Stone Cold Friday Chelsea Preview: Bridging The Gap

As we wait with baited breath for the latest John Terry exposé in this Sunday’s News of the World, it almost seems appropriate to find that “Friday is Casual Sex day”. Quite why this needed announcing, I’m not sure since it has always been so. Appropriate as well with the lascivious look in Tiger Woods eyes when he saw Katherine Jenkins yesterday; almost gave a new meaning to The Ryder Cup. Which shows how lowbrow today’s post would have been had I been composing it.

Fortunately for you, Darius has taken time from his nascent rap career – his alter-ego P Doff has his debut single, “Gonna tear up yo ‘hood with me Combine Harvester, Ooo-arr”, out now.

This weekend is one of the two in a season where the Stone household goes tribal. Many friends ask me how I ended up marrying a Chelsea fanatic, and I can only plead insanity and duress.

Needless to say, like millions of rival fans out there, we’ve taken our corners and are gearing up to defending and supporting our respective teams to the hilt. It doesn’t help of course that in the last 4 league games against Chelsea, Arsenal has shipped 10 goals with only 3 in reply. Any way you look at this statistic, it doesn’t sound good, and much has to change.

I don’t necessarily think that losing or drawing Sunday’s game will stop us from challenging for the title, and the desire to beat Chelsea seems to be more about exorcising the demons of the last few years and getting the momentum firmly behind us. Bragging rights are certainly a very big deal; and many an Arsenal fan has suffered the taunting and goading that accompanies a defeat against a title rival.

For some fans, the preparation of the bunkers that will host them and shield them from the hurricane of Arsenal disaster and collapse stories in the event that we lose has started in earnest. It’s hard to say whether it’s an actual defeat or the reaction to any defeat that causes this type of fan to resort to media and communication blackout mode.

Millions others with a sunnier disposition recognize the strides Arsenal has taken in improving our lot. Sunday’s game is only another opportunity to illustrate the progress made in this challenging journey.

My sense has always been that Arsenal has an extremely strong squad that is in the ascendancy, but we’ve fallen short in two distinct areas that are interlinked. Firstly, the mental strength that is needed to compliment our stamina, technique and expansive football; and secondly, the discipline to see through difficult patches that are inevitable in every season.

You’d be hard pressed to find any bookmaker who gives Arsenal a favourable chance of smuggling the 3 points away from Stamford Bridge, and perhaps this underdog status suits Arsenal for now. Much has changed since our encounters last season, and Arsenal fans need to be confident and have belief that the key personnel changes made will stand us in good stead.

My take is that Marouane Chamakh is the key to shifting Chelsea’s nose out of joint. At the least, he can occupy and keep Terry and Alex gainfully employed, but more importantly, his link up play and the way he opens spaces by yanking defenders out of shape is critical to our attacking strategy.

Many people talk about the need to confine Chelsea to few attacking options and to Shackle Drogba to deny him any opportunities. I would suggest that Arsenal may do better by not focussing on a heavily defensive approach. It’s not our style and I doubt the rules of Wengerball subscribes to that.

The way to keep Chelsea at bay is to attack them and occupy their defence and midfield. What we haven’t had in the last few games is the penetrative edge to take advantage of our possession and we’ve paid for it because Chelsea is ruthless in the counter attack.

With Chamakh’s pivotal play, the spaces will open for Nasri, Wilshere, Arshavin and Rosicky – and in the form they’ve been in lately, an upset is on the cards. Arsenal must also take advantage of the mayhem Chamakh causes in the box because Chelsea have shown this season that they struggle with organized mayhem. We now have an effective aerial outlet, and we should use it more.

When Lukasz Fabianski let out a wild scream after saving the penalty against Partizan, I could have sworn I saw demons rushing out into the Belgrade skyline with that scream. It’s the best thing that could have happened to the Pole in terms of confidence building, and that can only stand him and Arsenal in good stead for Sunday.

Regardless of what people think of Fabianski, a positive performance from him is critical. This is just the sort of game that could make him, and start him on that redemption path to doing an “Eboue”. If previous performance is an indicator, Wookash should be well pleased with the vocal support he gets from our away fans.

By and large, there will still be a lot of media and pundit diatribe that’s geared for sensationalism and to continue the narrative of Chelsea conquering all in their path. It’s inevitable that this will influence the masses, and the team need to stand up and be counted. A good performance and a positive result are due our way.

It’s this sort of positive result more than anything that will give the team that additional belief. For millions of fans around the world, it’s the sort of positive result that will restore a modicum of respectability when around rival fans. For football, it’s the sort of positive result that will be a victory for how the game should be run and played on the pitch.

Unless the game ends up level, what is also a real possibility is that in the Stone household, the spare bedroom beckons for one of us because it’s going to go tribal.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on October 1, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 145 Comments.

  1. Let it be!

  2. Mongolian Gooner

    Wish Fabianski best of luck. He’s gonna need it.

