The XI: Chelsea vs Arsenal
Fabregas is ’50:50′ to join Vermaelen, Van Persie, Walcott, Bendtner, Ramsey and perhaps Almunia among the absentees, but Diaby is fit again.
Believe me, I am not on that Fabiasnki bandwagon which is inferring that the Pole’s penalty save on Tuesday has boosted his confidence and goalkeeping ability from 0% to 100% and thus, he should start on Sunday.
No matter how poor Almunia is, Fabiasnki is less reliable on evidence of most of his stand-in performances in goal. Almunia can punch a few corners here and there while flapping some too but Fabianski just flaps them all. Even so, Fabianski is the goalkeeper up there in the line-up because Almunia – whether due to his supposed injury or self esteem – is very unlikely to even be at Stamford Bridge during the game. So I guess Fabianski takes the nod…a ‘make or break’ one for me, perhaps.
Gael Clichy’s role as first choice left-back was brought to the jury before the season started and as last Saturday’s display showed (inattentive on West Brom’s first goal and easily beaten during their second), his case over Gibbs has not improved.
In fact, Gibbs’ show of grit and guts at Partizan was nearly enough to say the English man is richer in confidence and physical ability at the moment. And also, apart from taking his time to curl in better crosses, Kierran actually enters the penalty box and doesn’t just race towards the corner flag and punt in the ball like Clichy does.
In another department, Koscielny does need his test against Drogba while I just do not feel Wilshere, upon all his courage, is really ready for a game of this magnitude away from home (Anfield showed).
While they hardly performed in the West Brom match, I feel if Sagna and Eboue put their big game boots on, their flank partnership on the right could help sustain the likes of Cole and Malouda at least.
Nasri should take Fabregas’ role like he did against Porto at home last year while Rosicky – who can track back better than Arshavin – should be deployed on the left-wing. And for the Russian, his consistency is always a concern. He is simply hot and cold. But if misplacing passes and carelessly losing possession is the cost of a brilliant strike from Arshavin, then so be it.