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. Now with Nacho and Bellerin fit, I hope we return to the 4231 or some variation of 433.

    Leno
    Bellerin—–Mustafi—-Sokaritis,–Nacho
    Torriera——-Xhaka
    Iwobi——Ozil——–Aubameyang
    Lacazette

  2. That’s hilarious Yogi.
    After all that, you’ve left Ozil out. Has he pulled his plonker. Or are u pulling ours?

  3. Absolutely, ferkov. I’d put Ramsey in for ‘tactical’ reasons. Remember the XI is the one I’d choose; the Ozil scenario is the one facing Emery.

    And for Mike, I’d leave Ozil out because he isn’t delivering. I don’t expect him to score goals aplenty even though he probably should but one assist in the PL? Nowhere near productive enough – Iwobi has 4, Ramsey 6 – so where are these flashes of brilliance?

  4. On this day….. Saturday 3rd April, Arsenal played Chelsea at Highbury.

    ‘Topics of the week’ in the programme leads on the victory in the FA Cup semi final replay over Stoke City with goals by George Graham and Ray Kennedy. This after the tremendous, and for those of us who lived through it, heartstopping ,semi final at Hillsborough when we came back from a two goal deficit with an equalising penalty by Peter Storey in injury time. Elsewhere we see pictures of the Arsenal goals, both of which were scored by Storey, plus the winner by Charlie in the Quarter final against Leicester City. Fine ones they were too.

    As for Chelsea, they had done us a favour with a win over Leeds Utd the previous Saturday but as the writer pointed out, ‘today…They have got their own sights fixed on second place.”

    In ‘The World of Don Howe’ we see the Arsenal Asst. Manager with his wife and children, sitting at his desk, conducting a training session with a clearly knackered |Frank McLintock and planning tactics on a subbuteo pitch. Hands up those who never played subbuteo? I tried introducing the Grandchildren to it, not a success I’m afraid. not digital.

    The Arsenal side that day was:

    Bob Wilson, Pat Rice, Bob McNab, Peter Storey, Frank McLintock, Peter Simpson, George Graham, , John Radford, Ray Kennedy, Charlie George.

    The Chelsea side was, John Phillips, Ron Harris, Eddie McCready, John Hollins, John Dempsey, David Webb, Tommy Baldwin, Alan Hudson, Peter Osgood, Charlie Cooke, Peter Houseman.

    The letters page publishes a bitter letter from an Arsenal season ticket holder rebuking the Club Secretary, Bob Wall, over accusations of selling black market tickets while another fan sings the praises of a friend who never misses a match. “ One thing is certain about todays’ game and that is that Tom Kinsella will be standing on the North Bank cheering his head off for yet another great arsenal victory”.

    I hope you are still with us, Tom.

    I remember that the crowd was huge, over 62000. In the corner between the North Bank and the West Stand we were standing at an angle of 60 degrees. As my father put it, “ Half of those 62000 were on my back, Bert!”

    We went on, of course, to win the Double.

    The Programme of music, played by the Metropolitan Police Band included, ‘Salute to Wales’, and ‘The Cuckoo & the Bumble Bee’. while the ‘Pop Parade Selection’ included ‘All the Things You Are’, sung by Constable Alex Morgan.

  5. YW,

    See Burnley, see Leicester, goals scored through Ozil’s ability to see and pick a pass that nobody else can see or execute that led directly to goals.

    Think he has a different role under Emery, not so much direct assists but plays that pass that leads to a goal.

  6. C,

    If I was to name an 11 from that season, that would have been it. That was the first choice 11. Perhaps Sammels might come in for Charlie occasionally and later Eddie Kelly got a game or two.

    That Chelsea side was a very good one too. They were bery enjoyable to watch and didn’t come with the baggage that they do today.

  7. Leno
    Bellerin—Sokaritis—Kos—sead
    Torriera—xhaka—Guendouzi
    Ramsey—-Lacazette—Aubameyang

    Subs: cech, mustafu, nacho, maitland-niles, elneny, ozil, iwobi

  8. consolsbob,

    Different times for sure, from what I’ve read and heard they played some very good stuff.

    Thanks for history, its always good to hear about those times. It does get me to thinking how those sides would have faired against sides of today.

  9. Maybe a midfield diamond:

    Xhaka
    Torriera—-Guendouzi
    Ramsey

    Personally, that diamond is set up perfectly for Ozil with Torriera and Guendouzi doing the work, Xhaka linking play at the base and Ozil feeding Lacazette and Aubameyang but guess thats just me.

