Chelsea Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups
After watching Manchester City steal a narrow win over Aston Villa, it was a constant reminder that there was no room for complacency in this league. However, their win has sent them to second place, albeit temporarily, till Manchester United takes on Everton and of course, Arsenal hosting Chelsea in what’s undoubtedly the game of the weekend.
A lot has been said in the build-up to this one with Cesc Fabregas ‘returning home’ and of course, the long-standing rivalry between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. The boss has a very pathetic record against the Portuguese manager (no wins in 12 against Mou) and as expected, the journos decided to remind the boss ‘what he didn’t know’. Arsene Wenger was quick to point out that today’s game isn’t about history, but form,
“We have not always lost, first of all, in 12 attempts. We have come close to beating them a few times and they’ve always had very strong teams. I’m not a great believer in history. I just think football is down to the fact that the performance on the day will decide the game and the result, so let’s focus on that.
“We are on a good run and we have an opportunity to beat them at home, and we want to take it. From a good run of form you get a good belief and we have good solidarity. We know we have passed many tests recently where we were questioned.
“It’s the first time we’ve won away from home against Manchester City [in a while] and other things like that. We have passed many tests and we have another test on Sunday that we want to pass. It is very important for us to beat them. I think everybody on board is highly focused to achieve it. We will prepare well to do that.”
With six games left for both Arsenal and Chelsea, the Gunners would be hoping to cut down the Blues’ 10-point lead to seven as they still harbor slight hopes of gunning for the title. Chelsea has been the most consistent team in the league and if anybody deserves to be on top, it’s them. They have won ugly and I mean, Abdoulaye Faye ugly. Chelsea have kept four clean sheets in their last six clashes with Arsenal, conceding just two goals in total. This essentially means that Jose Mourinho might use the same approach he used last week against Manchester United where he packed an armored tank and caught them on the break.
When both sides met at Stamford Bridge in October, Arsenal failed to have a shot on target for the first time in a Premier League match since September 2003 (Manchester United away). At least, it wasn’t like the 6-0 mauling the Gunners received last season. The Gunners would have to be mindful about the threat Didier Drogba would pose today as the Ivorian has scored eight times in 11 Premier League appearances against Arsenal in his career. Arsenal would also put sentiment aside when they come up against their forgotten son, Cesc Fabregas, as he currently tops the assists charts this season. Cesc Fabregas has a league-high 16 Premier League assists this season. Only Thierry Henry (20 in 2002-03), Frank Lampard (18 in 2004-05) and Fabregas himself (17 in 2007-08) have ever registered more in a single Premier League campaign.
Wenger recently spoke about the fitness of Per Mertesacker and stated that Gabriel can come him for him if he fails a fitness test,
“Last week against Reading, Per Mertesacker got injured and he has not been out [training] since. He’s still in the treatment room and I don’t know if he will be available or not. [He is] 50/50 [to start against Chelsea] at the moment. Apart from Mertesacker, everybody else [from last weekend] should be available. He’s ready [to step up]. He came on in the FA Cup semi-final and I think if Per is not ready, Gabriel will start”
However, he confirmed that Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out of contention and one wonders when they’d make any first team appearance with the season reaching it’s climax.
Arsenal: Per Mertesacker (ankle), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring)
Chelsea: Diego Costa (hamstring), Loic Remy (muscle)
- Last Five Games: W W W W W
- Last Result: Arsenal 2 Reading 1
- Leading Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (22)
- Last Five Games: D W W W W
- Last Result: Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0
- Leading Goalscorer: Diego Costa (20)
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Debuchy, Koscielny, Gabriel, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud
Chelsea (4-2-3-1 ‘Park Le Bus’): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Zouma, Matic; Ramires, Fabregas, Hazard; Drogba
Gooner Daily says 2 – 0 to the Arsenal
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