When Arsenal travelled to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Premier League in late March, we ended up with our biggest defeat of the season. And after that 6-0 humbling, made even worse by the fact that it was a landmark day for Arsene Wenger and was completely ruined by his arch enemy Jose Mourinho, it was clear that our tactics had been wrong.
The Gunners had already done it before at Anfield, but we did not learn from that thrashing by Liverpool and just repeated the mistake against Chelsea. An early goal saw us throw players forward on the attack and that just opened us up to more goals at the wrong end.
I thought we would have learned our lesson by now and the fact that Arsenal are unbeaten in the league so far this season suggests that we are a tougher team to beat. We have also shown more grit and determination to come back from losing positions, which happened again against Tottenham on Saturday. So we are more confident than the last time we went to Chelsea, but it is still worrying to hear Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as reported by Sky Sports, talking about taking the game to the league leaders and not changing our usual style of play.
The Ox said, “We do understand what happened there last season. Maybe we have got a point to prove there, we know this year we have got to step up in the big games and get some results in them.
“We’re really looking forward to that game and I definitely think we can go there with confidence. We give Chelsea the respect they deserve – but, at the same time, I have belief in my team-mates and we believe in ourselves to be able to go to a place like Chelsea and set the tempo and hopefully take control of the game.
“There will be times in the game, I’m sure, when they have a spell because they are a top team.
““It’s two good sides, they are going to have their time, we are going to have ours. We just have to make sure that when we do have our chances we make them count.
“I think that’s the risk you take when you play the way we play football – we send a lot of bodies forward in a positive and attacking fashion. You do leave yourself, at times, a little bit vulnerable to the counter-attack.
“As a team we do work on trying to stop that at source. Sometimes you do get countered and I think teams maybe set up to do that against us. But, as I said, you can’t have everything. You either don’t send so many bodies forward or you do, and sometimes you can be susceptible to the counter-attack.
“It is something we have always worked on because it is an area I’m sure teams look at to try and break us down. We have got to be ready for that and we will continue to work on it.”
Personally I hope that Wenger does change our approach a bit to make us more solid. Chelsea are a better attacking side this season with Costa and Fabregas and I worry that we could be in for another hiding if we are too adventurous. What do you think Gooners?