Preview: Chelsea vs Arsenal
By Randy Osae
October ended with Tottenham, another monthly conclusion forthcomes and this hapless November will receive it’s adieu at Chelsea.
Over the past four weeks, the worst possible of Arsenal’s curses were bared in an excruciating order. Foiling those predicaments were imperious victories. Manchester United comes to mind first in that category, while Carling Cup mastery followed against Wigan.
Apart from those is the reason why Arsene Wenger’s men visit Stamford Bridge with a feeling of been ripped down to bare bones. The mid-week progress against Dynamo Kyiv is just a consoling tonic to the Gunners’ illness. They know that domestically, cool air wouldn’t come to blow against them quicker.
There is an argument on whether storming west London on Sunday really implements an ascendancy as far as Arsenal’s title ambitions are considered – because that wouldn’t be the first time they had staged such a pick-me-up effect.
If anything, Manchester United was the perfect way to do that. Wenger’s men did come out with their heads elated in that encounter, but they failed to do the more important – moving on like that. Ironically, the most sickening of them was what we saw after that sensational result, but maybe all they require this time is another chance.
Twenty-four games are yet to be marked on the calendar in this league campaign. As if Arsenal have some room to spare spoils mathematically, the Gunners can ill afford any more obstacles consequentially – definitely not when Sunday’s opponents have bridged a 10-point gap between them on the table.
It’s essential for Wenger’s crew to return home not empty-handed – that being a maximum gain at least. A point from a stalemate will only be welcomed if Arsenal had to earn it from scratch.
Just like Wenger insisted in his pre-match conference, Arsenal have to use the notion of “anything is possible”. Their recent troubles disable them of any boasting, but doesn’t suggest they have downed spirits ahead of this crucial derby. It’s a matter of believe rather than anything else, because Wenger knows his side are hefty underdogs.
The Gunners apparently have a little lay-off with the absence of blues’ formidable striker Didier Drogba. No other Chelsea player has haunted Arsenal more – even so that his brace is what snatched a victory from Arsenal’s arms in the last meeting.
Drogba will be missing on Sunday due to suspension, it’s a psychological aid to Arsenal, but they know Chelsea has a former north London trainee in their armory. Nicolas Anelka is in the form of his career at Stamford Bridge, and has also been prolific most times he lined-up against Arsenal since leaving in 1999.
But the Gunners also possess their own menace. Falling to the rest is why they are in the current slump, but so often, Arsenal have shown the know how of prevailing over the best. And with the boosting and timely returns of key players; Adebayor, Sagna and Nasri, it’s far from a foregone conclusion for red hot favorites Chelsea.