  10. YW:
    Absolutely, ferkov. I’d put Ramsey in for ‘tactical’ reasons. Remember the XI is the one I’d choose; the Ozil scenario is the one facing Emery.

    And for Mike, I’d leave Ozil out because he isn’t delivering. I don’t expect him to score goals aplenty even though he probably should but one assist in the PL? Nowhere near productive enough – Iwobi has 4, Ramsey 6 – so where are these flashes of brilliance?

    I’d debate that, but we’ll see

  11. Perfectly weighted ball by Bellerin and Lacazette puts a brilliant ball in but MOTHERFUCKER, Aubameyang should have scored.

  12. Sokaritis and Kos need to communicate because NO way Hazard should have gotten to that ball with both CB’s standing there and the ball played on the ground.

  13. Lacazette!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Lacazette’s close control is absolutely brilliant! You see why he came through the Lyon ranks as a brilliant winger!

  14. Captain Kos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    From literally a hopefull ball kicked in by Sokaritis!!!! Our CB’s might struggle to defend but that was some good attacking play by them.

  15. Sokaritis does that SOOOO MUCH!!!! He has the attacker going nowhere and then gets way to aggressive and gives up the foul.

  16. He’s French but post AW – I reckon Guendouzi is one of the fastest thinkers in our side. A kind of anti-Ramsey when the ball comes to him

    C:
    Somewhere Arsene is watching and thinking, ” look at the French players I brought in!’

  17. Who knows what happens next, but that first half tells us Unai is capable of pulling a squad out of the doldrums in decisive fashion. It’s great for our guys to learn that they can do this off the back of such a desperate performance a week ago. May help them avoid the collapses of focus in the first place. (One can hope, hey?)

  18. Torreira has been on ferociously good form.

    Interesting that Hector and Sead seem to;have been told to hang back more than they sometimes have – less bombing forward and getting caught behind.

  19. Don’t think I like the Gooners singing Giroud’s name.

    Funny that for as inconsistent as Giroud was and for him not being much of a goal threat, he sits 5th in our glorious history for goals scored.

  20. C,

    I like it – an old friend who was attached to a great song.

    Sokratis deals brilliantly with Willian, and I like dthat he rebuked Guendouzi for not tracking Pedro back into the box.

  21. Iwobi and Maitland-Niles coming on for Lacazette and Ramsey. I get Ramsey, but Lacazette, makes NO FUCKING SENSE!

    Bellerin bombs forward and couldn’t find Lacazette who was WIDE open for a tap-in

  22. Lacazette comes off to boos and immediately turns to his mates on the pitch and the crowd and applauds and tells them to come on lets get on.

    OMFG Bellerin goes down with nobody touching him and screama in pain! Doesn’t look good at all.

    Elneny coming on.

  23. C,
    Agreed, C. He is a talisman. Can only assume Unai knows what he;s doing when he does this to Laca, who clearly hates it.

  24. Have had to watch this match on bien sport with commentary in Arabic, and its perfect, they could be talking bollocks but who cares

  25. Torriera down cramping, you can see why though, he has covered every blade of grass and has literally tackled everything

  26. Great result but really worrying to see Bellerin injured.

    How on earth can that display be correlated with the shit-show we saw at West Ham?

    Was it related to switching from 3 CBs back to 2?

    Who knows, but the biggest change seemed to be attitude.

  27. MikeSA,

    Even tho I far prefer that explanation, it is a mystery how players attitudes change , home v away YW was talking about, but just week to week.
    AMN today looked fully switched on, whilst last week looked like he was on the mazzies.
    … back to the terrible Bellerin thing, AMN looked the part today

  28. So , why aren’t we prepared to pay Rambo less than half what Mesut gets?
    Finances don’t add up to me. Unless we don’t replace him of course.
    Has anybody seen Emile lately??

  29. A very positive performance which proves we can give most teams a game at home & will hopefully give us some much needed confidence.

    If Hector has an ACL (which is a big possibility looking at how he went down) the club will have to stump up for a full back before February as neither Maitland Niles or Lichsteiner are good enough for any sort of extended run in the side.

  30. Our defence has received much criticism so far this season.
    Today, each and every man earned his corn. 😉

  31. I wonder if Unai had any idea how fickle British, and particularly ,arsenal supporters are.
    Anyone there today ,on here… ?
    At 2-0 up it sounded damn quiet. It’s a trust thing, dodododudup.

  32. Great result
    Bellerin injury very annoying
    He is so important to our attack and yet his pace is also comforting defensively
    One step forward…2 back
    But excellent team performance

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