Arsenal v Chelsea Preview/ Line-up: a New CF and Willock to Start?

Arsenal v Chelsea – December 29th, 2019: The Battle of the Former nr8’s: MA08 and FL08!

Chelsea FC was formed on 10 March 1905 in an upstairs room at the Rising Sun pub, Fulham Road. Among the founding directors were millionaire owner Henry Augustus ‘Gus’ Mears, his brother Joseph, and their brother-in-law Henry Boyer, publican Alfred Janes and his nephew Edwin. In 1904, Gus Mears acquired the Stamford Bridge athletics stadium with the aim of turning it into a football ground. An offer to lease it to nearby Fulham was turned down, so Mears opted to found his own club to use the stadium.

The club, the brainchild of another founder, Frederick Parker, would be started from scratch to fill Gus Mears’s ambitious stadium, being built across the road at Stamford Bridge by the architect Archibald Leitch. Scotland international Jacky Robertson was engaged as the fledgling club’s player-manager. In collaboration with Parker, who also engineered Chelsea’s admission to Football League Division Two, Robertson built a squad that included their larger-than-life 23 stone goalkeeper Willie Foulke; the club hired football’s first ball-boys to emphasise his presence. The first game was away on 2 September 1905 at Stockport County in front of a crowd of 7,000. William Foulke, known as ‘Fatty’ became the first Chelsea goalkeeper to save a penalty, but in the melee that followed a wayward County shot was deflected into his own net by Robert McEwan, resulting in a 1- 0 loss.

Former Arsenal and England centre-forward Ted Drake became a manager in 1952 and proceeded to modernise the club. He removed the club’s Chelsea pensioner crest, improved the youth set-up and training regime, rebuilt the side with shrewd signings from the lower divisions and amateur leagues, and led Chelsea to their first major trophy success – the League championship – in 1954–55. The following season saw UEFA create the European Champions’ Cup, but after objections from The Football League and the FA, Chelsea were persuaded to withdraw from the competition before it started. Chelsea failed to build on this success, and spent the remainder of the 1950s in mid-table. Drake was dismissed in 1961 and replaced by player-coach Tommy Docherty.

The current club ownership has stated that a larger stadium is necessary in order for Chelsea to stay competitive with rival clubs who have significantly larger stadia, such as Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United. Owing to its location next to a main road and two railway lines, fans can only enter Stamford Bridge via the Fulham Road exits, which place constraints on expansion due to health and safety regulations. The club have consistently affirmed their desire to keep Chelsea at their current home, but have nonetheless been linked with a move to various nearby sites, including the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Battersea Power Station and the Chelsea Barracks.

In October 2011, a proposal from the club to buy back the freehold to the land on which Stamford Bridge sits was voted down by Chelsea Pitch Owners shareholders. In May 2012, the club made a formal bid to purchase Battersea Power Station, with a view to developing the site into a new stadium, but lost out to a Malaysian consortium. The club subsequently announced plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge into a 60,000-seater stadium, and in January 2017 these plans were approved by Hammersmith and Fulham council.

However, on 31 May 2018, the club released a statement saying that the new stadium project had been put on hold indefinitely, citing “the current unfavourable investment climate.”

We have a winning home record against Chelsea particularly in the Premier League where we have lost only five out of our twenty seven games.

Arsenal V Chelsea Home Games PL
03-Oct-92 1 2 1 1
16-Apr-94 1 1 0 1
15-Oct-94 1 3 1 2
16-Dec-95 1 1 1 0
04-Sep-96 1 3 3 0
08-Feb-98 1 2 0 2
31-Jan-99 1 1 0 1
06-May-00 1 2 1 1
13-Jan-01 1 1 1 0
26-Dec-01 1 2 1 1
01-Jan-03 1 3 2 1
18-Oct-03 1 2 1 1
12-Dec-04 1 2 2 0
18-Dec-05 1 0 2 -2
06-May-07 1 1 1 0
16-Dec-07 1 1 0 1
10-May-09 1 1 4 -3
29-Nov-09 1 0 3 -3
27-Dec-10 1 3 1 2
21-Apr-12 1 0 0 0
29-Sep-12 1 1 2 -1
23-Dec-13 1 0 0 0
26-Apr-15 1 0 0 0
24-Jan-16 1 0 1 -1
24-Sep-16 1 3 0 3
03-Jan-18 1 2 2 0
19-Jan-19 1 2 0 2
Totals 13 9 5 39 30 9


