Arsenal v Chelsea: the teams and things

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.

P W D L F A Pts
Chelsea 5 2 3 0 6 3 9
Man U 5 2 1 2 7 6 7
Man C 6 1 3 2 7 10 6
Arsenal 4 1 1 2 5 6 4


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

Cazorla Coquelin

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.


137 Replies to “Arsenal v Chelsea: the teams and things”

  1. Yes, this is it.
    The match to end that so called miserable run against the “top” teams.
    We’ve still beat Chel$ more time than they beat us and it’s time to improve that stat again.

    Come on Arsenal.

  2. “we are nothing like the team of last season”.
    As the two Manchester clubs and Liverpool have already discovered.
    Today, it will be Chelsea’s turn to be afraid. 😉

  3. ‘I score and I win’, ‘And another thing -you score and you don’t know if you win’

    That was Mourinho outlining, to Maradona a few years ago, with pride what he aims for with his teams. He’ll go to extreme lengths in his pursuit of that ideal and he does a good job of achieving it.

    We need that first goal.

    It will probably be an ugly game -they’ll try their best,anyway. I’m not sure they’ll risk a challenge as bad as Cahill’s ,early on in an away game and without atkinson, but they might do, with Sanchez again the most likely target. Ozil will be roughed up a little, Giroud a lot, and they seem sure to go to great lengths to get Coquelin booked. Coquelin in fact may be the main target for both sides of their cheating- the playacting and the strong fouls.

    We should prepare ourselves for Mourinho at his worst today. It would be irrational to think we’re sure to triumph over that, but there’s also a distinct possibility we can, and some chance we can do it in style.

    We are basically playing a superior version of last week’s Reading, and will therefore have to raise our game accordingly. The defensive organisation will be better, the counter attacks deadlier, the dirt dirtier and more evolved. Once more a lot seems to hinge on the refereeing of the game

    Tension, nerves, hope

  4. i CAN TAKE 1-0 TO THE Arsenal right now, in whatever form. I would really love it if we score an offside goal in the last minute, just to see how Mourinho looks at the post-match conference!

  5. Yep, I’ll take 1 nil to the Arsenal (with the extra bonus of thugs Cahill or Ramires being sent off.) COYG!!!

  6. Can’t see it being anything other than a close, dull match with us just getting the edge with a single goal win.
    Too bad about Villa yesterday. I watched the MOTD stuff today and thought they were done over, but Tim was quite restained in his post match assessment.

  7. Chelsea are going to play today like they did last season at Anfield. I don’t think that is an astute observation by the way because that is how they play all their games against top oppositions and even mediocre ones. BUT they will be more defensive than they’ve ever been today. I think that record of never losing to an Arsene Wenger team is SO important to Mourhino that he will go ultra defensive in this game. Chelsea needs nothing from this game other than ensuring Arsenal gets nothing. Chelsea have a much easier and straight forward objective today: DO NOT LET ARSENAL SCORE! They are also favoured to achieve this aim because….well, that is what they do and they are very good at it.

    In terms of achieving set objective, I must say – with a lot of pain – that it is advantage Chelsea.

    Now, unto my beloved Arsenal.

    There is nothing that I will love more than for us to beat Chelsea in the most humiliating fashion BUT my hope is that we go into this game with pragmatism. Our only objective now should be to finish as high up the table as possible and 2nd is clearly ours to get if we don’t screw it up. Even if we win today against Chelsea and reduce the gap to 7 points, it is still highly unlikely that we will win the league (apologies for my pessimism) so why not set an objective for the match that will enable us to not miss out on the 2nd spot?

    This game is very similar to Liverpool V Chelsea of last season at Anfield. Neither team needed a win. Chelsea were out of it while Liverpool only needed a draw. Like Arsenal, the home team today, they were on a fantastic run. Everybody expected them to win based on their form, so instead of playing for the draw they needed, they went for a win. The rest is history.

