Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn: It will be no surprise if Van Persie gets the better of Terry

The former Highbury favorite gives his view on the battle of the Bridge as London rivals prepare to go head-to-head on Saturday
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may have conceded his side will not win the Premier League title this season, but the Gunners travel to Chelsea on Sunday eager to boost their top four chances and prove they are still a powerhouse in English football.

Wenger will be grateful that Arsenal's nemesis Didier Drogba will be suspended for the clash at Stamford Bridge but knows his side face their biggest test since the club's defeat at Tottenham at the start of the month.

After a week of controversial off-field headlines for Chelsea, the Blues will look to boost their own title credentials against an Arsenal defense that has looked extremely fragile this season.

Nigel Winterburn knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in an Arsenal shirt, having been part of the club's great 1990s defense alongside Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Martin Keown, Lee Dixon and goalkeeper David Seaman.

Speaking exclusively to, the former left-back has given his thoughts on where Sunday's London derby could be won and lost...

John Terry vs Robin van Persie

John Terry is the kind of character who will be able to put the last week behind him and concentrate solely on football when he walks out onto the pitch on Saturday. I have no doubt that he will give 100 per cent and he is the key to keeping the Chelsea defence together with his leadership qualities and his ability to win the ball.

He will look to play a high line and get tight to Robin van Persie, but the Dutchman is on fire at the moment. He has taken on the burden of added responsibility this season and has dragged Arsenal back from a very poor start to the season, almost single-handedly at times.

Van Persie only needs half a yard to work the ball into a position where he can shoot at goal with his left foot, and I won't be surprised if he gets the better of Terry this weekend.

Ashley Cole vs Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott has been in patchy form this season but has an important role to play this weekend – both offensively and defensively. Going forward, he will have to improve his decision-making and final ball if he is to get the better of Ashley Cole.

The former Arsenal man is one of the best left-backs in the world and is wise enough to know exactly what Walcott is going to do. But Walcott is so fast that he only needs to break through once and pick out the right pass for Arsenal to score.

Equally important, though, is that Walcott pins Cole back so the Chelsea full-back can't bomb forward at will to support their attacks. He is a key out-ball for them and Arsenal need to limit Chelsea's options when they have the ball.

Frank Lampard vs Alex Song

Frank Lampard has done a very good job this season of proving that he is a long way from finished, which seemed a knee-jerk conclusion reached by some people on the basis of a handful of quiet games. Arsenal have been very brittle at the back and Lampard will keep getting himself in the box waiting for that chance to fire shots on the Gunners' goal.

Lampard relies on his football brain to make a difference on the pitch and in Alex Song he comes up against a strong, tenacious athlete. Song is excellent at winning the ball and playing it simple, so he can win the battle if he makes sure he is always close to Lampard. The problem he has is if he switches off for a couple of seconds – which does happen – and the next thing he knows Lampard is putting the ball in the back of the net.

Juan Mata vs Johan Djourou

This is going to be a very interesting battle, not least because Johan Djourou is likely to play out of position at right-back this weekend. I think Djourou has the potential to be a first-choice center-back for Arsenal for many years but I worry about how schooled he is in the art of playing at full-back.

Juan Mata will take advantage of any mistakes because he has shown in his brief time at Chelsea how clever he is, on and off the ball. He's not the kind of player who will pick up the ball and run at 100 miles per hour, he will find space off Djourou and try to open Arsenal up. Mata is not at David Silva's level just yet but I do expect him to be a massive factor in the outcome of the match.

Fernando Torres vs Per Mertesacker

It feels like ages since Fernando Torres was sent off against Swansea but he will return straight to the Chelsea team with Didier Drogba suspended. He will be fresh and raring to go against an Arsenal side who he knows are leaky defensively.

Torres will get chances, that's almost guaranteed. He has looked sharp this season when he has played and I think he will try to pull onto Per Mertesacker. The German obviously has his strengths but pace is not one of them, and I do worry for Arsenal that Torres will be able to isolate Mertesacker and then let his pace and finishing to the rest.

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