Arsenal v Chelsea All Time Home Results
Division W D L GF GA GD
Div 1 Home 25 14 16 88 68 20
PL Home 13 9 5 39 30 9
Total 38 23 21 127 98 29

Chelsea’s away results for 2019/20 – 

W7, D0, L2. GF26, GA13

Date Team GA GF
Aug-11 Man U 0 4
Aug-24 Norwich 2 3
Sep-14 Wolves 2 5
Oct-06 Southampton 1 4
Oct-26 Burnley 2 4
Nov-02 Watford 1 2
Nov-23 Man C 2 1
Dec-07 Everton 3 1
Dec-22 Spurs 0 2

We have another clash of new managers Arteta v Lampard. As you can see Chelsea has an excellent away record Won 7 and only Lost 2 they have outscored the opposition 26 goals to 13.

I see this game as another part of Arteta’s learning curve and it will be a great opportunity for him to observe his defence against a team that has scored an average of 2.89 away goals per game. The positive note is that Chelsea also give up an average of 1.45 away goals per game – we have the offence (if they click) but will our defence stand up and be counted?


This is Pony Eye’s Preferred Line-Up:

52 thoughts on “Arsenal v Chelsea Preview/ Line-up: a New CF and Willock to Start?

  • I would choose Holding or Mustafi instead Chambers. You can play Chambers in central defence against lesser teams, but against better teams there needs to be somebody who really try to defend instead backing and backing in front of the opposite team forwarder.

  • Thanks GN5. More I read, the more I learn. 🎓

    The only times we’ve lost at home to Chelsea– are the seasons they’ve won the PL. That’s not happening– so I’ll be an optimist, and predict a win for Arsenal. It’s been nearly enough time to deprogram Ennui’s bad habits from the team. Want to see more than keeping shape and resolute defending tomorrow. Would like to see one of the senior players have an impact that guides the team to 3pts. We are due. ⚽


  • Agreed with JW; GN5 we learn from your post every time! Those PL home stats are encouraging. A big challenge nevertheless, but with a bit of luck we can get those very important three points…

  • I would still prefer Nelson over Willock, but maybe we’ll see Arteta doing the unexpected.
    Let’s not give up hope on Bellerin either.

  • Thanks for another brilliantly enlightening preview, GN5. The records favour us but the current form suggests Chelsea will feel they can get another Away scalp. Good news is they have shown weaknesses playing against the team Arteta last coached (even if as an Assistant) and so, maybe he has a thing or two to tell our lads about how to prepare for this one.

    It’s not the game to introduce Bellerin from the start (after his last injury) so expect AMN to continue while we could see Bellerin come on late in the game and start versus United, who are also riding high, at the moment.

    It will be a humdinger of a game and tactical at the start as both sides will look to wear each other.

  • i’d try an all-out attacking team:
    i know bukayo’s an amazing kid, but … he’s a kid, just like gabe; i always fear their wings might melt for flying too high, too long, too soon – guess i’m traumatized by what happened to jack, so i’d give him a rest
    lampard’s chavs are a very good side, they toyed with the spuds one week ago, but they’re on a poor run, which might have affected the confidence of their youngest players, i wouldn’t be surprised if lampard picked an experienced team, something like:
    that’d be a tough nut to crack, but in mikel i trust

  • N5 ….. BK’s historian. 🙏🙏

    Stats-wise Chelsea should be feared.
    1) Shots at goal – 2nd
    2) shorts conceded -2nd least.
    3) possession – 2nd
    4) tackles – 5th
    5) interceptions – 2nd
    6) goals -6th
    7) dribbles – 1st
    8) shots on target – 3rd

    Very impressive stats. As for the eye test, they play with plenty energy and very quick passing. Dominated City in possession when they met. Yet have lost 5 of their last 7 pl games. Either they are doing something very wrongly or Lampard has not paid his tithe to the gods of soccer. I hope they haven’t amended things.