    I hope we don’t do this today. While I will be over the moon if we win, I hope we set out sights a little lower and not go all out for a win. I hope that we play today like we did against Man City at the Etihad: keep things tight at our end and take our chances when they come on the other end. At the end of the day, a draw is not a bad result for us in the grand scheme of things. A draw will make us joint second on points with a game in hand. I will take it.

    In conclusion, I understand why Arsenal fans, especially us AKBs, desperately want Arsenal to win today (there is nothing I will like more than this) BUT there will be other games in future so no need to see this as a do or die vengeance affair.

    Having said all these:


  8. My dream would come true if we beat Chelsea 3:0 with Arsene leaving the bench two minutes before the final whistle. When the press ask him why he’d left the bench before the end, Arsene would reply: “Oh, I just went out to inform Mourinho’s wife about the final score” and raise his eyebrow with Devil-esque smile on his face. 🙂

    (Yes, yes, I know, Arsene is a gent unlike his counterpart but come on, wouldn’t that be funny?)

  9. Bootoomee

    Very interesting post, not only because I find your sentiments so easy to agree with but because they lead naturally to the proper way to evaluate Mourinho and defensive football itself : he is a parasite, and defensive football, as the core of your philosophy, is parasitic.

    Mourinho has been able to make his fantastic living in the game, with all the prizes and acclaim, purely because there still exist some coaches who refuse to succumb to utter negativity. If there had always been only Mourinhos, football would have struggled to take off as a sport, and it would have occurred to no-one to think of it as the beautiful game. If there were only Mourinhos now, the game would quickly descend to crisis. We got a little insight into Mourinho vs Mourinho in the At Madrid Chelsea 1st leg last year. It is an abysmal spectacle that people can only tolerate so much of.

    Anyway, those are the facts for me, though people will always deny them by pointing to the number of total goals Chelsea, or madrid in their time, were able to score- ignoring the fact pragmatism and cynicism plus vast wealth allows you to buy some great attackers and blast in a lot of goals against the majority of teams.

    The question of today,though, is what relevance does any of that have for the task at hand- how to play against them?

    Your way is very tempting, though it will result in some jarring sights (watching At Madrid in recent weeks there has been the odd sensation that they are almost literally held back, as though by strings, once they got into the opposition half. The word handbrake formed in my mind countless times.), but it is not for that reason I question if it is ultimately the right thing to do: if we attempt to beat them at their own game, or even to draw with them at their own game, isn’t the danger that they will be much better at it than us?

    For us it will involve at the least a fairly radical alteration of our normal instincts, worked at over years and years; for them it involves only digging deep into their core principles and patterns.

    I think we need plenty of caution, a lot of intelligence, but also a willingness to commit at times and try to show the world not everyone is willing to be a parasite and that parasitic football has its limitations too.

  10. Rich,

    Our points are quite similar. See my reference to the Man City game at the Etihad.

    Arsene Wenger’s teams always attack. Of course we are going to attack. There is no way in hell this Arsenal team will just sit back for 90 minutes and I never advocated that. I use the word pragmatism because too many Gooners really want us to win this game and so do I. But I pause at branding it a must win game because every time we go into games with a mentality like this, we always screw up, especially against team with strong defensive credentials. If we were less desperate to beat Monaco at the Emirates, we might still be in the CL now. If Liverpool were less desperate to beat Chelsea last season, they might the current league champions.

    We don’t have a desperate need to win this game so I think we should play with caution. If we take our chances, many of which I am sure we’ll create, we have what it takes to still win the game without expending too much resources in attack at the expense of our defence. Caution and pragmatism should be the watchword.

  11. And hoping for a great game of football ( all from us ,of course !), 3 points , a clean sheet and no injuries .
    Come on guys, do us proud ! 2-0 to the Arsenal .
    Up the Gunners !

