Chelsea-Arsenal. Live-Blog Tomorrow, Preview Today.

Wembley’s Been Good.  Is Stamford (a) Bridge Too Far?

We shall see.  Please join us in the comments section at game-time for some in-match impressions.  Due to the early start–5:30 am my time–there won’t be time for any sort of preamble or preview.  The machine comes on with a timer, but pulling myself my (first) espresso at that hour will be tough enough.  As such, here’s your lot…

Much has been made of our struggles in “big away matches” and even more about our past five trips to Stamford Bridge, all of them losses, and featuring a collective scoreline of 15-2.  Ouch.  I prefer to think of our two most recent matches vs Chelsea, but, admittedly, those were at Wembley.  Truth be told, both clubs didn’t have the most convincing summers and Chelsea actually had the worse opening day, losing at the Bridge to Burnley.  They’ve since righted the ship–including a strong win at Wembley over Spurs–and sit just a point below the Mancunian league leaders going into the 5th weekend of play.

As Gooners, as per usual, our own issues are the focus and two losses (and no goals) in our other road matches does not bode well for the trip across town.  We’ll just have to do something about that, I guess, and we might be at least somewhat buoyed by our come-from-behind win against Cologne on Thursday night in our Europa League opener.  That it came in a crazed atmosphere–after a delayed start due to an excess of inebriated away supporters–might just help us prepare for other, er, challenges, including playing Chelsea in their stadium.  Again, we shall see.

Just as Chelsea will present stronger opposition, so too will Arsenal be putting out a stronger team.  Here’s the group I think will start at Stamford Bridge.

Cech

Koscielny–Mustafi–Monreal

Bellerin–Xhaka–Ramsey–Kolasinac

Ozil–Lacazette–Welbeck

Substitutes: Ospina, Holding, Elneny, Wilshere, Alexis, Walcott, Giroud

Keen observers will note that it’s the same group who started vs Bournemouth last Saturday.  More hysterical types will be saying, “Alexis on the bench, WTF!!!”

Of course, we’ll have to see what Wenger does, but I think Alexis, having played his first full 90 minute match, will be looked to for the final half-hour–whether goals are needed or not.  As always, however, what do I know?  Who would you start and why?  Any changes to the 18 names I’ve listed?  And what about formation?  We’ve been starting matches with a back three but finishing them playing four at the back, and, if Thursday is any example, we appear far more comfortable once the switch is made.

My thought is that this match comes just a bit too early and that we’re still reeling from the ugly end to our transfer window dealings–and non-dealings–plus the debacle that was our trip to Liverpool.  Defending first has to be a mantra for this one, hence the three (or is it five?…) at the back.  For me, Alexis’ contributions in that formation has, thus far at least, been a mess, another reason to hold him out until later on.   In my view, despite the competition obviously being much tougher, we need to build upon our win over Bournemouth and try to move forward from there.

Those are mine.  What are your thoughts headed into the match?

Let’s be having them–in the comment section below and tomorrow on the Live-Blog…

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

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15 Responses to Chelsea-Arsenal. Live-Blog Tomorrow, Preview Today.

  1. Jnyc says:

    17, make sure you allow yourself to enjoy the match while live-blogging. I think the commentary is great. Better than I’ve seen when i had to follow on major newspaper websites or goal .com when i couldn’t watch live.
    For the team..i hope we’re focused on trying to keep it tight, close, and just hope our quality can get us a winner late. We always create chances.

  2. 17highburyterrace says:

    I do enjoy the game(s) and sorta feel like my first impressions are at least as good as my later ones–which could be clouded by commentary, punditry and the like. That said, I always like to hear what others are thinking during the match, you know, before the result is the only thing that defines the TRUTH. Luckily, I can more or less “touch-type” (watch while writing…) and I feel forever grateful that I took that typing–now probably called keyboarding–class back when I was a youth… But that’s probably giving away what a codger I am… 😀

    Yeah, tight at the back… Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ve quite mastered it against the better teams and need a bit of luck (bad finishing from the opponent…) to make it work. The first goal is critical (getting it, that is…) as both teams will prefer to play on the counter, ideally working the ball through the middle of the pitch. That Kante fellow is awfully good that way and players like Cesc and Willian can spot both passing and shooting opportunities. Morata, thus far, looks like he can rise up for a header in England, though he also seemed pretty handy with his feet (if that isn’t an oxymoron…) when I saw him with RM and Juve. Then there’s Pedro and Hazard too, plus the big defender guy (Marcos Alonzo) who clocked Bellerin last time we played there… They can play at a pretty high tempo if they’re allowed to do so given the quality of the players at the club–just as you’d expect with an Oily-garch’s money at the ready…

    Not an easy task, I fear…

  3. Goonereris says:

    It would seem Ozil is out of this one as it is reported he didn’t train today. That leaves us a chance to play in a 4-2-3-1, with Elneny and Xhaka in CM and Ramsey as a fluid 10. We can then have a front 3 of Welbeck, Lacazette and Sanchez. Back 4 should have Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny and Kolasinac. Monreal played 90 minutes in midweek and should be on the bench.

