Chelsea-Arsenal. A 6-Pointer for Top 4 Positions, but Only if the Gunners Can Win It. Arteta Makes

Just one change from the team that drew on Saturday vs Sheffield United, Hector Bellerin coming in at right back for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Here are your full line-ups:

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Saka, Torreira, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli, Lacazette. Subs: Ceballos, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Martinez, Willock, Guendouzi, Nketiah.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Emerson Palmieri, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Willian. Subs: Alonso, Barkley, Pedro, Caballero, Zouma, Mount, Batshuayi.

Referee: Stuart Attwell.

Most Gooners believe that things look and feel better under new manager Arteta, but they also are starting to itch for better results, the 2-nil win over Manchester United on New Years day already feeling rather distant.  This one is against another traditional rival who haven’t been turning in consistent results themselves.  Chelsea are coming off a 1-nil loss at Newcastle, but they were similarly beaten (at home by Southampton, 0-2) before they last played us, just some 24 days ago.  In that one, Arteta’s debut match, Arsenal nursed an early 1-nil lead but succumbed to two late goals to allow Chelsea to sneak the full points.  The effort was strong early, but a tactical substitution by Chelsea manager Frank Lampard plus poor fitness from the Gunners, saw us fade as the game went on.  Has Arsenal improved enough to better that result?

We shall see…but I’d love to hear from other Gooners about how they feel heading towards kick-off.

Consider me excited but also wary of the challenge at hand.  I fear a lot of destructive forces were unleashed during Unai Emery’s time in charge and both team and individual confidence dropped considerably.  We’re only beginning to raise our heads again and I counsel patience.   Today’s match is all the more difficult because our leading goal-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang serves the 2nd of a 3 match ban for a red card picked up at Crystal Palace.

Once the ball gets rolling, I’ll be trying to describe the action as best I can in the comment section.  Regulars will know that I’ve been unable to watch much Arsenal, so I’d be grateful for others to chime in with their views and thoughts.  Thanks in advance.

This is a tough one, but I sense a new unity in the group.  Let’s get behind those guys.  Few things could beat bringing back the points from South London.

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

 

 

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92 Responses to Chelsea-Arsenal. A 6-Pointer for Top 4 Positions, but Only if the Gunners Can Win It. Arteta Makes

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Seventeenho. Good to have you back with a live blog.

    The line up is strong and consistent and really good to see Hector getting a game again. It means that we are extra strong going forward on the right wing, as that is the one aspect of Hectors’s game that is superior to AMN as yet.

    A big game for the Pepe and Laca as we probably need at least a goal from them.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Good point about the fitness levels and I am hoping that Arteta has plans to bring on a few players late on that give us extra legs. From the subs, I reckon AMN can hit the ground running, the rest may struggle to get right into the game from the moment they get subbed in.

  3. Hey TA, I’m culture-shocking a bit, but it’s hard to argue with my set up in front of the big screen here in the house in the mountains…

    From everything I’ve heard–and what I saw vs Sheffield United–there seems a lot of desire among the players to play well for Arteta…and I wonder if they’re starting the games with a bit TOO much energy. Some calmness and a sense of control early would be nice to see…

    Also, I’m kinda shocked about the desire to reach to unknowns (Ceballos) and bench someone who is obviously giving his all to the cause (Lacazette)… Ah well, dif’rent strokes, as they say…

    We have kick-off…

  4. Saka sets off in lovely fashion up the left. He exchanges passes with Martinelli but then strikes over and out from an impossible angle…

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Getting the balance right is THE challenge for Arteta, but I reckon he is doing a good job. Results will come sooner or later. Corner for the Arse.

  6. David Luiz gives first a FK near the center line then puts one out for a Chelsea corner…

    Which is cleared by Mustafi…

    It goes all the way back to Kepa and Lacazette, on the press, gets a piece of his clearance, it falls to Pepe but we can only win a corner…

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Good confident start. The red and white v blue on the green pitch at night is v pleasing to the eye.

  8. And a second corner, this one taken short. Chavs push us back and Pepe eventually loses it on the left after getting around one man but not two…

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Mustafi took one right on the golden balls..

  10. Chelsea now play it around and get a good shot off from the top of the box. Mustafi blocks it with his Skhrot…and is down… Dudes who have played sports will know that you actually feel it in your stomach for some reason…

  11. The Chavs are chopping us up on our left side and Xhaka can only push it behind to concede a corner. LT11 smacked in the face and goes down in the build-up…

    Eventually, it’s taken short but pushed out for another corner…

    Rudiger goes up for it but misses it, it falls for their guy (#4?) but his downward header is wide of the far post. That’s a let off, IMO…

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Luiz getting booed by the classy Chavs.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    yes that was a let off.

