A guest post from @anicoll5
Good morning from a sunny and mild Norfolk morning. Very pleasant.
A fixture we had all marked in our diary has finally arrived, and for that I am thankful.
Reading the media this week, and dipping into the frantic noise that makes up the sporting social media, I was struck by the Chelsea v Arsenal game broken down by contributors into a series of contests, the gigantic and the personal. The final Clash Of Footballing Civilisations, Good v Evil, The Oligarch v the Self Sustainers (Roman v Stan), Loyalty v Lucre, the beautiful football of Wenger pitted against the pragmatic brutalism of Mourinho etc. And then of course there is eternally circular the Fabregas/Smabregas theme.
Underneath the avalanche I sense a whisp of fear among some Arsenal fans, still reeling from the lashing of the 22nd March. I spy with my little eye a Chelsea quietly confident that they will sit nine points above us by 4 p.m. today
Resist this nonsense if any exist among you Positivistas, put aside anxiety.
Two very talented football sides will take the field this afternoon, both packed with players from all over the planet who have developed and perfected their skills for just this day. And each player knows he will have seconds, literally just seconds over the 90 minutes to display their talents. Chelsea are the bigger, the muscular, of the sides, but with the ugly rapier of Costa as their weapon of choice (hamstrings permitting). We have the speed and the quality of sharp passing, sufficient to open the lock on the gates of St Peter. Eight goals on our previous three games suggests that we know where the goal is. Two strong defences, two good keepers, little to choose between them.
Where will the contest be decided then ?
It will be decided in the collective mind, among the players who temper the quality of their play with discipline, who take the fleeting opportunities that will come their way, and chances will come as they always do for both sides. And should misfortune come their way, a stray pass intercepted, an ungiven foul, even worse a goal conceded, it is the side that ignores that setback, does not panic or lie on the ground waving their arms and yelling at Fate, or Martin Atkinson, that will prevail this afternoon.
“There are no tricks in plain and simple faith.”
So let that brotherhood of thought and mind be Arsenal this afternoon.
Enjoy the game !