Feb 062010

So far, not so good. Two games into the crucial run and we’ve drawn at Villa (itself not a bad result) before losing poorly at home to United. According to the press, we’ve gone from genuine contenders to also-rans in the same short period.

Of course, it is never that simple. A win at Stamford Bridge would leave us with four points from three incredibly difficult games, the same as Chelsea despite their corresponding fixtures being Burnley and Hull. Moreover, we would be just three points behind them with by far the easiest run in.

The doubt stems from a general skepticism that we are capable of getting the result we need tomorrow. Some claim victory to be that requirement, but I remained unconvinced. If you offered a draw right now, I’d take it – a six point deficit is retrievable when you consider the remaining fixtures. Liverpool’s visit to the Grove is our last match against the Big Four, while Chelsea still have to go to Anfield and Old Trafford, not to mention playing the rest of the top six. Points will be dropped.

Preparation has been good – Nasri, Bendtner, Walcott and the entire back line have had extra days to recover from a variety of niggles, while Chelsea played an extra game – a hard fought draw at Hull. Wenger will have instilled the importance of the match in the minds of the players, so if we see the sort of lazy running that Denilson displayed last weekend, then serious questions will have to be asked. I suspect they will come out as they did in the second half at Anfield. Let’s hope so.

There are still question marks over Diaby and Bendtner, two individuals closing in onfull fitness. The latter will almost inevitably start on the bench, while the former faces a fitness test later. Either would add a great deal of physical presence, and much needed variety. Bendtner is particularly important, as his presence also frees Arshavin to roam.

The bookies don’t give us a chance, and the odds reflect that – they are either insulting or appealing depending on your point of view. Last season we went into this fixture on comfortably worse form than we are currently displaying, and came away with a 2-1 victory. Sportingbet are offering a remarkable 14/1 on that result being repeated this time around, odds I simply can’t refuse, so that is the bet of the match. They also offer 9/1 on Cesc scoring the opening goal, a feat he has managed in a number of our recent victories. I’m taking that too.

Much has been said in the last few days about the lack of signings, the injuries and the loss to United last weekend. We could reflect on all of that, but what would be the point? If we are knocked out of the race, then we can analyse the mistakes made. Until that day, look forward. Our next three games are Chelsea, Liverpool and Porto – why would you want to concentrate on anything else?

Twenty four hours to go, and it feels like crunch time. I’m looking forward to it – are you?

  12 Responses to “Chelsea preview – a win would be invaluable, a draw useful”

  1. For over 75 years, I recall that Arsenal have consistently won matches they were certain to lose. AND VICE VERSA. To support the Club, therefore, is not for the fainthearted. If fit, the key tomorrow, in my view, could well be Diaby with his power and unpredictability.

  2. we,ll get hammered . our lot are a team of bottlers. these players have a history of it. why should it change tomorrow.i have no confidence in this squad apart from 2 or 3 players. a rebuild job with a new manager js needed

  3. U know what i av a feeling we are goin to win dis one. 2-0 to d arsenal.Though it maybe odd.But watch and see .Diaby is man of d match.

  4. Nicky – I agree entirely. We were supposed to get hammered in this fixture last season, soon after we were supposed to wallop Hull at home. Football is strange.

    hh, save the post mortems unless we’re out of the running?

  5. its only hopes and dreams. . . . the truth is we will still lose tomorrow and be nine points off. . . .don’t get me wrong, i would love for us to beat chelsea but we always get disappointed. so i’ll settle for third place and another trophy-less season. . . .there’s always next season to win the LEAGUE right.

    cheers. . . . .

  6. I would put a large notice on the wall of the Arsenal dressing room tomorrow, reading

  7. football is a strange game and you never know. To be honest i am divided on this. my heart wishes for a vital win but in reality i would say it would finish 2-2. It would not be a bad result considering everything. One thing is however certain tommorrow, we have to play much better than last week. one other thing , a defeat tommorrow will throw us back in the fighting for champions league places and we certainly do not want that, considering that liverpool, (whom we meet next wed) are regaining form.

  8. i wont start dreaming bcos we have no chance of winning this game.how can you expect strikeless arsenal to beat strikefull powerfull chelsea side. yes, football is strange but not strange at all time. we have little chance and i will say a draw will be a fantastic acheivement in this season performances. no faith.

  9. The important thing is not to panic after we get convincingly thumped by Chelsea and hopefully sneak a draw against Liverpool as if we bully all the other teams that we play after this we’ll still have a chance to nick the title. We’ll just have to play on through. I’m placated a little if it is true to know that at least we attempted to sign Sorensen although David James was available and is at least as good a keeper relative to Almunia. Nothing we can do now except to ensure we score at least 3 goals for each of the rest of our remaining games after Chelsea and Liverpool to allow for the 2 howlers Almunia will commit per game that lead to easy goals.

  10. We have a slight chance if that so call football name Denilson doesn’t play.

  11. I’m gunning for a win tonight. C’mon you Gunners, do us proud. We are behind you lads..


  12. i need candid,we dont hav d team dat can beat dis chelsea team.d best result we can get is a draw.so dont expect a win pls.but anything can happen in d game of soccer.God bless fab&vermilator.keep d faith.UP GUNNERS.

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