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Arsenal vs Chelsea

Mikel Arteta 2 Arsenal -lg
The last time Mikel Arteta stepped onto the Emirates Stadium pitch representing the Arsenal, he had his young boys next to him and said an emotional goodbye to the home crowd on a sunny afternoon back in May 2016. He now makes his return to lead the Gunners out as head-coach and what a homecoming it will be.
Bitter rivals: Arsenal host Chelsea as the Premier League’s two youngest coaches go up against each others in this London derby.
Despite the contrasting positions of these sides, this is an important match to both. The Gunners are looking to move out of the bottom half of the league table whereas the Blues are hoping to maintain their top-four place.
The home side come into the game having fought back from a goal down at Bournemouth for a share of the spoils. However, it felt like a missed opportunity as we created more than enough chances that we just couldn’t capitalized on.
Although we only managed to draw, there were still plenty of encouraging signs as the Gunners displayed the type of philosophy Arteta wants them to play. The defense that has been a cause for concern all season have conceded just one goal in our last two outings, and with the midfield trio of Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Mesut Özil all having laudable performances at the Vitality the feeling will be that we are pulling in the right direction.
Now if we stay on this path, keep our focus better and the attackers become just a bit sharper, there’s no reason we shouldn’t see an upturn in results sooner rather than later.
Chelsea come into this game on the back of a 2-0 defeat at home to Southampton. The result would’ve left Frank Lampard a bit red-faced as the fixture pile-up continue to be his side’s undoing after such an impressive start to the campaign, having now lost five of their last seven league matches.
That drop in form has dragged the Blues into a dog-fight with a group of teams for that coveted fourth-spot and Lampard will be well aware that if they don’t see an upswing soon, his side risk dropping down with the points gap so narrow between the fourth and eight-placed teams.
Arteta will view Chelsea’s visit today and Manutd’s on Tuesday as a great opportunity to edge closer to clubs fighting it out for the European competitions qualifying places, ergo his demand of awareness and intensity from the players will be that much higher.
The last time these teams met was the Europa League final in Baku, with Chelsea running out convincing 4-1 winners; a defeat that cost us a Champions League place. Interestingly, of the last seven games against the Blues at home (all competitions), we only lost one (W3, D3). The last four of those encounters we have outscored them 9-3.
Team News
Sokratis Papastathopoulos picked up a head injury at the Vitality and will miss out today’s match and the next following concussion protocols. He joins Kieran Tierney, Sead Kolasinac and Rob Holding.
Dani Ceballos, Hector Bellerìn and Gabriel Martinelli could all be back in contention pending late fitness tests. Coming off the bench on Boxing Day, Nicolas Pepe could be handed a start. Xhaka is rumoured to have missed training with talks of a possible exit, if he does go he will be a massive miss at least for the rest of this season.
Prediction
Given the attacking potential of both sides and their recent history at the Emirates, one could be forgiven for expecting an entertaining game, but with both sides not exactly at the top of their game compounded by the busy schedule… this could get quite scrappy.
Not for lack of trying though as both will be desperate for the win. So this could be one of those enthralling encounters that gets win or lost in midfield.
This being Arteta’s home debut as coach, I keep my fingers crossed the Emirates faithful will makes themselves heard every pass, each tackle, shot at goal and blow of the referee’s whistle.
Get in there Gunners. COYG!
— @LaboGoon

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52 comments on “Arsenal vs Chelsea

  1. Xhaka will be a huge miss. I seriously can’t think of a player we need more at this time. Maybe Leno? It’s a hole we can’t fill from the current roster.

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  2. I most complete performances last seasons were when we had Ramsey and Xhaka in midfield.

    We saw what the loss of Ramsey caused this seasons. Without the possibility Xhaka now too, Arteta would do really well if he can get us at least having a functional midfield from the remaining talent.

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  3. Long-term I’m convinced we can do better at deep-lying midfielder, but this is a dangerous development short-term because the midfield is already thin and there’s been a stupid amount of upheaval in the last 18 months or so. It definitely makes Arteta’s job harder.