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    Working hard with the ball but deep in our half. Chavs press looks pretty strong…

    From a throw, Saka brings it forward but we’re rebuffed and have to cycle it around in our half before a Luiz longball is put out for another throw…

    Chelsea look happy enough trying to do things on the break, but also willing to push our guys back when they’ve got it…

    Martinelli heads behind and Chelsea have another corner…

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    Again taken short but then crossed over to Rudiger who heads across to Abraham who thankfully heads straight to Leno. Anywhere else and that’s a goal…

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Two times Bellerin was second best with the Chavs two chances but this time he is at the right place at the right time. His team mates show appreciation for it.

  17. We get into their half but they come again and get their 5th corner…

    and then their 6th when Xhaka heads the first one behind. That one is taken short but Hudson-Odoi’s shot is onto the roof of the net…

    All Chelsea the past 10 mins and we cannot give up endless corners w/o eventually conceding from one of them…

  18. Laca, false nining it near the center circle tries to release Ozil on the right but it’s overhit and out for a throw.

    Saka, works really hard on the left and wins a throw…which almost puts Martinelli into a great position for a pull-back but it’s just over the end line. Chelsea build again…

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes we need to get our passing game together and calm things down a bit. The Chave hunt in odious packs and we struggle with that a bit.

  20. I lost my connection there for a moment… Chavs get another pair of corners. We’re defending them, but we need to make something happen down their end…

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Away fans in full voice, real support for the players.

  22. Playing it out of the back seems like trouble. Luckily LT11 wins a whistle…

    OK, a bit of possession but Chelsea seem well massed and we can only pass it around the perimeter…

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    What is there to say?

  24. My posts are taking a while to go through, sorry…

    Oh geez… Penalty and Red Card on David Luiz…all set up by a woeful backpass from Mustafi. Leno avoided the red card (but it only would’ve been a FK outside of the box), but Luiz gets the worst of both decisions wrong…

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Jorginho scores from the spot with a perfectly placed pen. Leno went to the correct side but it was unstoppable.

    Game over, I fear…

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    What now?

    Another corner after plenty of Chelsea possession… They take it short and look happy enough to just work on their passing skills. An hour of this? I’m not sure I can take it…

  27. pbarany says:

    Indeed, there is not much to say.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    A big test of character for the boys. Need to bring in AMN in midfield and take either Laca or Pepe off. The latter it is for me.

  29. jw1 says:

    Sorry I can’t contribute HT– as I’m at work. But following best I can.

    “An hour of this? I’m not sure I can take it…”
    Been four years of it for me. ~sigh~

    jw1

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    Leno saves from Hudson-Odoi… But we concede another corner…

    More Chelsea possession but Leno clears an attack and the ball actually leaves our half…No Arsenal player can touch it, of course, but we have to take whatever positives we can, right?…

    I was hoping for a game. This is a non-event now…

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil and Saka bring the ball into their half… Sorry, I’m not seeing a way forward here…

    Yes, J-Dub, you’ve told us so… 😦

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Good spell by the Arse. Pepe is involved a lot, so good. We really need more from our CF today. Allez Laca!

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sorry, family came home and greetings were necessary…

    During which, it appears, we’re finding our feet and moving the ball forward with some nice play from Saka and Martinelli but Pepe can’t make anything after he brings down the cross in their box. Bellerin has also been an instigator…

    Chavs however seem happy enough to defend then go for their 2nd on the break… We survive it, conceding a 10th corner… Rudiger heads it over…

  34. jw1 says:

    No worries HT. Could be worse. Could be Feb 1st.
    Raul is dialing-for-CBs as we type.

    jw1

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chelsea now starting to work the ball but their possession and cross ends with a header over…

    We pass it around a bit, including a wacky cross-field blast from Mustafi…Saka brings it down but that looked like more trouble to me.

    The half is petering out…

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pepe thinks that a long ball was handled (in their box) on the bounce… Nothing doing, of course…

    There’s the whistle… Is it just me, or is the spectacle somewhat ruined by the red-card?…

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    I say this every time it happens: a sending off AND a pen is too much punishment. Just give a goal and continue the game with 11 v 11. Or send player off and nothing else.