  3. i know how you feel married to a yid but theve got nothing to gloat about chavs have we have to play better than in the week chavs were poor last week v citeh so we shall see .come on you reds

  4. We can’t forget that Westtside farmyard classic by Sheep Dogg, “6 million bales of hay”

    Yogi, that intro was fire!

  5. Will be thrilled if we get out of there with a point.

  6. It suddenly occurs to me, I’ve never been romantically linked with a gooner!

    Let me assure you, it’s been a pleasure beating and punishing these non-gooners (innuendo people: Gadget is no woman beater, and I have no love for thos who do)

  7. Hey Gadget…at least my wife isn’t a Spud. Even I couldn’t live with that.

  8. We can do it!

  9. Please, somebody tell me how to pronounce Woijiech

  10. woy-check? no idea

  11. I think we will finally see the end of Fabianski’s Arsenal career this sunday

  12. I think The battle will be won in the wings. We always confine Chelsea, till when Ash** C*** starts bombing down the wing… if we shut them down the wings, then we win

  13. why don’t you f*ck of Ken, or whoever you are

  14. HCH – it’s pronounced as “Wo check”

  15. @HGH the easiest way is Voy-chiè-hk, which is still technically wrong. The problem being that there is no real English equivalent to the polish ‘c’ somewhere between CH and SH with an almost in audible ‘t‘ in front.

  16. That should read “English equivalent to the polish ‘ci’ “

  17. After that intro we can rename it: Just Do it Friday!

    I could not agree more about the need to attack. Chelsea won last season with bugger all possession, we just had no one to counter act Drogba’s counter-attacks. That has changed.

    Cesc is also essential and I am certain if we faced them with the squad we started the season with (Vermaelen, VP, Theo, Cesc) and with our new players we would walk away with the points.

  18. The best gooner ever

    No fabregas???

  19. BTW the short form of Wojciech is Wojtek which is pronounced Voy-tech I am guessing that’s where the Tech-9 nickname comes from.

  20. Darius,

    The spud I loved was consumed by desire. She’d always cling to me and would always fight to get on top. I’d give in for a while, but I always made sure to finish looking down at her, looking up at me (ain’t no place I’d rather be, baby).

    Nah, I jest. I’m yet to hook up with a true spud, but if I do, rest assured, I’ll make life follow the joke.

  21. How could I forget that modern gem by 50 Quack, ‘In Da Pond’

  22. can’t remember the last time we played either the chavs or manure with a full side out?this time we’re missing van persie,fab,walcott & verminator.essentially the spine of the side-(not to mention a few others-who would be useful)like to see them without drogba,malouda,essien & pikey terry-still at least “fat franks”out,so no 30 yard deflections lol!!

  23. Now that that’s settled, how do we pronounce Sczezeny(what?! i mis-spelled? omg)

  24. On to the football… Chelsea are not inherently better than us, it all comes down to execution on the day. If we play as sloppily as we did against WBA then we’re screwed.

    Chelsea defence is not what it has been over the last few years, even when they were winning the opposition was easily getting behind them and causing problems.

    We need to finish better than we have been, our conversion rate is the poorest amongst the top teams.(16 goals from 96 attempts compared to 21/93 for Chelsea and 16/77 for United).

  25. Three points about Sunday’s game so as to get 3 points:
    1. Alex Song must be a D M/F and not a rampaging attacker (unless we are 4 up and 10 mins to go).
    2. A big game like this is MADE for a big player like Diaby. We must play him. He can change a game in our favour in an instant.
    3. Chamakh must play havoc and get stuck in among the Chelski defence. Make them earn their corn.

  26. @La Shiz
    Szczęsny is actually easier to pronounce. SH-CHÈWZ Neh ( È as the first E in Wenger)

  27. Good post Darius,
    I have to confess though that on paper, unless Chelsea have an off day, I really can’t see our current injury hit squad getting a results at Stamford Bridge, if their plays remain on form. Cole, and Malouda on the left, Essien in the middle, Mikel screening their defence, Drogba and Anelka up front, their battle hardened CBs and Cech all make up a formidable team. Without Walcott, V.Persie and Cesc, I have to say they really are overwhelming favorites to win.

    But football is a funny game that can throw up unexpected results. Case in point, our loss at home to West Brom. If WB can do that at the emirates, no reason why we can’t thrash them even with an injury hit squad.

    If we can keep our concentration for the whole 90+ mins, and play with maturity and discipline, we’ll be able to capitalize on their mistakes and perhaps complacency to achieve an important victory. COYG!!

  28. ain’t groaning but how i wish Fabregas would be take part in the proceedings…only Wilshire comes close,but then against Esien…hope Denilson starts,he’s always handled Essien better than most….come on ARSENAL

  29. I don’t know how much influence Chamack can have against Chelsea. I think he’s played too many games recently because of injuries to VP and Bendter so Chelsea defenders may just be too strong for him. His smart link up play may well be of advantage but we’ll need our attacking midfielders to support him more effectively. Arshavin, Nasri and whoever else plays must be more accurate in their passes in the final third because of Chelsea’s counterattacking threat. Which is why I also agree with calls for Song, or whoever else is our more defensive minded midfielder to stay back more.