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  4. Xhaka talk most unsettling for me. Know it’s common for football fans to be in disbelief at other football fans for seeing things differently, but I just can’t understand how regular watchers, our own fans, don’t realise we are better off with him (and that he’s, whatever his faults, a good player)

    I’m fairly sure there’ve been very few games we’ve played well in without him in recent seasons. Our need for a cm will be urgent if he goes. No matter strength of his desire to leave, if that’s case, don’t see justification for doing that to ourselves, and new manager, mid-season.

    I don’t see a particularly viable midfield from Gunedouzi, Torreira, Willock and Ceballos

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  5. Leno
    Maitland-Niles, Chambers, David Luiz, Saka
    Torreira, Guenduzi
    Nelson, Ozil, Aubameyang
    Lacazette,
    Subs: Martinez, Mavropanos, Mustafi, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Pepe, John-Jules

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  6. Arsenal report Xhaka misses today’s game due to illness

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  7. this is oh so wengeresque

    Mikel Arteta on transfers: We need players back from injuries, first of all, to be more solid, more compact. Then we might need to do one or two things if the right players become available. At the moment I’m more concerned with getting the max out of the players available to us

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  8. Glad to see John-jules on bench. Knocked my hopes a lot to see Xhaka out.

    Best shot at result today just to absolutely go for it? Fast start, high tempo, front foot, get numbers forward?

    Risky stuff, with threat of counters, but think it probably is our best bet.

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  9. Xhaka is almost certainly gone, another victim of our shit fans. His range of passing against Bournemouth was subline and will be sorely missed.
    As more and more of the youngsters make it into the PL matchday 18, John Jules today, we are truely into bare bones territory. I do feel however Mikels arrival has reinvirgorated the squad and we can achieve things we previously could not. We may even see a more solid Matteo today.
    We have only scored 3 times in the PL twice this season and both times against the claret and blue of lowly villa and west ham but if our front line and those feeding them click we may see a stack some time soon COYG.

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  10. seeing as Tyreece John-Jules is in the squad today I will remind people he is the nephew of Danny John-Jules, the Cat in Red Dwarf

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  11. Would be bloody good day for Nelson to really grasp chance and show what he’s got. Don’t think he’s translated obvious talent at youth level into convincing 1st team performances with us just yet.

    Feel we’re still waiting for first huge prem moment from any of the youngsters (Saka at Old Trafford prob best yet) and today would be great day for it.

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  12. always amazing how little our players have to do to get booked compared to our opponents
    Guendouzi booked for something a couple of CFC players have already not been booked for doing the same thing.

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  13. Aubameyangggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg 1-0, an ozil corner headed on by Chambers and PEA heads it in form six yards out

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  14. lacazette fails to get his shot off after a brilliant breakaway, AMN long ball down the side to Nelson, his cross laid off by PEA but Lacca’s first touch not good enough to allow himself to get a shot off

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  15. chambers looks to be seriously injured

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  16. mustafi on for Chambers who hobbles off, Chambers was having a fine game.

    cameras panned to Freddie sitting up in the stands, not sure how much a part of the first team coaching staff he is if sitting up there, unless its to get a different view of the game.

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  17. ref has finally found his yellow card for CFC players, but will he be brave enough to issue a second yellow to the same CFC player, some nasty challenges going in from them

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  18. CFC have gone to a back 4, have brought on Jorginho for emerson

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  19. guendouzi a very lucky boy that his tug on the arm of an cfc player not given as a penalty, fucking stupid and needless thing for him to do

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  20. HT: Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea

    Aubameyang with the goal, and nothing more than our performance warrants.
    20 to 25 minutes of great football from our boys, a goal up, Lacca failed to make it 2 with a great chance, Ozil buzzing, Torreira covering well, Chambers then gets injured, CFC change formation and its got very scrappy.

    We need to take the game to them again at the start of the second half, if we can get 2-0 up I think we could run out 4 or 5-0 winner here. Next goal is vital.

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  21. the Ref needs to be brave enough to issue a second yellow to these CFC guys, some of their tackling has been nasty, also rotational fouling and they are trying to leave one on Ozil too.
    I’d fear that the ref is more likely to give Guendouzi a second yellow than he is to a CFC player.

