View From the Enemy – Arsenal v Chelsea Tactical Preview and Team news

It wouldn’t be matchday without our View From The Enemy, so here is our first one of the new season from the official Chelsea website.

We have had mixed results against the Champions in the last year, but this tactical preview describes that the match will be won or lost by who controls the midfield on the day….


This showpiece is notoriously difficult to predict as coaches are training their squads to reach peak fitness a week later. For various reasons, it might be wrong to draw too many conclusions from the two most recent encounters – the FA Cup final, which went Arsenal’s way, and the recent friendly in Beijing, which the Blues won with great ease.

However, it is worth noting that midfield is usually the battleground that decides the war when these two meet. At Wembley last time out, Arsenal successfully bypassed that usually strong area of the surprisingly lacklustre champions, lifting the ball long to advanced players on the flank.

In China, the Blues duo of N’Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas commanded the game for a long period, with Michy Batshuayi maintaining his fine run of goals in a 3-0 victory.

Of course, Antonio Conte was unable to call on midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, nor record fee striker Alvaro Morata, or versatile defender Antonio Rudiger at that time. Another new signing, goalkeeper Willy Caballero did, though, keep a second-half clean sheet.

Arsenal have been less active in the transfer market. Six-foot-tall Sead Kolasinac, a Bosnia international defender, has arrived from Schalke, and Alexandre Lacazette joined from Lyon.

At 5ft 7in, Lacazette might be considered short for a Premier League centre-forward, but the 26-year-old hit 27 league goals in France last season, two of them headers.

Squad news

Unavailable for Chelsea

Tiemoue Bakayoko (knee)
Eden Hazard (ankle)

Santi Cazorla (calf)
Francis Coquelin (ankle)

Mesut Ozil (ankle)
Aaron Ramsey (muscular)

There are no suspensions. Victor Moses is eligible to play as his one-match suspension for his red card in the FA Cup final will be against Burnley next week. Likewise, Laurent Koscielny will serve his two suspensions for the Gunners’ opening two league games.

So who will win the midfield battle? Can Ramsey and Xhaka, who played so well together in the FA Cup Final, control the game? They will be backed up by the Ox and Kolasinac down the flanks, and I like the look of that! Do you think they can win us the game, with Lacazette scoring yet again?



  1. Akaymoney says:

    I want to see arsenal beat Chelsea not because of the cup only but also because am always happy anytime we beat them

  2. gotanidea says:

    If Chelsea uses Kante and Fabregas in the middle, I believe Ramsey and Xhaka can dominate them.

    My only concern is Welbeck doesn’t play as a striker. He often disturbed Chelsea’s defense with his work rate and runs in the FA Cup final, so I think Arsenal should use the same strategy.

  3. terrahbuller says:

    I see arsenal winning this game 3 goals to nil.coyg

  4. waal2waal says:


    1. Simon says:

      Must go to penalties if draw – right!?

      1. waal2waal says:

        …Probably. At that point it’d be really exciting.

  5. Declan the Gooner dog says:

    Didn’t realise Laca was that short, 5′-7″ (1.7m), is this correct? ?

  6. Simon says:

    Well beck did do well in that game, but don’t expect him to start today. Very interested to see Wengers line up

  7. Twig says:

    Looks like an easy afternoon for Conte’s men

    1. Dee23 says:

      What are you basing that on? Chelsea are with out Tiemoue Bakayoko and Eden Hazard. Arsenal have as good a chance of winning as they do.

      The disbelief in Arsenal is astonishing. Even Westham fans have more belief in their squad going into games against Chelsea.

      Arsenal were written off going into games against United,City and Chelsea last season and we came through. If people don’t even think we are capable of beating Chelsea in a community shield why do those same fans believe we should be competing for the title and complain when we don’t win the league?

      No one complains when Westham don’t win the league. With their squad they aren’t expected to. We get stick because of the players we have, we should be doing better because we are capable of doing better.

      On paper our squad is every bit as good as the squad Chelsea have available today. This game can go either way and I believe we can win.

      You can’t base how today will play out on the friendly we had back in China for reasons to obvious to go into.

  8. John Ibrahim says:

    We should be using this match to improve our strengths and identify our weakness

    We have won in the past and during the season we lost to the same team in the league

    Should not risk an injury over a friendly Shield game

  9. HA559 says:

    Chelsea playing with almost their best available team. Wenger still experimenting with fringe players in the first team.

    The lineup is just made on pace. Xhaka will be the only one to find passes as well as both wingback. Thats it.

  10. Waal2waal says:


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