    Assuming Cesc isn’t fit, I’d go with

    GK
    Sagna, Squil, Kos, Clichy
    Song, Wilshire
    Eboue/Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin
    Chamack

    I’d actually consider bringing in Diaby for Chamack if he tires toward the end (which in my view is rather likely). Also Denilson can replace Song at some point.

  30. The intersting thing about Chamakh’s ariel threat is that Chelsea (and most other teams) have defended against us by staying compact and allowing us space down the wings. Again and again we would cut back and play across the middle looking for a give and go or a little flick into the minuscule space behind the defence. We would have the lions possession but then the ball would inevitably break and the counter-attack would be our undoing.
    In theory Chelsea will have to be more spread out in their defence now – they can’t give our wingers libea ball is rty to cross at will because Chamakh is a very real and very dangerous threat with his head.
    This could equally allow us just a little more space for the killer through ball. the best exponent of playing such a ball is, one suspects, not going to be fit but both Rosicky and Nasri and most notably Arshavin have played some startlingly fine deliveries in recent weeks so there is plenty to be positive about.
    In fact not many have mentioned it but Arshavin’s pass to Chamakh which won us a penalty was Bergkampesque in its exactitude.
    As for Song bombing forward – too much has been made of this – he only does it a few times a game and it’s obviously something Arsene encourages. Sometimes it opens space as players are bing man marked and he can gallop forwards – other players should drop into cover when this happens – at least that’s the idea.
    Let’s be positive – I know our away fans wont let us down. If any are reading this THANK YOU – you’ve been truly fucking amazing this season.

  31. SORRY – reposting with mistakes amended so it makes more sense!

    The interesting thing about Chamakh’s ariel threat is that in the past Chelsea (and most other teams) have defended against us by staying compact and allowing us space down the wings. Again and again we would cut back and play across the middle looking for a give and go or a little flick into the minuscule space behind the defence. We would have the lions possession but then the ball would inevitably break and the counter-attack would be our undoing.
    In theory Chelsea will have to be more spread out in their defence now – they can’t give our wingers liberty to cross at will because Chamakh is a very real and very dangerous threat with his head.
    This could equally allow us just a little more space for the killer through ball. the best exponent of playing such a ball is, one suspects, not going to be fit but both Rosicky and Nasri and most notably Arshavin have played some startlingly fine deliveries in recent weeks so there is plenty to be positive about.
    In fact not many have mentioned it but Arshavin’s pass to Chamakh which won us a penalty was Bergkampesque in its exactitude.
    As for Song bombing forward – too much has been made of this – he only does it a few times a game and it’s obviously something Arsene encourages. Sometimes it opens space as players are bing man marked and he can gallop forwards – other players should drop into cover when this happens – at least that’s the idea.
    Let’s be positive – I know our away fans wont let us down. If any are reading this THANK YOU – you’ve been truly fucking amazing this season.

  32. ohhhhhhhhhhhhh

    I love Arsenal..

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/m/man_city/9051136.stm

    I think they “Buy big name players brigade” should shut up…

  33. Flint McCullough

    “the mental strength that is needed to compliment our stamina, technique and expansive football; and secondly, the discipline to see through difficult patches”

    This is just it. We have the talent in abundance, it is really a matter of marrying it with the above. This will happen as the the team & the individuals within it mature.

    Even though I am desperate, just for once, to see us take on the Chelseas with all our best players, I hope we don’t risk a less than 100% fit Cesc. It is always counter productive, as proved against Barca, when we had 3 less than half fit on the pitch, together.

    I do disagree about the full out attacking, Darius. It was that that cost us the home game, last season. We can’t play defensively, it is not our game, but we must deny them the opportunity to do what they do best. Occupy their full backs, keep the ball as much as possible & show the discipline, you mention, to take the advantages when they present themselves.

  34. Nicky, to be honest I still wouldn’t be confident at 4 nil up with 10 mins to go. How about we let Song go on his little forward forays only when it gets to injury time at 4 nil up. Then I might be able to relax just a little!

  35. Henristic @11:21 pm.

    If you can, take some time and read this article analysing Chamakh’s contribution to our win at Blackburn away.

    The excellent points made about the contribution Chamakh has and continues to make are very valid in supporting the argument that Chamakh is the key to splitting the Chelsea defense wide open.

    Also take a look at the chalkboards linked in the document to see how effective his actual passing was and where it happened on the pitch.

    This is something we haven’t had before, and if you combine that with Chamakh’s aerial threat, then the Chelsea defenders will have their hands full.

    Imagine the risk to them of nottaking it seriously. And if they do take it seriously, then it inevitably opens up space for our nifty attacking midfielders.

  36. A point is not good enough for me. We want to beat Chelsea at S. Bridge. So, big game players, and a team effort. You can pick virtually any reasonable combination, they can all do a job. I think we will win.

