Arsene Wenger got his first chance to see his new-look Arsenal compete against one of the favourite’s for this year’s title; but the hardest test is yet to come. Out of the three main challengers, this weekend’s arrival of the European chapions to the Emirates will prove to be the Gunners’ most difficult game this season.
Man City have struggled to get going this season and were lucky to get a point from last week’s game at the the Etihad, whilst United have started well enough but still have not found their best form.
Chelsea look by far the most impressive side at the moment with Hazard and Oscar proving to be fantastic additions to the squad. With Torres as their main target man and Hazard, Oscar and Mata behind, Chelsea look formidable in the final third. Arsenal’s defence, under the guidance of Steve Bould, will have their hands full this weekend, but there is no better fixture for them to sure that their frailties are behind them.
If Hazard is kept quiet, then the Gunners should be able to shut out the Chelsea front line. However, the back line must be careful when dealing with Hazard. The tricky Belgian has already gained a reputation for hitting the deck far too easily and Arsenal’s defence must make sure they do no dive in or make any rash challenges.
After scoring his first goal for the Gunners mid-week in the Capital One Cup, Arsene Wenger will be hoping that Olivier Giroud can build on this accomplishment and take his confidence into the weekend’s game. Giroud will need to use his strength to give Luiz and Cahill a difficult time. Cazorla will need to be at his best once again, drifting behind the Chelsea midfield and picking the passes to unlock the Blues defence.
The Gunners will need to pick up the victories against their rivals at home if they are to mount a serious title challenge, starting with Saturday’s lunch-time kick-off. Ahead of the game Arsene has spoken of his relief that for the first time in eight years, his side will not be facing Didier Drogba.
“I don’t know if Chelsea miss him, but we don’t miss him. He did a lot of damage against us,” said Wenger.
Arsenal have received a boost ahead of the game with the news that captain Thomas Vermaelen is available for selection this weekend.
Whatever happens this weekend, you can expect a cracker of a game with some of the finest attacking talent around on show. Prediction 2-2.