Still finding it very difficult to separate the Watford result with Saturday’s clash with Chelsea, I just hope the players are not harping on about Tuesday’s result and display the way I am.
This is pretty much judgement day when it comes to any hopes of lifting the Premier League title. Lose the game today and the gap between Arsenal and Chelsea will be 12 points, that will be pretty much insurmountable. Beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the lead is cut down to 6 which would still be extremely difficult given some of the away fixtures we have left this season but you just never know. I'd love to know what BettingExpert's review makes of all of this, I'm sure Chelsea are the clear favourites though.
Victory against the side top of the league could inject this side with some unshakable confidence and you know what Arsene’s teams are like with a big fat dose of super belief. Yeah not the complacency stuff by the way, I mean the stuff that the invincibles had by the bucket load. If we are to win the league then we will need to also rack up points at places like Anfield, White Hart Lane etc.
This is all best case scenario stuff of course, the chances of everything going our way is very, very slim at this stage but if you don’t have hope then what is the point? Call me deluded but I’d rather cling onto hope until the fat lady warms up her vocal cords.
Aaron Ramsey is out through injury once again which is a damn shame as he had been finding his groove over the last few weeks. When we have Granit Xhaka missing through suspension also it leaves us very short in the middle of the pitch. It is going to be a huge ask from whoever is tasked to play there as Kante has been arguably Chelsea’s best player this season, well at least in the top three players. They will use their wing backs to try and outnumber us so our midfielders will need some help from our wide forwards.
This is why I expect Alex Iwobi to start on the left of our attack, we will need him to drop into the midfield area and give us an extra body and extra passing angle in that midfield area.
I would be very surprised if Arsene does not start Alexis as our centre forward flanked by Iwobi and one of Walcott or Welbeck. I thought Arsene was saving Danny for the Bridge but I now wonder if he will be cautious and use him from the bench later on in the game, but if we are thinking of playing on the front foot and pressing Chelsea much in the way we did at the Emirates then Danny Welbeck would have been perfect for that alongside Alexis. It’s a decision the boss will have to weigh up.
Another option mentioned on the post Watford podcast is to play Mesut Ozil in a wide right position giving us additional strength in the middle of the pitch. Ainsley Maitland-Niles may lack experience at this level but he is a battler and looks like he is a good passer of the ball.
Predicted Line Up:
We are going to have to play to the level we produced at the Emirates against this lot earlier this season if we are to get the win we need. Chelsea have been very tough to break down but we know we can hurt them if we play with high intensity from the very beginning and not taking the first 25 minutes off as we did on Tuesday night. *Sigh*
I want us to come out swinging, no messing around. We have to take this as a one off 90 minute game and think no further beyond that. Let's pass the ball at speed, move around the pitch, shut them down quickly and bite into tackles. Let's turn it into a straight shoot out and want it more than they do. No more second guessing ourselves, no more hiding in big games. Let's leave it all out there on the pitch this afternoon.
Diego Costa is going to want to get revenge against Koscielny and Mustafi after the treatment he received in North London so we will need big performances from our centre backs. Oxlade-Chamberlain will have to produce the game of his life in the middle of the pitch, it is a position he wants to play in so this is a chance he simply has to take.
We’ve been here a few times before ladies and gents and it’s often been pretty awful, especially away from home so it’s tough to escape that concern and fear, but at some point our poor away form against our rivals will have to change.
If we are to remain in this season’s title race then we will have to leave the pitch at full time with three points under our belts.