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  22. Pound for pound ..the absolute best half of football I’ve witnessed from us this season. Wow!

    Yeah it’s s derby but if this is what MA is bringing to the Arse, we should be back where we belong in no time.

    COYG!!!!!!!!

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  23. Refs a shithouse. As per usual

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  24. a scrappy second half where we are not passing the ball well, a big stoppage for a double head injury will see a lot of stoppage time at the end of this game

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  25. 75 minutes, Ozil off, Willock on

    CFC are on top here, Abrahams just had a free header six yards out and hit it straight at Leno

    we need to get passing here again, also ref has allowed this game to get scrappy, allowing CFC to put in niggly fouls all game
    Ref just bottled a second yellow to jorghino, its a disgrace, he instead booked lacca for asking for a second yellow for jorginho

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  26. willock lashes the ball inches wide from a good chance

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  27. lacazette looks out on his feet, maybe time for john-jules debut

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  28. Refereeing is terrible.

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  29. have to sub off lacazette, he is out on his feet, either pepe or JJ needs to be brought on

    fuck sake Leno misjudges a freekick in and its an easy finish into an empty net 1-1, far too fucking easy,

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  30. goal came from a freekick needlessly given away by lacca, can’t believe we have left him on and taken off Nelson with Pepe coming on

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  31. shit defending and we are now losing 2-1, a game we should have won easily with the performance early in the game.

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  32. seven minutes of injury time to be played

    its maddening that jorginho was the scorer of their first goal, after he should have been sent off five minutes earlier, the ref is a disgrace,

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  33. Not only should Jorginho been sent off before scoring, he fouled Torreira before getting to the ball.

    Refereeing was absolutely terrible.

    We will need a huge slice of luck to get out of this rut and the referring makes it virtually impossible.

    Shit.

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  34. Just before their first goal, I said to myself that they were going to equalise and Jorginbho would be the scorer.

    I am sorry that I was right.

    What happened to VAR when the ref makes a glaring error?

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  35. FT: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea

    robbery of the highest order, at the hands of another good old pgmol game manager.

    we played very well in the first half, especially the first 25 minutes. CFC then put in lots of nasty tackles, and got a foothold in the game. At least two of their players should have seen red for second yellows, including their first goal scorer jorginho.
    PEA had given us the lead 13 minutes in. The winner was awful from our perspective, us on attack, they clear it, no one in midfield for us, Mustafi fails to go to Abrahams, he backs off and CFC get a run at us, and a few passes later Abrahams scores

    Lacazette’s level of fitness needs to be called into question, he was struggling badly for the last quarter of the game.
    For me we really did miss Xhaka today, as Guendouzi is all puff and no substance. He bring no control to our play and is poor defensively. If Xhaka was left out for any other reason than the reported illness, and he is leaving, then we really need to bring in top top quality replacement quickly.

    A game today that was so good for so long, ended in failure, and it feels fucking awful. PGMOL are a disgrace, but we’ve known that for some time. How CFC ended that game with 11 men is beyond a joke, its corrupt.

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  36. Jorginho might have got his 2nd yellow if there were a couple of minutes to go, but not before. That’s the pattern over a few hundred games with only a couple of exceptions.

    Atletico Madrid semi showed us what can happen with real refs doing their job honestly, in that it was possible for a player to (deservedly) get double yellow after about ten mins. Here, for us, just can’t happen.

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  37. biggest joke of the day is the stat that AFC had 5 booked, but CFC only had 4 booked

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  38. Brutally painful but there really were positives. A very very good start to game, big commitment throughout, better shape, more confidence on ball, some good individual performances. Torreira maintaining improved form. Ozil really looking the part when we were on front foot. Youngsters acquitted themselves well for me, too.

    Painful to think back on earlier comment about young players and really big moments. I thought Willock had his. Looked extremely close.

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  39. Chambers loss hit us and pretty much brought to end great momentum we had. Their fouls were allowed to pay more than should have been and, with even modicum of consistency, Jorginho had to go for shirt pull. Lack of 2nd probably proved crucial. Always looked likely pressure would count and we’d concede, though manner galling. For 2nd that vulnerability to covering space bit us hard, and remained after as we chased desperately.