  37. Please Football God, let us at least get a point.

    As a Gooner working in darkest, deepest South London, the in-breeding ground for the Chelsea masses, over recent years my Chesea post match Monday mornings at work has not been a pleasent place to be.

    As I stare out of my office, pretending to work, my view is a vista of protruding foreheads and monobrows, tramlines and Argos jewellery, all cloaked in faux Burberry and gleaming white trainers.

    If you do exist Football God, please, please grant me this one wish, but if by chance you have room for a second, can we win by 5 clear. Cheers.

  38. Arsenalkabisa | October 1, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    What I enjoyed about that story was the part where Liam Brady pastes Badid Bentley who he says had the skills but no dedication. Brady didn’t mention that Bentley thought just because he had some John Bull blood he was superior to Bobby Pires

  39. @Ole Gunner | October 1, 2010 at 1:18 pm |

    He didn’t realize he wasn’t even fit to polish Pires’ boots.

    I like when Jack Willy looks like he would almost cry after some rough play, more so for all the talent he has he runs like its the last game he has to play on earth. Guess that is what Wenger means when he say he has a good “engine”. Wish that with all the talent Diaby has, he would watch Jack and copy some of his running and never say die spirit.

  40. I am 100% behind Wengerball @ 10:55 am on this one.
    Chelsea is not inherently better than us, but we have to prove it on the field with better execution both offensively and defensively. (Easier said than done.)
    I found WB’s statistic very telling:
    “We need to finish better than we have been, our conversion rate is the poorest amongst the top teams.(16 goals from 96 attempts compared to 21/93 for Chelsea and 16/77 for United).”
    Most of this profligacy it seems to me is down to Arsha. This is not a criticism, just an observation. In the absence of Walcott, he seems to be the one whom mostly ends up with the shooting chances. He simply needs to execute.

  41. “When Lukasz Fabianski let out a wild scream after saving the penalty against Partizan, I could have sworn I saw demons rushing out into the Belgrade skyline with that scream.” – Cool!

    I think Arsenal will beat Chelsea because Arsenal want it more.

    That and the fact that Arsenal play the cleverer football.

    And Chelsea are evil (sorry Mrs Stone!)

    If Chelsea aren’t scared then I reckon they should be. They’re about to come crashing down to earth.

    ARSENAL!

    FRIDAAAYY!

  42. Thanks for the stout info the other day, Shotta! I had a bottle from my local shop and it tastes kind of chocolatey. It’s 7.5% though! Pretty strong. I’m sticking with Guiness.

  43. This team has heart. Feel it beat, move to the rhythm; feel it throb, be awed by its strength.

    Two day till our blades cross with Chelsea. My blood is rising, hear my roar!

  44. hilariuos article about our friend of north london trying to move away from our shadow
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/t/tottenham_hotspur/9050558.stm

  45. It’s Return of the Jedi people. Last season Chelsea faced a team which had its swordhand cut off. This time they face a Jedi strong team with a mechnical hand (and a bunch of rabid Ewoks when the come to Emirates).

    Arshavin: heal like dog
    Chamakh: strong like metal

  46. You certainly have a point there Shotta. But the little russian has been delivering. In 9 starts this season (all comps) he has had 32 goal attempts, 13 of which were on target scoring 5 times. He has also had 6 assists.

    Imagine if he improves his execution!

  47. While I’m still on ESPN stats….
    Chamack has played 7 games , scoring 4 and making 1 assist. He also had 19 shots at goal, 10 on target.

    Chamack should shoot more eh?

  48. Stand up and be counted.

    That is what we can and must do as Arsenal supporters. Sometimes it’s all we can do?

  49. Consolsbob – as long as you stay the hell on the right side of the river, we’ll be fine.

  50. I think we’re going to see Chamakh providing the assist for the assist a lot this season; as he lays it off for a cross, or he plays someone in inside him, who then pulls back or slips someone in for a tap-in. Not a glamour stat (oxymoron?) – but a vital role.

    He also royally fucks up TBOF teams with his runs out wide – as Darius says in his article. “Hold on, their ‘target man’s’ just run off to the wing! SHIT! Get ‘im!” – oops there goes Theo Walcott inside me… oh shit he’s scored another hattrick.

  51. @Henristic | October 1, 2010 at 1:57 pm |

    Chamack should shoot more eh?

    Hehehe. make that HEAD more. I wory when he will be given a penalty to take – Would FIFA allow a penalty goal that has been executed via the head??

  52. Ok, so I’ve just been running up my mouth to some Chelsea and Tottenham fans.

    We’d better win now!

    It’s too late to turn back now,
    I believe, I believe, I believe
    I’m a gooner for life

  53. Some bad news regarding the game

    Cesc, Big Al and Gibbs definitely out!

    http://football365.com/story/0,17033,8652_6418231,00.html

  54. I’m glad to see Dr. Diesel’s carefully worked out business plan is bearing fruit. If he can just sell a couple more shirts in the lucrative Asian market, he’ll soon turn that £121 million deficit into a healthy profit.

