Hello el Positivista!
Arsenal is kicking off 2018 with the Emirates the stage as we welcome London rivals Chelsea.
The Blues come into this match with great form and an extra day’s rest, we, of course, got winded by the Hawthorns con-job and, well, we also haven’t exactly been vintage these last few weeks.
However, I don’t think any of that matters. This is a derby and like most, if not all derbies, it should be looked at in isolation as there are more than just the 3 points at stake. There’s the matter of pride and bragging rights as both set of players usually give that bit extra of themselves. And permitted referees don’t go into the match with “a gameplan” to allow elbowing, amongst others – because apparently it add to the “theatre” – more often than not the team that wants it more get the result.
In recent history Arsenal has been that team that wanted it more. Which is why I feel we shouldn’t be filled with too much apprehension when our players walk out on the Emirates pitch tonight.
This match is the measuring stick for Arsenal as far as the PL is concerned, so there will be hopes of leaving the Emirates feeling good about ourselves on having given a good account of us and our status, by putting on a decent display and preferably get a good result as the battle for Champions League qualification intensifies.
Do that and I’m pretty confident we can kick on to enjoy a really productive 2nd half of the season.
On team news: a decision on whether Mesut Özil will make the matchday squad will only be made later today, and we’ve lost Kolašinac and Koscielny too during the battle at the ‘Thorns, so I guess our tactics will be altered to keep things more tight at the back and not play to high a line. Playing uncharactically from deep and lobbing balls over the top to try and get Chelsea on the counter.
Wouldn’t that be something having Alexis, Alexandre and either Theo or Danny chasing down long balls.
The Emirates crowd has been the backbone this season so I expect there to be a reaction from them after events these last few days to make life very uncomfortable for the match officials. It’s time for us to fight back as one. Don’t make Arsène Wenger feel that he is on his own.
Enjoy the game everyone.