|CHELSEA vs ARSENAL
Stamford Bridge — London
March 22, 2014 8:45 PM SGT
Presenter, Red Card Sports Radio
As Arsene Wenger marches proudly towards his 1000th game in charge of the Gunners, I’d wager there are two things that irk him more than most.
The fact that he’s not quite yet managed to get his hands on that elusive Champions League trophy, and that when it comes to Wenger v Mourinho, history tells us the Portuguese will come out on top.
The recent war of words adds fire to a deliciously ferocious fixture. What sweet celebration it would be for Wenger to corrupt Mourinho’s untainted home record and mark this anniversary in style.
Unfortunately Wenger’s most expensive signing Mesut Ozil will, surprise, surprise, be once again missing for the big game though this time it’s injury, that sees the German miss out. Ramsey and Wilshere also remain on the treatment table.
Terry and Cahill will use their experience to handle Giroud who looked a complete passenger against Spurs last week. This leaves Oxlaide-Chamberlain to provide the spark for the visitors, while Rosicky’s on a high and the partnership of Koscielny and Mertersacker could be pivotal.
Hazard must be kept in check for the Gunners to stand a chance and Eto’o simply loves to shine at the Bridge so you fancy him for another goal. Lampard also, is certainly a man for the big occasion.
The midfield battle is absolutely crucial for the Gunners and they certainly look a little light in the middle of the park.
Wenger’s men really need to win if they fancy themselves as genuine title contenders, while Chelsea can probably afford to draw. An away win would really crown the day for Arsenal’s manager but with Mourinho’s suspension from the Villa defeat yet to kick-in; that unbeaten run at the Bridge looks set to continue.Could be a cracker, though it looks like a draw for Arsene’s memorable milestone.
Let's set the record straight. Chelsea have not lost at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho in the Premier League. Not when he first joined the club in 2004, and not since he rejoined the club at the beginning of this season. And I don't see how that record will end against Arsenal on Saturday. Arsenal have also not beaten Chelsea in the last five meetings between the two sides in all competitions.
But it would be silly to just dismiss the Gunners so easily. They are third in the league, four points off the Blues with a game in hand and possess the best away record in the league so far this season.
Things seem to be going well again for the Gunners in recent weeks too. Since their exit from the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich, they beat Tottenham 1-0 at White Hart Lane in a crucial derby clash.
Oh and the added spice of the game being Frenchman's 1000th match in charge would also put a lot more stake.
But Arsenal seem to buckle against the bigger opposition, and this season proves just that. Apart from their victory over Liverpool in November last year, they haven’t been getting points off the bigger teams.
And I feel that is going to happen again on Saturday. Chelsea's loss to Aston Villa last weekend might have been a surprise, but it’s just a one-off, and I don’t see them losing two in a row, especially not at home.
Three points for the Blues!