Hands up if you thought it was a 4.05pm kick-off and decided to watch a street robbery in Las Vegas knowing that you still had plenty of time to write a preview this morning? Yes, me too; c’mon the queue at ‘Thickos ‘R’ Us’ isn’t that long.
Much of what I typed in the wee small hours – why are they ‘wee small’ when the Scots for ‘small’ is ‘wee’ – is redundant-ish. Mesut Özil is out with a muscle injury according to reports I’ve seen through my bleary eyes.
It’s too soon to declare this season over and done with as far as the title race is concerned – not for Arsenal, we were never in it – but the gap to the current leaders of the table is ever-widening. Not because they hit Watford for six or they’ve scored 15 in their last three games. That means nothing; I remember 1991 when Liverpool stuck seven past Derby and a week or two later we laboured to a 2 – 0 win; which side won the title that season?
The gap is the ruthlessness. City possess an attacking verve we lack. In all honesty, unless they are selling a player – Aguero – why do they need Alexis? That’s just a bully putting your face in the sand and then sticking their foot on top of your head.
The danger for City is the same as in the past: they flatter to deceive. Defensively, they aren’t solid but for most games that will be enough. United and Chelsea are different beasts; well-organised and hard-working. They are the genuine threats.
Us, Liverpool and Tottenham are fighting for the order of the top six. Until the managers come up with a cohesive plan to address their squad’s weaknesses, the top three remains a pipedream. Fortunately, winning at the online casino NZ is far easier.
The Discussion About Today’s Game We Might Have Had In 292 Words
The discussion is always about whether it’s Alexis or Welbeck. For this fixture, it’s the wrong discussion. We’re labelled the underdogs at Stamford Bridge today and quite rightly do. Our form in the big matches away from home suggests that underdogs is quite generous..
The onus is on Chelsea to attack and we have to be alive to the opportunities on the counter. With Welbeck on the flank, or facing Alexis, Chelsea’s right-wing back has an element of doubt; he has to be aware of the potential to not only exploit the space he leaves but also the goal threat.
Mesut Özil’s forte is creation. I believe he’s a luxury in this type of match when being direct provides more chance for us to nick a win today. And let’s face it, if we’re going to take three points, they will be pilfered rather than won with a swagger. I’ll say it now: I don’t care how we win, so long as we do.
The question is whether we can do it? Of course we can, it’s whether we believe we can. The television will tell us that Chelsea want revenge for the FA Cup final; they don’t, it’s a media construct. All Chelsea want is three points to sate their title aspirations.
The Cup final angle is just hype, tapping into fans emotions. However, we need the discipline the midfield quartet displayed then to be reproduced from kick-off. If Ramsey goes charging off, cover has to be in place. And he has a responsibility to know when is the right time for those attacks and not be overcome by the adrenaline of the moment.
My line-up for the day is:
Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Sanchez, Lacazette, Welbeck
Aspirations for today are high, hopes are not. Stamford Bridge has long been the graveyard of our dreams. The run of 17 games unbeaten – or whatever it was – seems so long ago. We could even give Chelsea a goal head-start and still be 2 – 1 up by half-time.
Now, memory banks are dredged for wins. Is it still the magnificently barmy 5 – 3? (It is, I’ve just looked). The situation today reminds of 2008/09 more though. We were out of sorts and injury-riven but still conjured up a 2 – 1 victory seemingly out of nowhere.
It’s that kind of spirit we miss on a regular basis. It’s that kind of spirit we need to rediscover on a regular basis if we’re to get back among the challengers again.
Ominously, we lost 2 – 1 to Burnley (then of the Championship) in the League Cup the very next game. That was Wenger’s first defeat to a lower-division side, IIRC. That’s the spirit we still conjure up on a regular basis.
However, today is going to be a good day. We’ve shown that we can beat Chelsea with discipline, hard work and a lot of flair. The Community Shield may be an overblown pre-season friendly but clawing back to 1 – 1 showed more application of effort than the thumping we took last season at Stamford Bridge.
A better result today please.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.