  12. Some great posts. A degree of caution will certainly be needed, as well as a degree of patience. Think they have learned not to be too gung-ho, and our current personnel and ways of playing and preparing give us reason to believe they will not do anything too kamikaze.
    But that said, we will get chances, we will have to be efficient with them. Unlikely , but if we find ourselves in the position spurs did with them, we should turn the screws…..but not burn out the team like spurs appeared to against us and Chelsea.
    But agree, this is a very nice to win game, but not a must win game. If we don’t win, the aaa will turn up on here on and join the media on a Jose love in , but the sky won’t fall in.
    That said, Still think if we are at our best……and most disciplined and prepared, we are not mugged by the ref, we can win this game. They will raise their game because it is us, but they have been pretty poor lately relying on horrendous keeper mistakes to get wins against lesser sides, let’s not add to these punished errors

  13. I wonder if Chel$ will attack, probably in their minds they have won PL already, and nothing to lose? Would love that, but can’t see it really, still we have to be prepared for that too.

    Eve 1 – Manu 0

  14. Can see after your second post our opinions on this are closer than I thought. Near exact as it goes.

    I can also see I should probably have picked up on this from the first post!

    Yep, it appears I fell victim to the old compulsion to get commenting as quickly as possible.

    Your mention of the term ‘must win’ is the key. It’s quite a fine distinction between ‘really really wanting to win’ and ‘must win’, and yet the difference is fairly massive.

    The players will never have a finer example of the importance of making those distinctions, and attempting to play accordingly, than those moments just after the Ox made it 2-1 against Monaco. Ouch!

  15. We have 2 teams playing today, the ladies are kicking off at the moment. Whoever is taking pictures of the gamesheet for the starting roster got it lined up today. Hopefully Sunderland and Chelsea go down to defeat today.


  16. Weird one here from the Ev- Utd game folks, and perhaps one for those who believe it’s not just us cranks who read the blog.

    About a week ago I did a little digging into Andre Marriner after someone had mentioned his name on here. A weird fact soon emerged- he had not reffed Utd since Dec 2013. Not once so far this year, not once in second half of last year. I suggested it looked as though he was being kept away from them, and mentioned his unusual track record of having overseen defeats for Utd in 3 or the previous 4 games he’d been in charge. Eye catching
    Anyway, the ref for today’s Utd game- Andre Marriner. That’s a huge coincidence if the appointment was made before my original post on the matter. If afterwards, well, I’ll have to adjust my scepticism levels a little.

    Ha, look who’s losing again. 4 out of 5, Marriner- it might be another year till you get them again

  17. @rich

    He actually gave Fellani a yellow, a well deserved yellow for all the tackles he’s been getting away with.
    Everton are playing calm and good. Utd look like headless chickens at times.

  18. So Mou’s mind games again. Injured strikers? They are all going to play i’ll bet.

  19. Just imagine Alexis compounding that one man team jibe by scoring a hattrick ! Will not be complaining though !

  20. Ospina
    Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
    Cazorla, Ramsey, Özil, Sánchez

    Substitutes: Szczesny, Debuchy, Gibbs, Wilshere, Walcott, Flamini, Welbeck


  21. Thanks for the preview, and to andrew for the preview on the officals.

    The hyenas and donkeys have been braying eulogies for Gazprom and the coach who has no respect in Fooball from the early season, and we might not see any tilting of the sort that allowed Ramires to stomp on Coquelin without the blatant foul being called, a goal for Revie’s heirs and an injury that ended Coquelin’s last go in the first team – an incident studiously ignored by those claiming Coquelin is a total fluke – staggering degrees of confirmation bias and avoidance of the uncalled stomping and clogging that other teams are not subjected to which as an un ignorable impact upon the pitch which is beholden upon supporters to comment

    Sorry Nicky but that is the Game! 🙂 when a hundred cap World Cup winning player who has played in various leagues reacts like he was taken out on purpose in an FA Cup semi final it’s because he was taken out by a foul that obviously targeted the man and not the ball, the frequency of these incidents compared to other top English teams is at the very least, it is quite remarkable.

  22. After this result, you may be right Rich…..after all, Fergie has not completely gone away!

  23. Thnx Gord.

    Mou is planning something hoping to suprise us, but we will win.

