Chelsea Preview: Time For The Jewels In The Crown To Sparkle

Football takes over as Chelsea visit the Emirates. If, as is being claimed, this is an age of austerity at the club, I hope they have turned the heating and hot water off in the away dressing room.

The saving grace of this match is that it is at home. While the form away from home is reverting to last season’s type, we are, for the moment, finding a way to win at home. Or more importantly, contriving ways not to lose.

And that’s the emphasis of this match: must not lose. The art of finishing in the top four this season is patience, waiting for Chelsea to drop points or in the case of Tottenham, dropping even more points in the next five games when their only fit forward is Paco Llorente.

Of course, winning this evening would be a massive plus in the pursuit of that endgame. The question is whether we’re ready for a return to the Champions League?

Financially, it’s a must-have. We’ve seen the problems absence from the competition causes us financially. About three months later than Ivan but we know now why he jumped ship to Milan.

In a footballing sense, we’re far from ready for the Champions League. Our expectations are low anyway after years of defeats to Europe’s elite. Reaching the Round of Sixteen would be a triumph of hope over expectation.

Would Unai Emery’s Arsenal fare any better than Wenger’s? Not at this moment in time and without significant investment, not at all. We know that hence the frustration with current circumstances. Until we get a more balanced squad, we’re stuffed.

But the importance to the club can’t be understated, no matter how detestable the competition. Winning tonight is a movement in the right direction; a necessary step.

Inspiration, Dedication, Perspiation. Everyone’s Got An ‘Ation

Pondering a Champions League future is to run before we can toddle; the serious matter of the Premier League awaits. Tonight is the beginning of a fortnight of testing fixtures. Cardiff taxes the coach’s mind in terms of squad rotation while Chelsea, United and City present more obvious problems.

Emery will, I am sure in my own mind, recall Mesut Ozil for the fixture. He’s out of options to shake up the XI after last weekend’s lacklustre performance. Lacklustre is me being polite; it was beyond lacklustre.

I don’t think Ozil would have made a blind bit of difference to the outcome at West Ham but in the safety of our home environment, this is a match for him to prove his doubters wrong, surely? You can post all those great-looking photos of working out, working hard in the gym all you want. But if you don’t inspire and don’t deliver on the pitch, it’s just posing.

Therein is Mesut’s problem. He isn’t an inspirer; the magic is there but the difference between the world-class and the very good player is mentality, is what they bring out of the rest of the team. I have a narrow definition of the term ‘world-class’ and Ozil could fit it if he inspired. But he doesn’t, not in that sense.

Tonight we need him to. He has to be the outlet, the shining light. The unplayable hour he gave us against Leicester needs to be an unplayable 90 minutes against another team kitted out in all-blue. This will be tougher but with his own motivation to show his value to the team, surely he will produce that performance?

The Deft Touch Of A High-Wire Artiste

The balance of the team will define that. Ozil can play as brilliantly as ever seen but without hard work from others, it will be meaningless. Lucas Torreira’s absence has never been more keenly felt. We perked up last week when he joined the fray.

But that is just two players. Assuming Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both start, there is one attacking place left. Mkhitaryan is injured so ordinarily, it would be Alex Iwobi slotting in. However, in keeping the ‘square pegs in round holes’ philosophy up front, Aaron Ramsey to start on the right would be my call.

The Welshman reportedly signed a pre-contract with Juventus following a successful medical this week. With everyone clear where his future lies, sentimentally, I’d venture we’d like a rambunctious second half of the season to remember him by. For instance, a dozen goals as we triumph in the race for the top four and win the Europa League.

We can dream. Alex Iwobi it is.

Which leaves the line-up:

Leno; Mustafi, Sokratis, Koscielny; Bellerin, Torreira, Xhaka, Monreal; Iwobi, Lacazette, Aubameyang

Time to return to winning ways, gentlemen. And consistent performances. I know you’ve given us consistently inconsistent performances but now I’d really like consistent consistently good performances. And by good, I mean great.