  • Am suprised that my idea of Pepe as a striker has not excited interest (except with TA who felt it interesting).

    How can we so easily come to terms with Nelson starting ahead of £72m. Pepe is the guy who ran Mbakpe close last season in terms of goals and assists. He is in the Ozil category. We must.find a way to bring out what he’s got on offer. If that can be done, Pepe can transform the competiteness of our team.

    We seen to be stuck seeing him only in the Arjen Roben role. That hasn’t worked in the PL. But the big reason why he is not being fielded is his lack of defensive ability despite his high turn over rate. The simple solution is moving him further up where these.weaknesses would be so pronounced to compete with Laca who comes with a different set of luggage (poor 1st touch, unawareness of positions of his colleagues and being too much of a mood instead of a cerebral player).

    While Laca disrupts the defense with his harassing style, it’s easy imaging Pepe doing same with his trickery. Auba steals in in the confusion of the box to score so the left wing role is maybe perfect for him and the team.

    Pepe at centre forward excites me. By the way he is better in the air than Auba or Laca.

  • Hi PE,
    While Pepe indeed possesses the traits of a striker, his time at Lille playing up front hasn’t been a success story, and him being reinvented as a winger did blow the opposition away.
    Anyway I’m all for some experimenting, especially that our midfield seemed to be working (for 1 full game), and our defenders have been decimated with injuries and suspensions. So I’m open for some attacking finesse, if Arteta doesn’t want to stick with the OPAL formation.

  • Legallos, that is an attacking line-up but can we dominate midfield with it?! I reckon Ozil would be isolated and the attackers not involved enough to make it work.

    I prefer:

    ——– Xhaka—–Tor————

    An extra body in midfield to support Ozil and protect Xhaka/Tor and for a better passing game… over to you! 🙂

  • yes ta, i know how much you like a hard-working, intelligent, reliable engine room, and i have nothing against yours – all the more so since i like joe a lot, even though he has not been at his best lately
    but … i think it might be clever to keep alonso/azpilicueta defensively busy, which would be the case with pépé/auba playing wide (i think your midfield would turn up in a diamond shape), and … i think we need laca upfront, he can do better than what he’s shown of late, but even so, we need his hold-up play, his cool presence in the box, in the heart of the battle, where he makes things look simple, as he did in the build up of auba’s goal at bournemouth (and joe should have turned his pass into an assist at the last minute) … and he’s going to score again, very soon
    rumour has it that granit’s out for today’s game, by the way – if it were confirmed, that’d be a terrible blow, we’d have to face a very good attacking team without hector/rob/kieran/kola/papa/granit; i.e. a whole defensive unit
    hope the crowd will give full support to mikel/our lads, and stand by them come what may this afternoon
    have a nice game, all of you BKers

  • I understand the thinking, Legallos, but I reckon it stretches us more than them and we will suffer from it, with isolated attackers and loads of pressure on our narrow midfield. Re Xhaka, I would indeed not be surprised if he did not start today… the crowd and club fecked that one up and there is too much risk of a repeat… wounds are still too fresh.

  • Xhaka-less team (which will weaken us):
    ————————— Leno ————————————
    AMN ——- Chamb ———– Sok/Mavro ———- Saka
    ——- Willock ———– Torro ——– Luiz ——–
    –Ozil———————- Laca —————— Auba–

  • Xhaka-less team announced:
    ————————— Leno ————————————
    AMN ——- Chamb ———– Luiz –———- Saka
    ——- Guendouzi ————-——– Torro ——–
    –Nelson———————- Ozil—————— Auba–

  • Team sheet, including subs:

    Arsenal XI: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Luiz, Saka, Guendouzi, Torreira, Nelson, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.

