A big match in name but in truth, considering the kind of football that has brought success to both Chelsea and Arsenal over this season, we’re probably going to see a London with championship implications without too many moments of great, open and flowing football.
Because Arsenal, despite the Arsene Wenger “way” and reputation, are going to win a championship, which goes through at least not losing this visit to Stamford Bridge, by playing gritty, smart, cynical and extremely cautious football. Just like the kind of match we saw from them in their very important win over Spurs, which some mentioned was a return to the old Arsenal ways – a team that did win a couple of championships back in the day, including from that impossible situation they were in with Liverpool in 1989.
And Chelsea? Well, Jose Mourinho is a manager out there to get results. If it means defending for 70 minutes and then only opening up to try and get a goal, so be it. At home Chelsea don’t play that way, but the absence of Willian and Ramires will force him to use Frank Lampard, which means less speed and ability to press high, but it probably means Andre Schurrle in the talent trio with Eden Hazard and Oscar.
Arsenal are going to miss Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere, but not to mention the players like Ramsey and Diaby who have been out for much longer. However, at this stage of the season and considering the kind of football Arsenal need to present in order to come through with the tough job of closing the gap, Ozil not playing isn’t such a bad thing. And Wilshere out? Not a big deal. More time for Mathieu Flamini and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who needs to remain in a central and not wide position, and generally a lot more toughness.
Prediction – Arsenal usually crumble on their visits to Stamford Bridge, and everything about the manager clash and history tells us this is going to be a win for Chelsea, who’ll remain on top of the league.