With the Gooners visiting the Stamford Bridge on Sunday in the much anticipated Premier League clash, we have decided to do an in depth analysis of the Arsenal team in our pre-match Opposition Scouting Report. Here’s what we learned about them:
TEAM AND RECENT FORM:
Arsenal Football Club, currently plying its trade in the Premier League, is based in Holloway, London. With their fans sometimes referred to as “Gooners”, the club is managed by Arsene Wenger since 1996. Mikel Arteta currently captains this Premier League side.
After finishing 4th in the League Table last season, Arsenal currently sit at the fourth spot, having won 2 of their first 6 League games. Interestingly Arsenal is the only team apart from Chelsea who is unbeaten in the League this season. But with 4 draws they sit 6 points behind the leaders in the league table. Yet they should be duly appreciated for holding on to the fourth-place trophy.
Arsenal come to this fixture after a thumping 4-1 win over Galatasaray in the mid-week Champions League game. Though with an inconsistent League form, Arsene Wenger would be well aware of the importance of their Chelsea visit, as a loss would see them 9 points behind the leaders which could be very critical in the race for the League title. That is, if there is actually going to be any kind of race between the Gunners and Chelsea, it has to start now.
FORMATION AND STYLE OF PLAY:
Arsenal has started this season in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Already, a long list of injuries to the key players will probably force Wenger’s team to line up in this way against Chelsea:
With Flamini acting as the lone holder in the mid-field, it will be the job of the AM’s to put pressure on the Chelsea’s defence by playing the free flowing, attacking football that the North Londoners are famous for.
Mesut Ozil will occupy the left wing while the new recruit Sanchez will control the right wing on Sunday. Meanwhile Cazorla would sit behind the lone striker Danny Welbeck. Oxlade-Chamberlain will most probably play the box to box role in the Gooners midfield.
Arsenal’s biggest strength lies in the quality of their Attacking midfield with players like Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez all good enough to penetrate any world class defence with their superb attacking displays.
Sanchez who was bought from Barcelona this summer at an estimated 35M pounds has been the stellar performer so far on the right wing for the Gooners. With his breath-taking dribbling skills and a lightning fast pace, he has been the main threat for the Arsenal side this season. Add to that the incisive passing skills of Ozil and the quality of Cazorla.These attacking midfielders are no doubt the biggest strength for this visiting Arsenal side.
INJURIES AND DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD:
If the attacking midfield is the biggest strength for Arsenal, the Defensive midfield is their Achilles heel. With injury to key player Aaron Ramsey while Wilshere and Arteta are already a doubt for the weekend clash, it will be the job of Flamini to control the defensive side of the midfield.
With the tough job of containing players like Matic and Fabregas in the midfield.This could well turn into a nightmare for Flamini when he lines up against Chelsea on Sunday. The obvious tactics of Jose Mourinho would be to control the game in the centre of the pitch thus cutting-off and isolating the Gooners Attacking midfielders from the rest of the team, just the way he did it last season in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal.
HEAD TO HEAD:
Both the teams have lined up against each other 168 times in all the competitions, Arsenal edging out the duel with 66 wins while Chelsea not much far behind with 54 wins. 48 times the match has ended in a draw.
If we look at the last season’s result when Chelsea played a draw at the Emirates only to completely thrash the unsuspecting Arsenal side 6-0 at the bridge. As a painful reminder for the Frenchman’s fans, it was Arsene Wenger’s 1000th match in-charge of Arsenal.
It’s fair to say with the kind of form Chelsea are in right now (Costa would be starting), 3 points are expected at the bridge while Arsenal would be lucky to salvage a draw on their trip this weekend. Since Mourinho is yet to taste defeat in this derby it isneedless to say an Arsenal thrashing would be awesome.
Edited By: Ojas Tripathy