    Subs: Martinez, Mustafi, Mavropanos, Willock, Smith Rowe, John-Jules, Pepe.

    Chelsea XI: Kepa, Rudiger, Zouma, Tomori, Azpilicueta, Kovacic, Kante, Emerson, Mount, Willian, Abraham.

    Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Lamptey, Jorginho, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Batshuayi.

    So, No Xhaka and No Martinelli. Xhaka is said to be ill (more like, he may be throwing tantrums about his desire to join up with Hertha Berlin by Thursday. Who knows?); Martinelli still injured.

  • I will hope for the best for young Guendouzi. He just needs to learn to release the ball/pass early instead of waiting to be swarmed before going down in hope of the whistle.

    Strange to leave out Pepe, but it just means we would rather retain the possession with a youngster (Nelson) who keeps ball better than risk the high risk X-factor which Pepe brings. I think with the presence of a few England youth internationals on display, maybe Nelson and Guendouzi have good games today.


  • Keep Abraham and Willian quiet; manage the runs of Mason Mount and the shooting of Kovacic and we can control the game.

  • Should be 2, had Laca been able to sort out his feet there.

    Chambers needing treatment. Not what we need seeing as he has started well in this game.

  • Chambers looks in serious pain; never thought there would be a day I would be worried that Chambers has an injury scare and that’s credit to the way he’s taken on the responsibility since returning from loan. Mustafi to come on. He will take a bit of time to warm into things so, watch out for niggly situations. The break will give Chelsea time to regroup, unfortunately.

  • Chelsea deciding to kick us instead of the ball it seems– several fouls 2 bookings in just a few minutes.

  • Change of lineup and formation quite early by Lampard. Going to a 4-back and bringing on Georginho to attempt to retake the midfield.

  • Caught myself applauding that first half performance. So much grit, passion and belief growing. Chelsea were let off the hook by that Chambers injury break as it afforded Lampard time to think and make a change, bringing on Jorginho for Emerson.

    Another half to go; continue with the energy, keep the shape and keep working for one another, and we should get the 3 points. A bit of adjustment to accommodate playing on the counter, as they chase the game. Meanwhile, I hope Arteta reminds the boys that Chelsea have a few defenders on yellows; just a little pressure and we may have 10 players to contend with. In the same vein, Guendouzi has to avoid his penchant for fouling players who have beaten him for pace.

  • Oh, and did I mention Ozil has been brilliant again? Unlike under Emery when Guendouzi was in everyone’s space in midfield, he seems a bit more constitutional today, sticking to his area of the field, only interchanging, intermittently, with Torreira.

    Adrenalin pumping for this second half, hoping for a favourable outcome. We need it.

  • Same thought on Guendouzi as Eris.
    Arteta sees it as well I’m certain. Not to mention the rest of the world. Seems to NBCSN– that Matteo’s foul-not-called on Abraham was more important than the only goal scored thus far.

    Perhaps a change at half to go with Joe Willock might be in order.


  • Ozil was– quite good.
    Though the change Lampard made to bring on Jorginho– is to ostensibly shadow Mesut. The flow of the first half did slow and Chelsea had much more possession after that point.

    Hoping Mikel has a proactive card to play here.

  • HT; 1-0; PROUD
    how long has it been since we last saw our XI work their socks off that way? you tell me
    gutted for calum … what a start he had!! hope that’s nothing serious, but afraid it might be wishful thinking
    matteo: like any football fan, i can see his immense qualities, but watching him defend … i’m just too old for this s..t, as danny glover used to say; we were very lucky to get away with his foul on abraham in the box … and he’s on a yellow – joe has to come in, sooner than later
    mesut’s a genius; let’s enjoy him while we can
    laca is the warrior we need upfront, as far as goal scoring is concerned he lacks confidence at the moment, but auba’s better, more deadly when his pal is by his side
    oh mikel … what a difference a headcoach can make; he’s won his battle with lampard so far, now the chavs have a CB playing right-back, a right-footed defender playing left CB, a right-back playing left-back: what a mess! may we take advantage of it
    the only downside is we’re running short of options, because of our number of injured players; i hope the lads won’t run out of petrol too soon; on the other hand, i fear pulisic/hudson-odoi might hurt us, should they be brought in
    last, but not least: hats off to hale end: ainsley, bukayo, reiss, i’m running out of superlatives
    come on, lads, this is your day

