time out, Arsenal had Giroud who pace wasn’t his mantra but today, the Gunners have Welbeck, a striker with blistering pace.
Dealing with Costa. Without doubt, he is the most in-form striker in the Premier League and if Arsenal hope to get anything out of the game, they must silence Costa. The defence must be on their toes while plans should be made to rattle Costa. The Brazilian cum Spanish international has a weakness and it is that he gets frustrated and angry easily. If he is rattled enough, he could get physical and hit the player. That could get him sent off and affect Chelsea’s plans.
The issue of Fabregas. Since leaving Arsenal, this is the first time the Spaniard would be lining up against Arsenal. No room for sentiments. Fabregas is no longer a friend but now a foe and must be treated as such. If Fabregas could be silenced, Chelsea’s flowing game would be hugely disrupted.
Finally, Wenger needs to get his selection right. No thanks to injuries, there is no choice in some positions (Rb, and DM) but in the attack, he must get it right. Ozil must not be played on the wings because he would leave Gibbs exposed. We need Sanchez who can run and track back to help out Gibbs. In the midfield in the absence of Arteta and Ramsey, I suggest Diaby (if he is fit enough) for his physical presence to match Matic and Flamini. Let Wilshere and Cazorla come off the bench to run at tiring legs.
Despite a injury ravaged team, there might be no better time for Wenger’s Arsenal to beat Chelsea’s Mourinho. I see upset on the cards.