By Bulldog Drummond
Here’s a nice opening thought just in case you have some nerves about the game today:
When we beat Reading last weekend, that gave us nine wins in a row. That is our best run since the Invincibles won 10 games in a row in 2004. The match that ended that run was on 24 March 2004, and it was Chelsea 1 Arsenal 1 in the quarter finals of the Champions League. Going one better over Chelsea can help us equal that run of 11 years ago.
So can we?
Well, Arsenal have been winning at both half time and full time in their last 8 home matches in the Premier League – which is a fair place to start any analysis. And then if we go on we find that Arsenal have won their last nine home matches in the Premier League – but you probably knew that.
Following on from the comparisons with Chelsea in the last post we can see that Arsenal have scored two or more goals in our last eight home matches in the Premier League.
Of course Chelsea are doing ok-ish. they have won their last five away games in the League and they tend not to let in goals against us – none in the last four winning five of the last six.
Which must mean it soon has to be time for a change. But I still can’t get away from the thought that their aim will be
a) no injuries
b) no sendings off and no cards for anyone who might get a suspension
So they could play for the draw.
But moving on, here’s what we have done against the other top teams this season:
- Man U 1 Arsenal 2 (FA Cup)
- Man C 0 Arsenal 2
- Arsenal 1 Man U 2
- Arsenal 2 Man C 2
- Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0
Given that we only won one of the games played against the ultimate top four last season (which included Liverpool rather than Man U of course) there’s spot of progress here.
Of course a defeat for Arsenal will have the media crowing for Chelsea and knocking Arsenal but we are nothing like the team of last season. And we can still improve.
As I write this, the latest is that Per Mertesacker is a maybe, Mikel Arteta is not yet match fit and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is not ready.
So pretty much the same as we had before the Cup match
Bellerin Koscielny Gabriel Monreal
Ramsey Ozil Sanchez
On the beach we might see the likes of Debuchy, Wilshere, Welbeck Theo, Gibbs, Szczesny, Flamini…
But… we have changed our style a few times this season (Man C in the league match away, Man U in the Cup).
And as everyone has been pointing out over and over we have not won at home against Chelsea since 2010, since when there have a couple of goal-less draws and a 1-2, with that 2-0 in the league cup with a very different line up.
But here’s a thing. Not only have we won the last 11 games in the League and FA Cup we have also got 33 points in 2015, more than anyone else.
Now you may recall that in 2013 we were the most successful team in the league, but failed to win things because of the failures in late 2012 and early 2014. What we really need to do is keep this current run of form going next season. Which means, another big signing in the summer, and holding the squad together.
33 points in 2015 ain’t at all bad.
It is also over a year since we scored in a league match; 0-0 against Man U in Feb 2014 and Olivier Giroud (having had a bit of a break in the cup semi-final has scored 10 goals in his last 12 matches in all competitions.
As for Chelsea the last time they failed to take three points away from home was a 5-3 defeat to the almighty Tottenham Hotspure on January 1 this year.
The one team that has stopped Chelsea scoring this season is Sunderland. Do we want to copy their style? No, perhaps not. The key is to ensure that Chelsea don’t score first – they have done this in all their games this year.
I think we can and I shall be offering advice from my seat in the north bank.
Two anniversaries from today…
26 April 1910 With the original limited Woolwich Arsenal company dissolved on 25 April a new company bearing the same name as the old one came into existence on this. This company still trades today and continues to carry out its business as Arsenal FC.
26 April 2008: Perry Groves was arrested in Colchester and issued a fix penalty notice for a Section 5 public order offence of using abusive and insulting words and behaviour, likely to cause harassment.