The longest unbeaten run for the league leaders is over. It ended when they lost 1-0 to Aston Villa, a match full of refereeing controversies.
When the Blues step out of the tunnel at Stamford Bridge on March 22, they would have two ways to go, the title challenge or a story of what could have been.
If they beat Arsenal at the Bridge, the title race is certainly going to be decided in the last week if not on the last day.
Their march towards the title was brought to a momentary halt at Villa Park when they were unable to score against Lambert’s side, in a match where both teams were stretched from end to end.
The title race is in the phase where the heroes will rise to the occasion and wannabes would bow down.
It is important that Mourinho’s men decide to be the former and give it a go, because if they do so now, it’s actually Chelsea who would be losing the title, and that too without a fight.
Galatasaray have been sent back home, with beloved Drogba in the baggage as well, and the Blues now welcome the gunners for a ball game at the Bridge that would go a long way in deciding which team continues to threaten Manchester City for the Barclays Premier League, after all they still have the games at hand.
If Arsenal win here, they get just one point behind Chelsea and surpass Liverpool to the second spot. If they lose, they will be a lost cause, after being on top for the longest period of time, and that would be a hell of Deja-vu for Gunners fans, of collapsed challenges.
If Chelsea win, which should be there least objective being at home, they will be at 69 points, which would again put nine points between them and their most likely challengers.
Despite having a game extra to cover the points, the psychological pressure would still be the same, and that would make Chelsea as much contenders as any other teams and that is what everyone wants, so there is just one way, José.
A draw would be a boon for both Liverpool and Manchester City, effectively ousting Arsenal from the race along with their hosts for the night. So both of the teams would like to go for glory and would like to take all three points home.
Last Five Games (All competitions)
Chelsea 2-0 Galatasaray (UCL)
Aston Villa 1-0 Chelsea (PL)
Chelsea 4-0 Tottenham (PL)
Fulham 1-3 Chelsea (PL)
Galatasaray 1-1 Chelsea (UCL)
Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal (PL)
Bayern Munich 1-1 Arsenal (UCL)
Arsenal 4-1 Everton (FAC)
Stoke City 1-0 Arsenal (PL)
Arsenal 4-1 Sunderland (PL)
Total Games: 181 Chelsea Wins: 57 Arsenal Wins: 71 Draws: 53
David Luiz returned from injury to
take his place on the bench in midweek, meaning that Ashley Cole and Marco van Ginkel are now the only absentees.
Jose Mourinho is likely to start Samuel Eto’o ahead of Fernando Torres in attack, with Matic and David Luiz in the midfield just behind Hazard, Schurrle and Oscar.
Arsenal midfielders Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, and Jack Wilshere are all nursing injuries and will be unavailable for this fixture.
January signing Kim Kallstrom has returned to full fitness and could start from the bench.
Date: March 22, 2014
Time: 12:45 GMT
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Referee: Andre Marriner