First plays fifth today as Chelsea take on an Arsenal side ten points behind us in the last of our home matches against the ‘big four’.
Arsenal are always a hard team to play, added to a so far unimpressive home record, which has more draws or defeats then is does wins (W3, D3, L1), and last weeks dismal draw to Newcastle, today’s game is always going to be a tough challenge.
A win for us is important to firstly pick up three points against a big four side, but also to put pressure on Liverpool, who are at home to West Ham tomorrow evening. Arsenal are currently fifth but a win today would put them above Villa and potentially Man United too, dependant on their result against Man City.
A win would also damage Arsenal’s title hopes further, giving us a 13 point lead over them, and completing three losses on the trot for Arsenal.
With only one point against the other two of the big four, surely a win is almost essential for morale, if the big four aren’t beaten on our own turf, it doesn’t install confidence for the away matches. On a less important note the DJ is also likely to be running out of patience of not being able to play One Step Beyond.
The last time we met Arsenal we won 2-1, that day we were 1-0 down, but a double substitution inspired a comeback which saw Drogba bagging a brace. The away game could have gone better, with Arsenal winning 1-0.
Didier Drogba is out of todays match, serving the second of his three match suspension. Joe Cole is a doubt Belletti, Carvalho, Essien and di Santo are all out, although Alex is fit again.
Adebayor, Sagna and Nasri are likely to be back for Arsenal.
Chelsea welcome William Gallas back to Stamford Bridge today, last time Drogba asked the fans not to boo Gallas as he gave his all when at Chelsea, a stark contract to Kenyon’s claim that he threatened to score an own goal. The booing is inevitable, as is it the other way with Ashley Cole.