  38. goonereris says:

    Half time. Not a very good position to be in, one man down at the home of a London rival, in a game we need to win. We have stabilized the ship, withdrawing Xhaka into central defence to cover for Luiz’s sending off, where one thought it would be Holding for a forward. Good thing Arteta hesitated because it kept the appearance of a goal threat.

    What’s troubling for me is how little we are able to create. This state of affairs can serve as morale dampener for everyone at the club, especially the manager who had come fully pumped up and positive.

    Mustafi made an awful error, but why did Luiz feel the need to risk a red card? Let’s hope we don’t rack up a cricket score here. Keep your head and see where this takes us, but to be 6 points above relegation waters is not something we are used to at this club.

  39. Obviously, Luiz should’ve just tried to marshal Abraham as wide as possible, but thinking goes out the window, I guess, when the goal is left completely exposed like that–witness the outfield player who saved with his hand the other day…

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    I am unhappy with both Mustafi and Luiz – a real shame Luiz did not keep a cool head there. Let this be Mustafi’s last game though.

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    If we bring in AMN or Willock (or Guendouzi if we must) next to Torreira then we can keep it solid and hope to spring a break. Torreira cannot do this on his own.

  42. goonereris says:

    Pepe had to stop to protest the handball which bounced off Emerson, I am guessing, because he knew the player was on a yellow so, why not play to even things up?

    TA, I am not sure we should expect too much from Laca in a game as this, where we are getting to see little of the ball. We are probably better off bringing on a ball playing midfielder like Ceballos, to keep control and support Saka, while Martinelli goes up top. That boy can chase lost causes and balls over the top. Why not?

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes PE, it is not easy for Laca but I look at him and do not see him anticipate a pass enough the few times we are actually close to the Chavs’ box..

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    We are getting some curls back on the pitch..

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Eh not PE but Eris…

  46. Hey…Sorry to have missed a few minutes here at the start of the half… It’s still just a one goal game and we’re able to move it their way a bit. Martinelli looks speedy after surviving a push into the hoardings. Chavs have had their chances however and certainly look the more likely team to score.

    Saka tries to break but can only go down for a whistle…

    Guendouzi on, Ozil off…

  47. jw1 says:

    Had to go finds the 1st half lowlights on video.
    Better than the ‘what ifs’ presented?

    ‘What if’ #20 controls the ball and turns for the sideline– and out of trouble?
    Asking for a friend.

    jw1

  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    LT blocks a Chelsea shot and they all want handball… No way, but their forays lead to shots while ours do not…

    Xhaka chops down Hudson-Odoi, who seems a pretty solid player, IMO…

    More Chelsea possession but Xhaka is able to clear a ball into the box. The next one is held by Leno…

    That’s good because we needed a break…

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pepe loses it immediately and Chelsea come again. Again we defend and try to break, Laca drawing the whistle but still in our half…

  50. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pepe’s ball for Martinelli is short and Chavs come at us, but Willian is stopped and it’s out for a throw…

    Still more Chelsea possession and our 10 look pretty tired with still a full half hour to go…

    Nonetheless, we’re defending heroically, throwing bodies where they need to go.

    Willian pulls back and Guendo has to put it out for a corner…

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    What if does not take part, as my dad likes to say, JW1

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    MARTINELLI!!!!

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    How FUCKING good is Martinelli, born in this millennium!!

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    Skhodran headed out the corner and Martinelli was on the run… Kante slipped and then Gabby had just Kepa to beat…and beat him he did… Wow!!!

  55. goonereris says:

    Wow! What a run by Martinelli. Just stay in the game, please. Let’s keep defending and take our chances when they come.

    Chelsea bringing on Barkley, who will need to be watched closely.

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chavs are livid and pushing hard to re-establish their lead, pressing the ball too when we have it…

    Barkley on for Kovacic

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Guendouzi walking on balls at the moment, Need more composure and positioning, but that is not his strength.

  58. jw1 says:

    Stats-wise Arsenal’s chance at 3pts stands at 7%–
    Which was higher than moments ago!

  59. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nice play in our box from Hudson-Odoi and Kante but Leno is able to pounce… Both Xhaka and Toreirra down on the pitch for a bit…

    That was Kante’s last action as he’s pulled for Mason Mount…

    Saka, on the ball, tries to cross but it’s blocked…we get a corner, however…

  60. jw1 says:

    Guardian live blog sez–
    65 mins: Mustafi gets the assist, with that clearing header.

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    The corner is cleared but we have it and try to rebuild our attack…

    Martinelli with a diagonal drive into the box but he stumbles on the pull back and his cross is snuffed out…

    Lacazette puts the ball in the back of the net but he’s well offside…

  62. TotalArsenal says:

    an example there Eris of Laca’s lack of anticipation. What a waist..

