So this is definitely one of our biggest games so far and will be a big test for our new-look Arsenal team. It is quite interesting that we have a large and talented squad to choose from and it will be difficult to predict who Wenger will choose to start the game.
It is a fact that we have not won any of last nine meetings with the Blues, but Wenger understands this could be changed today. “I explain it by the fact that they always had strong teams,” Le Prof said. “Maybe we have a hurdle to overcome. It’s what you call an inconvenient fact.
“But a quality of a team is to change things – when you have an opportunity to change things, you take it. We have a chance to reverse what’s happened in recent years against Chelsea. There were periods where we won always, periods where we couldn’t beat them, so let’s hope we go into a new era where we can deliver.”
Going by Wenger’s words this weekend, it would seem that Giroud is still unlikely to play, and Alexis is likely to remain at centre-forward. He also hinted that Xhaka may also be chosen. “The fact that you have potential to shoot from distance can pull defenders out and create more space for the game we want to play,” he said. “To have a player like Xhaka, who can score from a distance, gives us different hopes, different variety in our attacking.
“Hopefully that can create the confidence for some other players to sometimes take a shot from distance, even if the basis of our game is more short combinations.”
So we need a team with talent and heart today to beat Chelsea, and we could do with some goalscorers too after failing to score against them in our last six meetings. Despite this the bookies still make Arsenal the favourites to win. Also, if you want to place a wager on Arsenal and reside in Nigeria, visit FanBet for the leading sports betting sites available to you. As a first time player you are eligible for excellent free bonus offers.
So here is my predicted line-up for today….
Bellerin – Kos – Mustafi – Monreal
Coquelin – Xhaka
Theo – Ozil – Iwobi
That is quite defensive, but with the ability to attack quickly and in numbers. Wenger knows he has to stop Chelsea’s counter-attacking tactics as well. “I believe that Conte has moved to a 4-3-3,” said Wenger. “He has very strong defensive solidity and the pace they have on the flanks with Hazard and Willian and with Diego Costa up front makes them dangerous every time they win the ball back.
“They are the players who have the main responsibility to create offensive danger. We have, of course, to keep them quiet.”
I have the feeling that this game is going to be very tight from the start, and I am banking on it still being 0-0 at half-time. It will open up in the second half as both teams go for the win, and we can wear Chelsea down towards the end. I’m going to say we will win 2-1 in a frenetic second half!