    That will be both pragmatic and dangerous in forward areas.

  4. Jnyc says:

    Eris that’s exactly the kind of the line up I was envisioning.

    17, i actually like to note my first impressions vs later overall view. It keeps me honest when I’m too quick to criticize, and sometimes reinforces my views. Then I compare with the observant crew of Bergkampesque.

    I hope we can make a statement tomorrow.

  5. St. Henry says:

    Nice preview 17o! 👍
    Will be a good intense game; one I hope will not be affected by refereeing decisions (unless it is in our favor of course! 😀). I suspect your line-up will be what will start the game. Interesting that the key additions for the two sides in 2017: Laca vs Morata and the hulk vs Bako. Overall, I think Morata is the better player over Costa and so hope that the SKM back three will neutralize him as we did Costa in the FA cup. Waiting eagerly for the OWL show tomorrow! 😆

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    That sort of line-up works, except, you know, for us being without our best player… (Ozil, IMO…though, of course, I also rate Elneny…)

    Indeed, Saintly, re: the ref… With all the money flying around in football, don’t a few refs have to be on the take?… That said, Michael Oliver was good to us in an away victory against a “big” team (ManU) a few years back (albeit “only” in the FA Cup…) when he sent off Angel di Maria after he argued his yellow given for diving… Speaking of which, isn’t about time a result goes the wrong way due to a dive/pen and the player is sanctioned afterwards according to the new rule? I’m calling it now. Chavs 1-Arsenal 1 (2 points stolen) by a Spanish player… Hmmmm… Costa? No… Pedro? No… Morata, No… (Azpilicueta, Marcos? No and No)… Cesc?… Hmmmm… Something like that might have to be considered the ultimate stab-in-the-Arse?… 😦 😀

  7. Pony Eye says:

    HT … good preview. I’d go with your selection. But if Ozil is going to be absent, Wenger would likely bring in Sanchez. So we will have Sanchez, Lacaz and Welbz as our front 3.

    I have an idea which I expect everybofy to scoff at, possibly becsuse of Xhaka’s tough looking jaw line that invokes “in the thick of battle bloke with nothing to do with things silky”. The truth is that Xhaka is tops in executing well weigted passes and possibly should be heir to Ozil as our creative final third passer. Of course I know that would be at the expense of his deep playmaker role. Elneny joins Rambo in CM. He’s been stereotyped, so I know this will never come to pass even though he has already managed a few exquisite final third assists (to Sanchez, Rambo …. off memory).

  8. Pony Eye says:

    It might be smarter for us to play 3:5:2. Our central tactics should be to bamboozle Chelsea’s CM pair of Nkante and Bakayoko with quick passing and movement. Those two are tacklers and tacklers need targets which wouldn’t be there if there is quick movement of the ball. 3 in our CM assure that critical ball movement.

    With 3 CM, our outlet for attacking would be mostly through the WB with one of CM (Ramb) making late runs to cause front overload.

    My team and formation:

    ———-Cech———-
    —Kos–Musti—Nacho—-
    Bel-Ramb-Eln-Xhak-Kola
    ——-Lacaz—Alexis——–

  9. Pony Eye says:

    Eris ….. the reason the 4 at the back without a dedicated DM worries me, is because our full backs are and operate as wing backs so that in fact we end up with 2 at the back. Not against Chls!

  10. Jnyc says:

    Arsene getting too cute with these big game team selections. I hope somehow it works better than the genius team against liverpool.

  11. retsub1 says:

    17 ht. I will be honest I only look at the blog when something controversial action. I am to keyed up whilst the game is on (assuming it’s on TV)

    If we are going to win today, it’s not going to be pretty. I don’t think this a game for Ozil anyway (wait for abuse) as he rarely produces the goods in games like this. If we are going to win we will need to graft out the points. I don’t think Wenger will do it, but your boy Elneny should be considered. Personally I would play Alexis and save Welbeck for later.

    I have two wishers for today

    1. An Arsenal win

    And 2 I would like to see Bellerin kick Alonso into row Z

  12. Pony Eye says:

    Confirmed

    Cech
    Kos Must Nacho
    Bel Ramb Xhak Kola
    Iwobi Lacaz Welbz

    Sensible with Sanchez playing 90min on thurs.

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    Early here… and some trouble with my keyboard… Nonetheless…

    New Post…

  14. Goonereris says:

    COYG!

    Possibly, it may be too much for Alexis to start this one, but he will come on later and hopefully, so will Elneny and Giroud. Iwobi has to “play” today! Commentaries are already sounding like announcing our obituary. Incredible.

  15. henrychan says:

    I think Lacazette and Iwobi must changes.. We need Giroud and Sanchez..

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