  • Chelsea turn it around in very spectacular fashion. Leno must be feeling bad now for his error to bring it back to 1-1. Until then, David Luis and Mustafi had been steady, despite conceding plenty of possession.

    This game can be cruel, especially as the goal scorer shouldn’t have been on the pitch at the time.

    Pepe on for Nelson and it looks hard now to get back into this one. Maitland-Niles gets booked for doing no different from what Jorginho did to Guendouzi but remained on the pitch.

  • Seven minutes added but we are running on fumes now, so looking unlikely we get a point. Torreira just misses the upright. Maybe, he had more time than he knew. Chelsea’s Away charm still works today.

  • The referee gave them the win.
    See how Chavs played rugby and some fouls were not given.

    But we were poor mentally to win games still and Auba might not be the captain we need. He is too passive.

  • I thought we played with renewed passion and stepped it up with defending. It took a goal keeping error and the ref to give this game to Chelsea. With a few more players returning from illness and injuries, we’ll see where we can get to.

  • If Martinelli were fit, Laca needed to have been taken off at some point. He was just a passenger and mucking up good looking situations for us. He was out on his feet by the 68th minute or thereabouts.

  • Eris– agree regarding Laca’s fitness.
    Though don’t find it surprising that some players may have been lax in Ennui’s last few months.


  • The squad will take home some belief from this game. Unlucky to lose.

    Yes Lcac is not doing it for me at the moment. I agree he must have slacked off too much under Emety. But his 1st touch has always been an issue.

    I like Mustafi’ s line breaking passes. Helps with our transition. Nelson was impressive.

  • Arteta needs a huge broomstick to sweep all the mess Wenger and especially Emery had left behind. There is an idea there but very few players can get it through.

    Mustafi should never get a minute of football at Arsenal again. Luiz should have never been signed at the first place. Guendouzi is way overrated. Willock lacks intelligence. Lacazette is not a £50m striker right now and probably never was. Pepe for £72m was a robbery…of our assets.

    We have to be the first in the January queue to sign a central midfielder and a central defender because we are the worst team in the league right now. Relegation is a serious possibility.

    Awful year, awful season, awful everything.

  • Wow! Admir, that was scathing, yet understandable. However, the signs are better and for me, it’s not so much about individual players today, individual errors aside, but the collective play. It was much better and had we battled and held on for the 3 points, you’d probably hear analyses proclaiming it as “winning ugly”.

  • It’s clear to every supporter what is wrong, so if it’s clear to us then it’s a lot closer and clearer to Mikel then it is to us. I have my own opinions but I won’t criticize individual players or the manger.
    I will not get upset with what is happening currently as I realize that these early games and training sessions are nothing more than learning lessons for Mikel. He is a very canny individual and I’m hopeful that we will use his learning to good effect in the January transfer window.

    That’s 2019 over and done with for Arsenal, January is just around the corner and I hope in 2020 we start to experience the types of changes that are needed to put the club on the road to recovery.

  • GN5, I agree with you.

    We were playing well, in the second last match we did well in patches.. until they changed tactics and pegged us back. We played better for longer periods against Chavs, but once they put Jorginho on, and changed formation, we were back to playing from the back, which is extremely suicidal.

    Auba and Laca did well to help in defence, but we do not have the positional skills in attack to force them to errors and take advantage from it. One is that we do not have the strength physically, and the other is the mental strength to cope with attacks and we will break down somehow in the match.

    Once we overcome those 2 issues we will be good enough.

    And to Arteta, please drop Douzi.

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