Arsenal v Chelsea

This is likely to be our last ever visit to Highbury before the Gunners up sticks to nearby Ashburton Grove, aka the Emirates Stadium. What better time to break the Highbury hoodoo (we’ve never won a Premiership match on Arsenal’s turf).

The Gunners poor away form (played eight, won one, drawn two and lost five) has left them eighth in the table; they have lost their last two matches to Bolton and Newcastle. However their record at home during the current campaign is seven wins out of seven. Take into account our awful record at the Library — fifteen years without a win — and the draw looks a good bet.

Team news is that Claude Makelele returned to training this week. The Frenchman injured a knee during the Newcastle match a month ago. Whether he’ll be risked today is unclear. Damien Duff was withdrawn from last weekend’s Wigan match with an Achilles injury and is Jose Mourinho’s only new concern.

Prediction: We have beaten Arsenal twice already this season, 2-1 in the Community Shield and 1-0 in the corresponding fixture at the Bridge (Drogba scored all three), and a win today would all but end their slim hopes of winning the title. A loss would see Man United remain just six points behind us in second place.

The general consensus is that the Gunners don’t like the physical aspects of the game; both Bolton and Newcastle ruffled their feathers somewhat and came away with all three points. (I read on an Arsenal website this week that poor refereeing is to blame. Apparently it has nothing to do with the fact that the players don’t like it up ’em.) Whether Mourinho chooses such an approach remains to be seen, but previous encounters have not deteriorated into the kickathons we associate with Arsenal/Man United matches.

A draw is the likeliest result when taking into consideration our poor record at the Library, Arsenal’s home record this season and the fact that we haven’t yet hit top form. 1-1.

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Arsenal 0 – 2 Chelsea · Update

I’ve imbibed far too much alcohol to give an objective view of this afternoon’s events…

Download the highlights here (zip file).

Match reports: BBC Sport; Sky Sports; ESPNSoccernet; Sporting Life; Official Chelsea FC Website; The Times; The Independent; The Guardian; Daily Telegraph.

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