FA Cup Semi Preview - Arsenal at Wembley

Tomorrow Chelsea take on Arsenal at Wembley Stadium, London in the FA Cup Semi Final at 1715 Local time. Its going to be a massive occasion...

Tomorrow Chelsea take on Arsenal at Wembley Stadium, London in the FA Cup Semi Final at 1715 Local time. Its going to be a massive occasion and a massive game for both sides. Both sides come into the game after good results in mid-week in Champions League but at the same time both sides have concerns about their defence but for very different reasons. Arsenal come into the game with players injured and will be out for the game including ex-Chelsea defender Gallas and Gael Clichy out injured. Chelsea however have different concerns about their defence and that's the fact that we have conceded 7 goals in the last two games.

But, this is a Semi-Final with the added spice of Wembley, A London derby and a game that no matter what competition, where its played, is always a game to remember for one reason or another.

There are some key battles in this one that i personally feel will have a MAJOR influence on the result on Saturday:

Terry V Adebayor
Threat of Adebayor: This one will be key for me as whoever gets the better on the day will be the major influence in the game. For me personally, Adebayor doesn't really get the credit he deserves. I was Chelsea a few season's ago for the 1-1 draw when Essien hit a screamer from right back. Adebayor led the line in that game and was superb. His control of the ball is superb and when he is on form he is difficult to stop. JT found it difficult that day and both of them got involved in some "banter" to each other throughout the game.

Solution John Terry.

John Terry will be chomping at the bit to get back playing after sitting in the stands the other night for the game against Liverpool. I have mentioned about their previous meetings and this one will be no different. Don't get me wrong Arsenal will pose all kinds of threats in different area's of the pitch but Adebayor is the main man who they will look to so they can link up play with their midfield. If JT can win the battle against him and negate his play it will have a big influence on the game. No doubt the "Banter"will fly between them once more but this is a battle JT must win!

Fabregas v Lampard
The treat of Fabregas.
Cesc Fabregas is back playing for Arsenal recently and they have become a much bigger threat again with him in the side. He pulls the strings for them in midfield just like Alonso for Liverpool. If you give him time and space he will look to get on the ball and play his passes, through balls and even be a treat inside the box for Arsenal. You give him this and he will cause us constant problems.

Solution : Frank Lampard.
This is another pairing with history and have been known to knock five bells out of each other from time to time. I feel whoever gets on the ball, gets into the game early and begins to dictate the game between them is so so important on Saturday. Now i maybe totally wrong with this one and Chelsea may employ Essien to play on Fabregas the same way he did against Gerrard in the 1st leg the other week, but these two are key. In recent times under Guus, Frank has got himself forward in a much more advanced role. He has become much more of a threat to opposition defenders.Fabregas likes to play the same way but slightly more withdrawn than Lampard. He likes to come alot deeper to fetch the ball and look to start an attack. Whoever gets the better of the other in the early stages could have a big impact on the result on Saturday.

Walcott v Cole
Threat of Walcott
The threat of Theo Walcott is plain to see to everyone who has ever seen him play for Arsenal or for England. His pace is the main danger. He is quick, he isn't scared to take people on and he scores goals too. If he gets one on one with his opposing defender he will have a go and if he gets the better of him early will cause havoc throughout the game.

Solution: Ashley Cole
Now alot of people will argue that we have never seen the Ashley Cole of old in his Arsenal days since he has been at Chelsea. Or that we haven't seen it enough. I am a believer that he is on the right track and is getting better in a Chelsea shirt. He loves these battles in the big games and Saturday is no different. He has done a job on Ronaldo at Old Trafford before now in a Chelsea shirt so he will be well up for it on Saturday. Its important that he imposes himself of Walcott early and puts him under pressure straight away. Whoever gets the better of these two will no doubt have some form of influence on the game.

Drogba v Toure
Kolo Toure is going to be without question the lynchpin at the back Arsenal with all their players that are missing through injury. I feel it will be him on Drogba on Saturday and this battle will play another important part of the outcome. He is a disciplined defender who is underrated in my opinion. For them he needs to win his battle on Saturday. BUT, his battle is with Didier.

More often than not since Scolari has gone we have seen signs of the Didier of old. He has come into the side and scored goals. At times still there is the silly element of going down like he has been shot, to then get up again and moan at the referee like he did in the first half against Liverpool on Tuesday night. A half of football where he was totally ineffective.

But his performance in the second half shows Arsenal and Toure that he will be a handful on Saturday. If Didier can start the game how he finished on Tuesday then this will be massive for Chelsea. At times he will need to be our out-ball and stand strong and hold up the ball to link up with the midfield. If he gets the better of Toure then i can only see problems for Arsenal. If he doesn't i see problems for us.

There will be individual battles that will take place all over the pitch but i believe these are the key ones to look out for during the game. I simply can't see a boring 0-0 extra time and penalties in this one based on the problems we both have in defence.

The one point of note i will add is that Tuesday night for Arsenal is a big game for them against Liverpool. They have got to play all of us in the top three positions in the Premier League and you have to ask yourself the question "will he put all his cards on the table on Saturday or rest players for Tuesday?". I feel Wenger HAS TO because he if does play a weakened side this will play into our hands.

If we can sort out leaking goals for Saturday and become and more solid and compact unit i think we maybe too strong for Arsenal on the counter attack. Let's hope i am right. Come on Chelsea!

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