A lot has been said over the years about the battle between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. With the Portuguese tactician dominating the frugal Frenchman in head-to-head fixtures, it seemed that there was just no end in sight for the Gunners.
Victory in the Community Shield last month may have lifted some pressure off Arsene Wenger’s back after finally defeating Mou, but an official Premier League match is a completely different story. Will AW be able to prepare his players mentally for this fixture at Stamford Bridge the same way he did at Wembley, especially after a frustrating defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League?
For my own sanity and health, as well as all other Arsenal fans, we can only hope that the Frenchman can get it all right at the Bridge.
In order to do that, he will need to figure out how to best take advantage of a Chelsea side that is struggling this season. What are the chances that Le Prof contacted Alan Pardew and Roberto Martinez for some tips on how to take down the Arrogant One?
If Crystal Palace & Everton can do it, why the hell does Arsenal struggle to make it happen?
This could possibly be one of AW’s best chances to take down the Blues in their own backyard, in an official match. Did you hear me Arsene Wenger? While the Gunners may show signs of weakness at times, this Chelsea squad is full of them this season, which is a bit surprising.
Listening to SiriusXM FC & TalkSport all week, it baffled me to hear commentators & callers alike talking about how Chelsea just doesn’t have the team this year. Wait a minute, did I just hear you say Chelsea doesn’t have THE team this year? By THE, you’re referring to not having enough resources to put together a similar campaign as last year?
Well, that’s odd.
After looking over Chelsea’s transfer sheet this Summer, who could they possibly have sold or parted ways with that was so fundamental to the team that without them they can’t function? Apart from Petr Cech, who else left that was a regular starter? Drogba and Filipe Luis certainly weren’t. Oh, maybe Chelsea doesn’t have THE team because they got rid of Thorgan Hazard? George Brady? Gael Kakuta? Josh McEachran? No no no, it was definitely Oriel Romeu right?
How about we talk about those same fans and commentators saying how Ivanovic is past it, and it’s time to part ways with the Serbian. Or how Zouma isn’t cut out for a club like Chelsea. But, if I recall correctly, last season, Zouma and Ivanovic were some of the greatest assets on this earth according to those same fans. Now, after five matches, it’s time for them to go. How’s Cesc working out for you? Is he still there? We haven’t seen him in a while!
You don’t have the team, yet you didn’t lose any core players from last year, and let us not forget you also added some pieces to the puzzle, with Pedro being the most notable one.
So again, please entertain me with your comments about not having the team to make it happen. Go on, I want to hear all about it.
That is one of the main reasons why Arsene Wenger has a great chance to stick it to one of his biggest rivals in the game, apart from Sir Alex Ferguson. Let’s face it, him and Mou hate each other, that’s more than obvious. If it wasn’t for all the media, they’d both very likely be content with not even shaking hands before or after the match.
This has to be the one! That match where Arsene Wenger can finally walk down the tunnel after the final whistle with a giddy smile on his face, knowing that he finally got the upper hand on Mourinho. In order to do that, he’s going to have to start by bringing Bellerin and Monreal back into the starting XI.
Who the hell would have thought that fans would be calling for Nacho Monreal to start? I sure as hell didn’t, but last year he really settled into the team very well, and of course, so did Bellerin. They are both a must in the starting squad, with Koscielny and Gabriel anchoring the back four. Sorry Mertesacker, but these two could really be an incredible pairing if they have a little bit more time to work together.
The big question in the squad is going to be up top. Do you start Olivier Giroud, or does the speedy Walcott get another chance? He did start in the Community Shield and scored. Another goal last week against Stoke City gave him some added value in the squad, so who’s it going to be Wenger? Do you go with the big guy who can hold up play and can be more physical, or will it be the shorter Englishman who’s so fast at times the damn ball can’t even keep up with him?
Personally, I think Giroud’s confidence is shot, therefore start Walcott and then bring on Giroud if needed in the second half. Just please do us all a favor, don’t reinvent the wheel. Keep it simple, and if all else fails, a point would suffice, although I’d prefer all three.
What To Expect
With Chelsea being the home team coupled with their poor form, they will feel the pressure to make things happen early on. Failure to do so will frustrate the fans, but we all know Mourinho doesn’t really care about that.
I’m thinking the hosts will come out a bit timid as will Arsenal, with both teams trying to feel each other out, not wanting to give up an early goal. That could potentially set us up with a boring 90 minutes, but I’m convinced that the Arsenal squad will sense weakness in the Chelsea back-four and could decide to go for it. That strategy could play into what Mourinho likes, being able to hit them on the counter, but being the home team, if he parks the bus, it could be a long 90 minutes for him, and Roman Abramovich who will likely be watching from the stands.
Although most are expecting something along the lines of a one goal match, or even a one goal draw, I’m going to go out on the limb and predict Arsene Wenger’s first official victory over Mourinho. A 1-2 victory for the visitors, and, I’ll leave you with this question – Will a poor performance and a draw, or a defeat put an end to Mourinho’s time at Chelsea?