The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

Starting XI against Chelsea and team news.

John Terry post-slip. Couldn't have happened to a nicer man...

FA Premiership, April 21st: Arsenal Vs Chelsea

Big game greetings, intrepid reader.

Let’s not beat about any bushes here; today’s game against Chelsea is vitally important. I’m not one to put any faith in them being ‘tired’ after their defensive excursions repelling the incessant tippy-tappy Barcelona attacks on Wednesday. No, sir. They’ll be up for this one; expect rotation in the team to give them freshness. Victory puts them right back in the hunt for a top-4 finish, defeat for us certainly opens the door to a nerve-shredding final few games. Mercifully, Drogba won’t be there to terrorise our defenders.

After a tame and unimaginative performance against Wigan, I’m hoping that motivation will take care of itself with this one. When the big guns have come calling at the Emirates, we’ve – mostly – managed to raise our game and put on a show.

There are a few selection problems, however. Mikel Arteta’s calming, productive influence in the centre of midfield will be a huge loss, Yossi Benayoun is ineligible against the club from which he was loaned, and we’re all aware of the absence of Wilshere and Mertesacker.

Of course, it’s not all bad news. Laurent Koscielny makes a very welcome return after serving his two match ban, whilst Gibbs, Diaby and Coquelin are all pushing for selection – Diaby is highly unlikely to be anything other than a body to make up the numbers.

With that in mind, I expect the team to line up thusly:

Szczsney; Gibbs, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Song, Ramsey, Rosicky, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain; van Persie.

The two most important figures will be Song and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Our Cameroonian midfielder can ill afford to leave any gaping holes in the midfield knowing Arteta won’t be there covering his forays into opposition territory. He should contribute to attacks when the situation requires it, but there has to be someone covering the back four. In recent weeks, he’s bounded off upfield only to leave an enormous fucking chasm in front of the defence. If he does that too often today, we’ll get punished.

Oxlade-Chamberlain will frighten seven shades of Christ out of Chelsea’s full-backs. He’s young, extremely gifted and plays without fear. He can really hurt Chelsea if he gets into the game. I expect Chelseas to try and cut off space for our wingers, which invariably leaves Theo massively ineffective . Getting The Ox involved might just turn their attentions away from Theo, who, given some open space, has proven more than a match for Cashley.

Big games like this are often tricky to predict. In a season where peculiar results have occurred on a weekly basis, I’m at a loss to offer a reasonable guess at the scoreline. I’m going to go for a simple 1-0 to Arsenal. I can’t imagine we’ll be having the fireworks and splendour of the 5-3 at Stamford Bridge.

That’s all for today, folks. Enjoy the game from whatever vantage point in whichever part of the globe you reside. The comments await you below, and they’re primed and ready to receive your views on the starting line-up.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @_ArmchairGooner

Category: Match previews
  • Raybyn says:

    Let’s go get em 3-1 мγ prediction

    April 21, 2012 at 9:01 am
  • Maticha says:

    Ox will terrify Terry

    April 21, 2012 at 9:27 am
  • Nicholas Dagamra says:

    surely ox should start the game as he is talented and gifted with lots of skills off the ball and when he has the ball, always expect something special from him….

    April 21, 2012 at 9:41 am
  • abdirizak says:

    arsenal 3 chelsea 0

    April 21, 2012 at 9:41 am
  • kickingsport says:

    Chelsea might not be too tired but I would have hoped they’ve used up all their luck! RdM’s toughened them up though, that’s for sure.

    April 21, 2012 at 9:58 am
  • sekafa says:

    Allez les Gunners, 3-0

    April 21, 2012 at 10:05 am
  • Okunola gbemiga says:

    Is a good line-up to see chamberlain in the first half of the match b/c he’(chamberlain)will put more pressure into chelsea defense.

    April 21, 2012 at 10:17 am
  • nurudeen says:

    very 9ce report but 4 me i will predict arsenal 2 chelvky 1

    April 21, 2012 at 10:26 am
  • offiong says:

    I tnk Gervinho will start ahead of d OX. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if dat doesn’t happen as le fore head has had a sticky ppatch lately. I’m sticking out for 2-1 win

    April 21, 2012 at 10:39 am
  • achodwhite says:

    Wenger should drop gibbs 4santos and ramsy 4diaby

    April 21, 2012 at 10:40 am
  • Matthew Warner says:

    i agree with your selection but think santos will start over gibbs and gervinho over oxo only time will tell fucking love you boys beat these posh ponces please

    April 21, 2012 at 10:48 am
  • Revick says:

    Good line up,i suggest gervihno for the ox due 2 experience.i “ll be watching while taking my beers,cheering 4 arsenal,welcome in tanzania-east africa

    April 21, 2012 at 11:09 am
  • ugochukwu f says:

    common guys arsenal will beat Chelsea especially if winger drop Ramsey on the bench and start with the ox

    April 21, 2012 at 11:14 am
  • Rebanj says:

    I wamt 2 commend u 4 d great work u ve done,but i am confident dat gervinho wil b startin ahead of chaimberlain and santos ahead of gibbs

    April 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

Leave a comment. Go on, you know you wanna...