    Glad manu lost, i hate them more than Spuds. 🙂

  24. How to go Everton! Southampton is only 8 points behind ManU, and close in goal difference. Can ManU drop 8 points in 4 games?


  25. 61 minutes, Sunderland make another substitution. Arsenal getting in lots of shots. Still 1-1.


  26. Boo said it all @Bootoomee
    April 26, 2015 at 11:38 am

    I just hope for a reasonable protection by the referee.

  27. 71 Kelly Smith brought down in box, Sunderland player dismissed. Natalia converts penalty at 73 minutes. 2-1 Arsenal.

    What’s a Paulista? 🙂 Nothing mentioned on page about Gabriel.


  28. Some great insightful posts from Bootoomee today, as well as the usual suspects 🙂

    Well done Everton, can relax now as we don’t really have to win this one now.

  29. Hahaha…. Jose won’t tell who will play center forward. Of course…. Cos no one is. hahahahahahahaha.

    @gord. Just saw the update. We lead with Natila penalty.

  30. 75 Kelly Smith was injured in the penalty incident, and was subbed off. Humphrey scores at 77 minutes. 3-1 Arsenal.


  31. It’s raining goals in BorehamWood! Carter scores to make it 4-1 Arsenal. 85 minutes?


  32. Full time, 45+3 played in 2nd half. Extra thanks to the 815 who attended. 4-1 to the Gunners!


  33. Commentators are a joke….

    “Chelsea should’ve had 2 penalties ” and no talk of Ivanovich yellow or a red too….

  34. Ref just earned some kudos points for that booking after the earlie debacle!

  35. Two non given pens for Chel$? That’s what they are saying. Have to agree really. Hope our luck don’t run out.

  36. Don’t agree Para, Ospina had every right to go for that ball and only turned to protect himself from Oscars high boot!

  37. Im watching our match on tele, Supersport channel but I had to switch to to the Arab channel I could not stand the puke anymore.

  38. Yesterday it seems, we had a goal disallowed.

    > I thought the disallowing of Yaya Sanogo’s goal was a pretty soft decision in the end. He’s just got a hold of Paul McShane’s arm, and there’s a little tug. But I think McShane was clever, because he got underneath the ball and he knows he’s going to get beaten, so he goes down.

    Anyone know what is up between Guardian and Oliver?

    The Guardian have called the referee a baby maybe half a dozen times as of 20 minutes or so.

    Might be nice to have Walter talk about 3rd Everton goal. From bbc:

    > Ross Barkley’ loft forward is clearly aimed at the clearly offside Romelu Lukaku. The United defence slow to a stroll expecting a whistle.

    > But Kevin Mirallas – bombing on from an onside position – doesn’t hesitate. He sweeps in ahead of Lukaku, races in on goal and fires a low finish past David De Gea.


  39. Now Germany has Bayern, spain one of barca or real madrid, and we have this team as champion? Really? How dud they gather their points? Lucky breaks all thr time, with thr ball always cleared to their players by chance?

    How is Coq on yellow and Ivanovic still playing with non?

    Take away the ref mistakes during the season and today we should be playing for top spot.

    Screw EPL, its nothing near the top league they keep calling this time.

  40. Yassin
    You’re right. Unfortunately for us the refs usually decide who win. This is why we have this negative pub team leading by nearly ten points, yet they play like this.

  41. Okay, only 3 times has Guardian called the referee a baby:

    – but child ref Michael Oliver says
    – The infant Oliver gives
    – but the child Oliver, rather


  42. I think, oliver missed a penalty. And Thats Cahils. He is a repeat offender. He does it always.

    Ospina challenge…….I think its no. But then such ones are given. Robben on Szczesny.

    Probably… One penalty each.

  43. Gord,

    He is not giving the cheats what they wanted, that is why, 3 damn dives near/inside penalty are, one which Olivir yellow carded Cesc for. They had that what they call a penalty (never a pebalty). We had 2.

    Al, yes, now people will call Wenger weak as he didnt secure the EPL, how can he? I cant believe he got us here.