  55. While plenty of Chelsea players were rather iffy against Manchester City, the majority choice as key weak link seemed to be the Brazilian.

    Doing Frank Lampard’s job two months into your Premier League career is quite an ask, so it’s not the greatest surprise that Ramires struggled against the beefy stylings of Nigel de Jong, Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry.

    The Brazilian will have a different, but equally important and difficult task on his hands come Sunday. For the uninitiated or unprepared, an afternoon chasing shadows could be in store if Arsenal’s dizzying midfield passing is in full flow.

    He’ll have Michael Essien (even if you hate Chelsea, you have to admit it’s great to have him back) to help him out, but passengers won’t last very long in this Chelsea side.

    http://football365.com/story/0,17033,8750_6409792,00.html

  56. clichy needs to get his head straight for this one

    rest of the squad is ready for a good fight but im torn between song and deni alongside rosicky and jack tho… denilson has shown quick wits, high completion and far more discipline lately whilst song has been a bit erratic with loose positioning and passing. with the creativity of jack and rosicky (should they start) I think deni should get the nod

    sagna-sq-kos-clichy
    ros-deni-jack
    nasri-chamakasaurus-arsh

  57. I ain’t going nowhere!

  58. word | October 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm |

    For some reason I think, I have no idea what System it is. But I have roles For everyone. System Based On Stiffling Ashl** Cunt (Most Players on the Lef), Out Muscling Anelka (Song Kos), While harrying in Midfield (Nasri, Lil Jack Willy).

    Also Loved the Combi of Jack & Arsh in an oppositions box. How they were making space is out of this world..

    sagna-sq-kos-clichy
    —–Denni – Song
    Eboue -Nasri
    ——-jack——arsh
    ——–chamak

  59. According to this, Wilshere will play for the U21’s and then join up with the senoirs .

    That’s the same shit they pulled with Walcott and look what happened. Don’t these pricks ever learn?

    I swear Pearce is determined to destroy anyone who comes from Arsenal. A few weeks ago he benched Wilshere claiming “his head wasn’t right” now he wants the kid to pull double duty. The same shit he pulled with Walcott, calling him up for U21 only to stick him on the bench WTF.

  60. Real shame to see Fab and Gibbs out – Gibbs was really starting to look the part, and his extra height would of been useful.

    Team’s do seem to put someone half decent in the air up against Clichy a lot, which has caused us a problem on occasion.

    It’s going to be a tough game for sure, but the last time I went to the Bridge feeling nervous, RVP popped up with 2 and we beat them, so let’s hope for a repeat of that scoreline!

  61. Well written DS!

    I do believe we should be abit disciplined defensively. From what I remember most of our losses Chelsea, United and the loss to City was because we tried to do too much too soon and didnt focus on defending, as it was with WBA.

    Henristic, did you see how Chamakh was fighting against samba?

    We have taken on big string teams and donw well this season. We may not have the size but we have speed and skill, these two strengths can get us a win IF we remain disciplined and focused througout.

    Arsenal!!!

    Blessings!!!

  62. Samba? Meh, Even Wilshire could handle man mountain.

    The chelsea defence are a different kettle of fish one fears.

    Limpar, Song’s been doing the assist the assister thing rather well too. I remember two instances where he’s made the sort of lays off you described.

    Somehow, I’m beginning to feel better about our chances…. and its all your fault people!! 🙂

  63. *”could handle that man mountain” I meant to say

  64. Wilshere tackled samba one time, its ridiculous to believe that he could handle Samba phyiscallyon a whole/

    You have no faith in your team at all and act as if Chelsea have nothing to worry about.

    Man up!

  65. No disrespect but for me we should always have faith and trust in the talent we have.

    In that I say we should all man up and keep the faith!

  66. When it was reported that Li’l Jack Willy was arrested the night of the game against Blackburn, apparently for an incident where a girl was assaulted, my first thought was that Chris Samba made the complaint about Wilshere’s sublime tackle that brought him thundering to the ground.

    It’s a good thing the police cleared all that up – and we found out that Wilshere was testing out his skills as a peace keeper for a retirement role with the UN.

    But I would have loved it if Samba had lodged such a complaint.

  67. I want to enjoy this match but have concerns about this team. I was completely annoyed with last Saturdays performance. While many of you decry Almunia’s attempt at being a Premiership goalkeeper, there were too many out field players who were absolutely absent in this game. They did not appear to want the game until the last few minutes of the contest. With Chelsea the desire to win better predominate throughout the game. Or else, and I will be clear about this! We will all buy the lady a good bottle of Wine of her choice. I mean of course, the spouse of Stone Cold Friday.

  68. Kingsalami 12.46 funniest post of the day.

    Looking forward to a good showing by our boys.It’s bad news that Fabrigas wont make it for the bridge but hopefully we can do the job.Anything but a beating will be welcome.