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  40. Some surprise Sounness ire reserved for Guendouzi over that pull. Contemptuous of player going down after a pull. Bet my life he is nothing like consistent on it, and simply leaves it at, with conviction, ‘foul’ or ‘right call’ when others, especially Liverpool have those calls in their favour. I didn’t hang around with the cunt but doubt he mentioned there were other bookings in game for same level of offence.

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  41. in 2019 Aubameyang has scored 22 EPL goals, Lacazette is our next best on 12, and then its two players no longer at AFC, Koscielny and Ramsey, both with 3. That tells its own tale,

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  42. Welcome to the bent officialdom of the PL Mikel. Kante should of been sent off first half and jourgino second, plus a multitude of incorrect decisions throughout the match. Some players not booked early on which meant they could carry on fouling and some fouls that weren’t called were mind-blowing.

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  43. josh and raul went to the AFC dressing room after the game

    we play man utd on Wednesday evening, and with Xhaka ill, we don’t know if he will back, Sokratis missed today due to concussion and I think he might have to miss the utd game too, Chambers will now miss that too, lets hope he does not miss much more, Lacca looked very unfit today, and we have so very little scope for changes to our starting 11, as Arteta said earlier, we really need to get some of the injured guys back fit

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  44. from football.london, Arteta’s after game presser

    Arteta on the result
    “I am really disappointed with the result. I’m pleased with a lot of things I have seen and how they buy into what I want.”

    Arteta on Jorginho’s possible red card
    “I think that’s up to you guys. For me it was very clear.”

    Arteta on Leno
    “He will be down and when an error costs points it’s harder. We have to respect what he’s done at the club and get him back on board.”

    Arteta on Freddie
    “It’s physically tough to maintain the level Chelsea had with young players. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to do it.
    “I wanted Freddie to have a different view from us and have a different angle which is important”

    Arteta on Xhaka
    “He played well at Bournemouth and after he started to feel ill and the last two days he’s been in bed.
    “I hope he doesn’t leave.”

    Arteta on Chambers
    “The first signs are not positive.”

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  45. By end of month may well have picture where we can near forget about Europa qualifying through league, let alone CL.

    If so, hopefully get points on board pronto to weird off spectre of Darkest Thing. Do that and hopefully can just enjoy a development sort of period in league, maybe some joy in cups, and long shot of Europa rescuing us on European front.

    Utd home, Palace away, Sheff Utd home, Chelsea away next 4 in league. Even with what I believe is a promising start and improvement with Arteta, still surely in place where we may not pick up many pints from that.

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  46. I am not disappointed, just angry.

    That game was stolen from us by the ref and our fragile confidence will have had another savage blow to it.

    I fear that more of the same is on its way until the league put a stop to it. some hopes.

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  47. Aye, jigsol.

    Countless times in Fergie years Utd were in difficult spot or not looking great in games, raising my hopes, and then a dose of the old reffing luck would come along to help. Handy on day but also boosting confidence, maintaining momentum or regaining it.

    We are the diametric opposite, and that makes it bloody hard in a rebuilding stage, fragile confidence, pretty urgent need of results, etc.

    Hard after a blow such as today but I still feel, or at least am trying to remember that I did feel, Arteta might really be a special enough manager to push us up and out of this (though of course pgmol will always present significant obstacles to our hopes)

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  48. Likewise into the restaurant 1-0, confident for at least a draw. Leave the restaurant 1-2. The same old Arsenal fan stress, deflation, frustration, bewilderment and anger.
    Shame the boost to confidence would have been immense.
    However through all that it seems there were still those green shoots.
    If you take into account Chambers injury, Leno lapse and refereeing could have been different. The performance feedback is positive , whatever, got to stick with Arteta vision.

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  49. That’s a real blow. It will be a real feat if Arteta can lift the team in time for ManU. A couple of players back would help too. Badly need some fresh legs on the flanks in this run.

    Getting the shit kicked out of us killed our momentum around 30 minutes in. Then later we really faded physically. As well as a rough set of fixtures, Arteta has inherited a ton of problems – doesn’t conditioning appear to be a big one?

    Most of the first half was really heartening though. We can look at that and build on it.

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