In a couple of hours we will see THE biggest derby game we have each season, it's Chelsea v Arsenal. Now I know some people will say S...

In a couple of hours we will see THE biggest derby game we have each season, it's Chelsea v Arsenal. Now I know some people will say Spurs is bigger but I disagree purely and simply because of the fact that it's been us two flying the flag for the Londoners in the Premier League since it all started in 91.

Chelsea v Arsenal always has something special no matter if it's at our place or at the Emirates. Form literally goes out of the window in this one and more often than not it comes down to one player producing the goods to get the result.

Last season we shared the spoils as we beat them here and they beat us at the Emirates so it's a difficult one to call this afternoon and once again it could just come down that piece of magic from someone to win it.


You always know what you are going to get when you face Arsenal. Going forward they can create anyone problems and the rest of the Premier League is sitting up and beginning to take notice of the fact that Robin Van Persie is scoring goals on a regular basis once again. He has beaten us before with two goals at the Bridge to win the game and we will have to make sure we keep him quiet this afternoon.

For me, Theo Walcott is wasted out on the wing and should be playing through the middle with RVP but for now will be up against Ashley Cole and this will be a tussle I am looking forward to seeing. Park and Gervinho I haven't seen too much of this season and I would think are still getting used to life in the Premier League.

Today will be about the midfield battle once again and in my opinion looking from the outside in, Alex Song is their most important player at the moment. I know they have Frimpong and the other youngsters coming through, but Song provides experience in the middle, does a fantastic job and will be looking to spoil our passing game and get things going for them this afternoon.

I think we all know that Arsenal have suffered with their defence in recent seasons. Vermaelen is a big plus for them today being their best centre half. It will be interesting to see how the Mertesacker gets on next to him this afternoon up against our forward line.

I am hoping that Szczesny in goal is kept busy this afternoon. Arsenal seem to have solved their goalkeeping problems and he is doing well so far. He is only young and will get better and better.

Forget how they started the season, Arsenal are on form, winning games and scoring goals and ARE a very dangerous animal this afternoon. There is no question we have to up and at it this afternoon against them if we are to get a result today!

(Chelsea fans! Why not go and try the brand new Indian Restaurant in Fulham Broadway The MASALA ZONE after the game today. Opposite Barclays Bank. Mention you saw the advert here!)


I think we are now getting to a point apart from maybe two positions where we can pretty much pick our strongest side now, based on AVB's previous team selections. Normally we would have Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry and Cole as our back four. We know Bosingwa is suspended today so it will be interesting to see what happens there. For me, Ivanovic plays right back and either Luiz or Alex play next to JT.

We all know the issues JT has at the moment but expect a big battling performance this afternoon. I have no doubt he will be up for this one.

I said one or two positions are up for debate, one of them is centre back next to JT and the other is the holding midfield role. The norm for the last few seasons has been Mikel. This season is a different story. AVB wants Chelsea to use the space in between the lines and to move the ball forward quickly and you have to hold your hands up and admit than Meireles seems to do a better job WITH THE BALL in that position.

In addition to Meireles, Romeu has been great there in the games he has played so competition for that position is better than ever.

I would go with Meireles there again today and I am thinking maybe, with being rested in midweek, HE WILL get the nod this afternoon.

We had great news that Ramires is back and available today and he WILL start in my view. His industry in the midfield and energy levels will be needed today and he gets the nod as in most games this season.

Frank Lampard also starts for me once again as he has hit a great run of form of late and his performances from when he was dropped until now have got 100% better. Frank is defiantly back and will be expected to get in and around the box today. The most important thing with Frank is his link up play now with Torres. Look out for that today.

Our front three pick themselves. To be fair, Florent Malouda has been doing well and I have been impressed with his attitude of late. You can tell it's been hard for him to lose his place in the side but he is going about things the right way to get back in. He has played well but will be on the bench once again. Kalou, Drogba and Anelka all need to up their game cause at the moment they just aren't doing it!. It's easy as Drogba is suspended today for that stupid tackle last week!

As I said, the front three pick themselves with Juan Mata starting left, Fernando Torres who is well and truly back on form, through the middle and Danny Sturridge wide right. The movement, link up play and runs off the ball from Torres and Sturridge could open Arsenal up all game and if we play like we did in the first half against Bolton, could score a few goals today.


It's important that Chelsea start much better than we did at QPR last week. To their credit they got in our faces, closed down the space in midfield and made it difficult for us to play our football. Arsenal will do the same today and will look to create us plenty of problems. We have to keep Walcott and Van Persie quiet and shut them down and take them out of the game, if we don't we could be in for trouble. We haven't kept a clean sheet in a while and it would be great to do it today!.

Like I said, this is a difficult one to call with both sides having the potential to beat anyone put in front of them on their day. I am expecting a good, entertaining game this afternoon and I have a feeling their will be plenty of chances.

Let's hope Chelsea play as well as we can and win the game. We need a massive three points and what better time for a Mr Torres to get on the scoresheet once again to give us exactly that!



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