    My team would be
    ……. Fabianski………
    Sagna…Skilly…Koz……Clichy
    ……..Song……Denilson……….Rosisky
    ………Wilshire ……….Nasri
    ……………….Chamach…………

    Diaby, Eboue, Vela,Mannone, Djourou, and Eastmond maybe?Now that Gibbs is injured and traore is out on loan who can play left back other than clichy?

  69. Quenton Cassidy

    I keep going back and forth between excitement and nervousness (partially because this will be my first Arsenal game viewed in a proper pub setting, since I’m American…and I’m assuming I’m going to be surrounded by Chelsea supporters), but honestly I’m tending more toward excitement. I know we’re missing players, but I really think we can beat these guys. Look for a big game from Wilshere – this could be his real coming out party.

    Come on you Gunners!

  70. First Lady,
    I’m pretty sure the King can and has played at left back.

    And Quenton don’t go to a pub full of Chelsea fans! Chelsea smilers and all that

  71. Quenton…if it’s any consolation, my wife and her Chavski loving friends are nervous.

    They know that if the right Arsenal turn up, we can rip them a new asshole – but they quietly pray that we remain in development mode – the one they’re used to bullying.

    What isn’t in question is that despite the bravado, they know that if Arsenal turn up, they’re in trouble.

    PS: You have my sympathy about watching the game in a pub full of American Chavs. Last time I made the mistake of watching an Arsenal game in an Irish pub in Arlington, I ended up moving pubs at half time…LOL! One side were Chavs and the other loads of Irish folk who thought they were Liverpudlian for some reason. It was painful being a lone Gooner.

  72. Paul N
    “Wilshere tackled samba one time, its ridiculous to believe that he could handle Samba phyiscallyon a whole/”

    And you accuse me of not having faith? 🙂

  73. I find it strange that theres so much hype on here about the Chelsea-Arsenal game when the footballing event of the callender year is happening this weekend, in the form of Stoke vs Blackburn…..

  74. First Lady,
    Gibbs in injured?

  75. Deano – that’s rugby….what the hell are you on about?

  76. Henristic @t 1:50 pm
    Thanks for the stats.
    Arsha: “In 9 starts this season (all comps) he has had 32 goal attempts, 13 of which were on target scoring 5 times. He has also had 6 assists.”
    Still an execution rate of 15.6%. Still seems WB has a point or are our expectations too high?
    Personally I don’t think so. But I have no stats to support what is a reasonable execution rate to expect for a player of his quality.

  77. Deano @ 3:58 pm – My first response was World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in the penalty box. But Darius has it right.

  78. Henristic, faith has nothing to do with that, Samba is giant in comparison to Wilshere.
    Stop grasping for straws.

    Man up and keep the faith!!!

    No time to be wavering.

    I think it would be good to forget the match against WBA especially when that has not been our pattern of play. We have consistenly fought very hard and defended with urgency apart from that match.

  79. Henristic, an ankle injury
    Will we ever face the big four with our full squad in this lifetime?Damn!! i hate injuries.

  80. Chelsea have a little problem. They are overwhelming favourites (twice over now Cesc is confirmed out). Oh, it’s fun to be underdawg. Watch out, watch out … here come the Arsenal.

  81. First Lady –

    NO ANDRE ARSHAVIN????

  82. Since we are expected to lose, we have nothing to lose. Since they are expected to win, at home, they have everything to lose. Be afraid in your hearts chelsea. Little Jackie is a-coming to get you. You haven’t met Chamakh either, the pleasure is all ours. Meet Mr. Kos and Mr. Skilly too.

  83. Quenton Cassidy

    Gadget and Darius:

    Unfortunately I don’t have much choice – there are only two “soccer bars” in Indianapolis that I’m aware of. I don’t know whether either one has an affiliation, I’m just assuming that most American fans are bandwagoners, and thus Chelsea fans. Or worse (maybe not, but at least as bad), Manchester United fans. Half the soccer players at my old high school were decked out in MUFC gear. Sickening.

    The state of the Gooner in Middle America remains grim, in short.

  84. ZP, you forgot to add the biggest name on that list..

  85. LUCASZ FABIANSKI!

  86. Drogba can pull down John Terry’s pants as much as he likes, but I’m not ready to start kissing Big JT’s noose just yet. Haven’t Chelsea lost two of their last three games? They are probably the second best team in England at the moment, so we need to treat them with the appropriate amount of caution; but we should still recognise our own superiority. It’s a shame we have often let them have more than they deserve in recent years. The West Brom game not withstanding, I think our team has the maturity this season to stop handing points to the likes of Chelsea.

  87. Oo h shit!!How did i forget him.I think i’ll sit Rosicky and replace him with the little magician.

    Anyone has a feeling Chamack will win us a penalty against Terry?

  88. My apologies … may I introduce young Mr. Fabianski to you assorted ‘gentlemen’ of the bridge; he’ll be pleased to make your acquaintance, I’m sure.

