Preview: Arsenal v Chelsea

Cesc Fabregas at Chelsea

Arsenal v Chelsea: The Game
Top of the Premier League form table, Arsenal at the Emirates present formidable opponents on paper at least made even more dangerous by the fact that they have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Throw the returning Cesc Fabregas into the mix and you’ve got all the ingredients for a title run-in blockbuster for the history books. It conjures memories of great Premier League end-to-end games with goals galore, for which the league is famous.

Which is exactly why it won’t be any of the above. For Jose, he’ll have been planning a low key affair and will no doubt expect his plan to be executed to perfection. Nothing less.

In an era where every last detail is exaggerated in the press with the aim of whipping fans of both clubs (and Premier League followers worldwide) into a frenzy, Jose sees the bigger picture and is smarter than to allow himself and his players to get caught up in the fervour.

Cesc Fabregas
This all means that the Cesc Fabregas circus is in fact a welcome side story. It’s his first time back at the Emirates, he’ll most likely start, and the national press have filled their boots at this one-time only opportunity. The perfect distraction – the spotlight on one key player rather than 11 key players. Cesc is taking one for the team.

Jose revealed in his pre-match press conference that he believes Fabregas can handle the mental side of it, and so a player of his caliber should. It’s more likely another Chelsea player will flourish while Cesc remains his industrious recent self.

Dominic Solanke
The excitement of having Solanke on the bench hasn’t subsided quite yet, and having spoken to numerous other Chelsea fans about his recent performances he seems to genuinely be a player that we can get excited about. He’s English too. So much for not heaping too much on young shoulders too soon.

I can’t see him starting though. Drogba’s effect on Arsenal defenders is a great spectacle and he knows what’s involved in a Premier League shut-out that Jose will require of his players at the Emirates. Still, 10 minutes coming off the bench for Solanke will stand him in good stead.

Predictions
For my money I don’t think we’ll have the chance to lift the trophy at the King Power Stadium at Leicester on Wednesday, prepare the open top bus for the weekend after at home to Palace. Mourinho will take his time with killing off Arsenal’s late run at the title, you won’t find him leaving Chelsea exposed at the Emirates to go chasing a win when 3 points for Arsenal will keep their tails up and give the nation’s sports journalists a chance to label us ‘bottlers’.

It won’t be pretty, but it’ll get the job done.

Prediction: Arsenal 1 – 1 Chelsea

Predicted Line-up: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Ramires, Matic, Hazard, Fabregas, Willian, Drogba

Do you disagree? Think we’ll score 6 again? Leave us your predictions in the comments below.