  44. Watching NBC stream with Gary Lineker, Le Saux, and someone else. It’s all about how we should have conceded two penalties, yet when it comes to the Cahill handball they start debating whether it was deliberate or not. So now it’s only a penalty if it’s a deliberate handball. And what was his arm doing so high in the air anyway when he was falling down? These guys will find a way to justify anything, especially if it goes against us.

  45. I’m watching NBC coverage and they recon Oscar should have not been allowed back on straight away after that head injury. I hear now that he’s gone to hospital

  46. Not being funny, but i think we were lucky on the pen calls. If they were against us we would all be SCREAMING, so i just take the luck that the ref made a decision in our favour. Makes up for all the time when they did not.

  47. I can’t see Ospina did anything wrong and Fabregas left his leg out searching for contact IMHO.

  48. Oliver’s having a not too bad a game, apart from not giving three penalties that is.

  49. I think Mertesacker has had a few chances to volley balls lately. Something to work on in practice? 🙂


  50. If that high boot on koscielny’s nose by willian isn’t dangerous play then I don’t know what is.

  51. We are a little tired now, but solid still. Hope AW does not wait too long for subs.

  52. Drat! Oh well, we got 1 point. Clean sheet, hopefully no longer term injuries (probably lots of bruises).


  53. Negativity at its best. Win boring and ugly that’s Mourinho’s motto!

  54. If every match were like this attendance and tv ratings would be half of what they are.

  55. Most boring coach on earth, someone who sits his team to defend and wish for a lucky break, peoblem he is lucky enough to get it all season.
    Our player should learn how to defend the english way, this clean and no contact should not be the only way, they should learn how to hold, push, pull and all that types of defending (which is a foul usuallu, but not here). As the only way they could stop our players were through this.

    Willian and Ivanovic still playing? This is the main reason Chelsea still winning. till 70min to get his yellow.

  56. Well, I am not too proud of this but I think I called this game right. There is nothing to be ashamed of though. We’ll get to get our win next season and most preferably at Stamford Bridge.

    I am very proud of our game today even if we did not win. We are now joint second on points and with a game in hand. Four of our last 5 games are winnable and with Man United’s loss earlier today, we no longer need to get anything from the Old Trafford game to clinch 2nd. Not saying we shouldn’t go for a win but we won’t be desperate to as long as we win our next 3 games. We just need to build up our goals difference now to counter whatever Man City might do in their next 4.

    Would have loved nothing more than a win over Chelsea today but I am satisfied with this result.

  57. Chelsea’s defenders within the box get away with so much. Ivanovic is the worst but no means the only one. If Arsenal defenders did what they did…goodness knows.

    And Hazard. Diver. He will go down at a moment’s touch, that is his real gift and art. Defenders can’t get close not because he’s that good he’ll turn you – like a Sanchez – but because he’ll just fall and referees are ‘expected’ to give it, every fucking time. That first half was a showcase for their shower of shit.

    Nice to see the lads in the second half, not allowing the cheaters a chance.

  58. Am disappointed with the draw . While we had better of the ball , the last telling pass didn’t come off.
    Ivanobitch should have been sent off . He raked Alexis leg but only got a 3 way cosy chat along with his captain. WTF ?
    Was glad to see AW send in a striker for a defensive midfielder – that intent !Well unlike ….
    Am now hoping the Foxes will give them the blues .
    Just glad that nobody was really injured and well another clean sheet for Oooospinnnaaa !
    Up the Gunners !
    WOO HOO , HOO !

  59. Was not too unhappy with those yellow cards at the end for us ,as the guys were willing to take one for the team.
    Was hoping for Alexis to kick that SOB in the face – I would have cheered that red !
    No more mentions of that Catalan creep from me too !

  60. Very well summed up Bootoomee. Wenger is around for at least a couple more years, this year, even a win for us today wouldn’t have stopped them, but have a feeling wenger is yet destined to hit Jose where it will really hurt….my hunch, the latter stages of a champions league.

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