    According to Wenger … (Guardian)
    “Arsenal have the quality to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday – even without injured captain Cesc Fabregas and a host of first-team regulars.

    Manuel Almunia, Kieran Gibbs, Thomas Vermaelen, Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie are also out but, boosted by the midweek Champions League victory over Partizan Belgrade in Serbia, the Gunners manager insists last week’s shock home defeat by West Bromwich Albion is now out of their system as he prepares to inflict a second successive league defeat on Chelsea after the loss at Manchester City.

    “I believe we have enough strength to win the game and that is what we want to do,” Wenger said. “If we turn up with a great performance – and I am convinced we will – we will beat them. Football is down to the performance on the day.”

    Wenger added: “What is important is: have we the potential to beat Chelsea – I say yes. Are Chelsea a good team? I say yes, but we can beat a good team.”

    Almunia’s continuing elbow problem means another chance for Lukasz Fabianski to stake his claim, having answered criticism with an impressive display in Belgrade, where he saved a late penalty in the 3-1 win. “He had a good game [in Belgrade] and can just add another good game to the first one. That’s what I want him to do and I am convinced he can do that,” Wenger said.

    “Our job is about grabbing your chance when you have it. You must be ready the day you have your chance. He has the talent, he has the potential, he has the desire, a great attitude, so it’s all there to have a good game.”

    Wenger, though, maintains nothing will be decided on Sunday. “It’s not too early because it is a confrontation between two top teams and it will certainly give an indication of the strengths of the two teams, that is for sure,” Wenger said. “I don’t think it is a decisive game, but it is a good indicator about the strengths in the Premier League.”

  89. … and if Wenger thinks we can, which he does and it’s no idle talk, then so do we. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrsnal.

  90. Currently we have 8 starters out injured.
    GK Almunia OUT
    LB Gibbs OUT
    LCB Vermaelen OUT
    CM Ramsey OUT
    CM Fabregas OUT
    LF Van Persie OUT
    RF Walcott OUT
    ST Bendtner OUT
    The above mentioned would be in anybodies first eleven. Gibbs might not be but on current form he is better than Clichy. Only the RCB, RB and DM First choice are safe. This is just sheer bad lucks. I am sure no other team in the world can have so many first team XI out at the same time.

  91. Quenton Cassidy

    Zohaib Ijaz: Even better, I’m sure no other team in the world could have so many first team XI out at a time and still feel confident with expecting a win each week. Our depth is enviable at present, and thank goodness for it – otherwise, we would be in deep trouble.

  92. The real upside is that Cesc, RVP, Theo, Bendtner, Vermaelen, Gibbs and Almunia are all expected to be back after the interlull. They all will be hopefully fresh and better than ever and will by Gods grace stay fit for the entire season

  93. I don’t think I would know what to do with myself if we actually had a full healthy squad. The thought of it is pretty fantastic, but I never let myself have any expectations that they will remain fit because chances are it just won’t ever happen.

  94. hello all!

    been a few days. My tuesday night turned into a disaster, after i DVRed the game as it was playing live only to return later to sit down and watch, fresh beer in hand, and find that it only recorded 6 minutes! gut-wrenching!!

    Now, if i had been in the UK it wouldve been impossible to go a full day without hearing the match result, but thanks to the good old US of A i was able to wait till wednesday afternoon without hearing the result!

    Great win, Maroune Chamakh is on the fast track to competing with Cesc Fabregas as the king of my heart.

    He’s so ridiculously perfect for us its not even funny

  95. Quenton Cassidy @ 4:32

    I hear ya man. Although I hail from New Jersey/NYC I’m currently rooted in Milwaukee, WI.. and arsenal fans are few and far between. Although I shouldnt complain, because there is a “soccer bar” called the Highbury here. You can take a guess which team their affiliated with!!

  96. Jeez way to big up Our Jackie – Arsene Wenger has spent 14 years as Arsenal manager attempting to develop an English player who encapsulates his vision of the perfect footballer – and in Jack Wilshere he may finally have achieved his aim.

    Control, skill, vision, speed and strength. An ability to read the game, beat a man, find the killer pass and drop back to defend. Fearless, mature, dedicated and hungry.

    But then again with Rooney on the downward spiral they do need a new golden boy – to build up and then hope he transgresses so they can tear him down again!!

    Or am i too cynical??

  97. Wenger

    “If we turn up with a great performance – and I am convinced we will – we will beat them. Football is always down to the performance of the day.”

    I am in 100% agreement with that!

  98. the new layout is really shit

  99. too bad its lumpard out and not drogba

  100. Seems they ARE lookin to f**k jackie up – play him in under 21 match then call him up to senior england squad – They did that with Theo didnt they!! How did that work out?