Three points tonight would be a good start.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

109 thoughts on “Chelsea Preview: Time For The Jewels In The Crown To Sparkle

  1. ferkov says:

    YW,

    Wtf?
    That really is out of this world.
    Fuckin bonkers is what we’d say down ere.Like.

  2. Jonnygunner says:

    Ras……..half a day late with my reply….but I was in a lovely little place on the North Norfolk coast called Wells Next the Sea……beautiful.
    However…full of people from Kensington in Range Rovers that say ‘ya ya’ every other bloody word.They all own second houses and have pushed up property prices to an incredible level…….politics aside…I was there with my missus and her Mum for her 80th birthday……is that a good enough reason(excuse)for not even reading the post until now?
    What a win.I drove the mother in law home at breakneck speed and managed to catch the second half.
    How the fuck have we managed to learn how to defend in 6 days?…..just how?
    If we’d have played like this all season(and taken our chances),we could be up near the top of the shop.
    It would appear that ability is not in question,but attitude (and mindset)is.
    Hector will be a big miss-Ainsley can’t fill his boots for the next foreseeable period,and the Swiss just doesn’t cut it.
    Kos was supersonic today(and credit to Socratis).For me,the jury’s still out on Granit,he gives away stupid free kicks with petty fouls when he’s in no danger at all.Guendouzi played well(especially as he’s only 19)-but has a tendency to let the ball ‘run past him’……a la Jack Wilshere….but very often gets found out…and goes to ground.When we don’t get the free kick we’re in the shit as he’s eating the grass and the opposition are away with the ball.I think people are reading him a bit too easily now.
    Lacazette-he da Man 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
    As an aside -Paul Merson…..kicks our Club more than Stoke did.

  3. Bill says:

    Great preview as usual Yogi

    Big blizzard here yesterday and an awesome powder day today. Recorded and just finished watching the game. Awesome result. 4th place is back to being a possibility. Much better performance on both ends of the pitch. We certainly did not lack for creativity today. I don’t think the performance had anything to do with different personnel on the pitch or a different formation. The difference today was in the gray matter between the players ears. Hopefully that gray matter will function properly for the rest of the season and give us a chance to nick 4th place.

    Chelsea desperately need a striker who can score goals.

  4. Bill says:

    Lacazette is really good and I have no idea why Emery rarely gives him 90 minutes. He is certainly more effective then any options on our team not named pea. However, he has to be more consistent in terms of scoring goals in order for us to have any chance to finish in the top 4.

  5. Noon Gunner says:

    Bill,

    I’m with you, Bill in being puzzled about Laca’s frequent subbing, but not on his contribution (your focus on ‘scoring goals’). From the Guardian’s Barney Ronay (and he’s probably reliable, although most certainly a reliably great read): “Lacazette has completed 90 minutes for Arsenal once since 11 November, although he has now scored eight Premier League goals and assisted five this season having made only 14 starts.” There’s always room for improvement, sure, but if Unai shares your opinion that he needs frequent chastisement (i.e. substitution) to bring a proper level of contribution from him…well I’m lost. And yesterday’s game was surely not the occasion to bring out the whip. Someone who was at the game said he looked done in after 65 minutes of racing up and down the pitch.

  6. Ras says:

    Jonnygunner,

    Bonjour Jonny i know too am very familiar with Family comments and being able to be first on the blog.

    My Wife is from BEZIER and the surrounding villages have seen a huge number of Britons arrive over the last 15 years.

  7. Saa says:

    Watched the game 3 times now and does look like laca was puffing a bit… I’m thinking maybe it’s a stamina issue?…. Post match Emery pretty much could not fathom why the performances are poles apart between home and away…it’s definitely leading towards a mental barrier… We probably throw the 2-0 lead if it were at the bridge but at home we a different beast… Even pool we desperate to crawl out of the emirates with a draw even throwing a cb on for Salah in the end… I just don’t get it… Against the big 6 I can understand us losing(not getting battered) but outside that why can’t we the flat track bullies we are at home!!!!!

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