  63. 17highburyterrace says:

    Leno is forced into a save by Willian but it’s right at him…Chelsea come again, Barkley crossing over the goal but Willian can’t nip it to Abraham. It’s fairly constant bombardment, but we’re up to it so far.

    LT down now and it looks like cramp…

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    He’s back up… LT, that is…

    Ooh, that’s a wild swing of the leg by Guendouzi… Only a yellow, fortunately…

    Chelsea FK lofted in and Abraham heads it forward but it’s just a looper and easy for Leno…

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Guendouzi on a yellow card now. Bring on AMN and let the curls be showered.

  66. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chavs are on the front foot and getting plenty of balls into the box, shots too… Whereas we only have the counters to give us hope. There’s one with Lacazette dancing around one tackle but then passing straight to blue…

    Another Chelsea corner but first Willian comes off for Batshuai

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Superb save by Leno. Holding for Pepe. That should help in defence.

  68. 17highburyterrace says:

    Batshuayi, I meant…

    Oooh… Barkley has a headed chance but it’s weakly hit and Leno is able to stretch for it.

    Pepe off for Holding… Another Chelsea corner coming… And another…

  69. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chavs offside and Leno buys some time with the ball before kicking it long…

    84th minute and we have it down their end for an instant… Abraham looks hurts after slipping into the hoardings back down at our end…

    Oh crap… Chelsea score… Azpilicueta from the short corner routine…

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    Martinelli and Saka doing some good work after the goal but can’t quite bring it into a shooting position… We’re still pushing, however…and…

    BELLERIN scores with his left!!!!

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    oooooh 2-2 Hector you beauty!!

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    lalalalalalala Hector Bellerin Bellerin Hector Bellerin

  73. 17highburyterrace says:

    WOW!!! It was Pepe-esque but with Bell’s chocolate foot… perfect bend and placement in the far corner…

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    It’s not over yet…

    And somehow Batshuayi consipres to put the cross from Hudson-Odoi wide of the near post when it looked easier to score…

  75. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, final change, Martinelli off, and Willlock on…

    4 minutes added and we’re nearly done with the first…

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    The boys want to win it…

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    Saka and Willock working hard in the left corner and win a pair of throws… Good noise from the away support…

    2 of the 4 minutes played…

  78. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chelsea corner…but the short routine leads to an overhit shot-cross by Hudson-Odoi…

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    lalalalalalala Hector Bellerin Bellerin Hector Bellerin
    lalalalalalala Hector Bellerin Bellerin Hector Bellerin
    lalalalalalala Hector Bellerin Bellerin Hector Bellerin
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    lalalalalalala Hector Bellerin Bellerin Hector Bellerin

  80. goonereris says:

    What drama. All I feel is pride in these boys tonight.

  81. TotalArsenal says:

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  82. jw1 says:

    Wowow!
    Wasn’t looking forward to watching earlier–
    but thanks to HT (and sidekicks) for making it exciting to follow!

    jw1

  83. 17highburyterrace says:

    Leno goal kick straight out for a throw and Chelsea come at us, LT clears into touch but they come again and Guendo puts it behind for a(nother) corner…

    There’s the whistle…

    Wow, far from the non-event, I thought it might turn out to be and it was a great show of spirit and fight. Scoring with both our shots isn’t the dominance we want but it’s a great fight-back from our guys…

  84. jw1 says:

    Heading straight home and watching the DVR.
    Thanks again guys.

    jw1

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    Enjoy, jw1. Please have a good look at Guendouzi and tell me how he did as a defensive mid. I value your view..

  86. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wild wacky stuff…and a renewed sense of unity (and purpose) feels kinda real… After so much football that didn’t seem worth watching, now I don’t want to miss a kick…

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    So true, Seventeenho. That was a tremendous team performance and to get back to 2-2 after conceding again so late showed tons of character. Really nice for Hector as well. How he needed that!!

  88. njk84sg says:

    Morning guys.. needed to go to work early so i did not watch the match. Will watch the highlights first and repeat telecast tonight.

    Good commentary TA and 17ht, and the final few minutes is topsy turvy.

    I can feel the fighting spirit within the team. Although it is too late to score the winner but at least we had the equaliser.

    A point is better than no points IMO.

  89. allezkev says:

    Fabulous result, when they fight like that you can’t help but be proud of them.
    Delighted for Bellerin.

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    That is not just a point, 84!

    New Post 🙂

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