  101. Too bad Essien isnt out …NJ

  102. Darius, I don’t agree with your comment regarding our mental strength. Like others who question the team’s mental fortitude you’ve glanced over the most obvious problem we’ve had for the last couple of seasons. The biggest problem, of course, has been injuries. Look at Chelsea and Man United. Each side has lost two important players and they’ve dropped points as a result. How come no one calls out their mental strength as the cause for this? If you ask me, a third place finish with the amount of injuries we’ve had seems like our players have got plenty upstairs.

  103. no kidding Deise

    I really rate him. the definition of a “box-to-box” midfielder.

    and your spot on about Theo. really wish AW or the club itself had more authority in these matters.

  104. Gains

    its all about their perceptions. because Utd/Chelsea have won trophies “recently” for them its just a bad day at the office. but for us, its, they lack the winning mentality necessary of champions. then the pundits will muse that the lack of englishness is to blame, we have no players with drive and spirit. what a load of shit

  105. Aaaaaalex Dimitriiiii Songgg Biloooong – look to Essien fella, thats your model.

  106. G69, you are correct sir.

    Remember last year after crushing defeats, when it looked as if we would be nowhere near the title we kept coming back.

    The injuries have troubled us big time.

    Imagine if we had Cesc, RVP, TV and even moany Gallas towards the ends of last season.

    I am hoping these early season injuries will mean that we will not get bit at the end.

  107. I have Chamakh doing some real damage Sunday

  108. Gainsbourg.

    Fair comments about injuries.

  109. I hate being around people when I watch a game. The pubs are too distracting and you always get an idiot shouting into his cell phone when the game is going on. On top of that they don’t give you the controller so you can back it up to watch a Wilshere flick or Fabregas pass over again. The only place I’d go to watch a game around people is the stadium.

  110. hope we draw at least

  111. Not only that, Paul N, but we have a team full of players in their late teens and early twenties. If we’d compete against other teams with as many youngsters as ours we’d win the league by a huge margin every season. I mean, most of our youngsters are juggling the league, the Champions league and their national teams. You have got to be on top of your shit to finish third in the most competitive league in the world, make at least the quarter finals of the CL every season and handle all the pressure off the pitch.

  112. Well said G69, I am with you all the way.

    I said on espn that Arsenal have the most depth of truly skillfull players and shortsighted Chelsea fans say, “then how comes you havent won anything”. As you stated, we have a bunch of youth, this is a team that has been built masterfully built on such. The downside (for arguements sake) is that they will take time to mature to deal with the older and very talented players.

    For me, our time has finally come!

  113. If we start with Diaby,we will lose in the first 10 minutes.If Diaby doesnt figure at all,we will win 2-1

  114. We are missing Silvestre’s experience against Chelsea.

  115. This is where,I have a small grudge with Le Prof.I think he should have retained Silvestre as a back up for Clichy.Silvestre put in some great shifts last season,and was solid as a rock.

  116. Quenton Cassidy

    I think we’re missing very little from Silvestre, but agree to disagree, I suppose. He would have provided depth, but from watching him with Werder Bremen I don’t think he’d have provided much else, to be frank.

  117. Silvestre’s new team did alright against the Tinys, didn’t they?

    Two nil and they…

  118. Diaby is actually a player who can be a terror for Chelsea to deal with. I sometimes wonder if I am watching the same players?

    The guy has been good, came back from injury and wasnt so good as was 99% of the players.

  119. Quenton Cassidy

    Finsbury: Yeah, Bremen should have won that. Not so much against Inter though – that one (from the part I saw, i.e. the first half-hour) was a bit of a clinic. Eto’o had three goals, that’s all she wrote.

  120. Silvestre brought something to the Arsenal squad that we haven’t seen for a long long time: Uselessness.

    Silvestre is like a soild bit of kleenex. Limp, untidy and unsavoury.

  121. Ole

    agreed. he was our one player who i simply did not rate in the least

  122. I dont rate Diaby to be honest.Diaby is shit most of the times.

  123. Copying avatars now? This guy’s officially made the leap from mildly annoying to really quite scary. It’s like Hannibal Lecter with a learning difficulty.

  124. If we lose on Sunday,Wenger should be sacked.

  125. you know it dups!

  126. Does this work? trying to change my gravatar but my name was taken. Who the backside has it?

  127. All right?

  128. Aint I right,Steww

  129. Who the fuck is using my ID?

  130. Yogi who is this idiot?

  131. Someone with a compulsive twitch.

  132. It seems to be a very immature turd anyway.

  133. Seems Paul Merson doesnt give us much of a chance.

    May we shut them up even him.

    Paul N

  134. why isnt this working?

  135. So Paul Merson doesnt give us a chance

  136. One of the keys is to contain Drogba. I’m sure Arsene took note of how Man. city kept him quiet. Kompany stuck to him like glue and Drogba was neutralized and quiet all night. That’s what we need to do – make his head go down and don’t give him any space. Drogba probably feels confident and thinks that he can bully the Arsenal defence so Koscielny, Squillaci have got to be on their toes from the first whistle.

  137. thegreatgooner

    Top Post

  138. Morning

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