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Arsenal V Chelsea at Emirates Stadium : Match Preview
Published : 29 Sep 2012 12:28:15Rss feed
Arsenal V Chelsea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes his side's form at Emirates Stadium will dictate whether they can mount a sustained challenge for the Barclays Premier League title.
The Gunners head into the showdown with leaders Chelsea unbeaten so far this season - kicking off their European campaign with victory in Montpellier before battling to a draw at Manchester City, then sweeping past Southampton 6-1 and thumping Coventry by the same scoreline to reach the last 16 of the Capital One Cup.
After a goalless draw on the opening day with Sunderland, Wenger has challenged his side to make Emirates Stadium a fortress as they look to last the distance this time around. "If we do well at home against the strong teams, it will of course have a big impact on our chances in the league," said Wenger. "We have played one [big team] where we got some belief, against Manchester City away. "Saturday it is another one, but it is a different one because we are at home."
Despite Arsenal earning praise for their performance in last weekend's 1-1 draw at City, which they could well have won but for Gervinho blasting over from a good position in stoppage time, Wenger maintains it is "still a bit early" to be talking up any side. "You will know more about us after 10 games or 15 games," he said. "I believe in our potential, but we have to show that we are capable to deal with all kinds of problems that consistency demands. "We will certainly know a bit more about us on Saturday afternoon - but much more about us after 10 or 15 games." Roberto Di Matteo has challenged Chelsea to prove they could "move on" from the Didier Drogba era.
The European champions travel to the Emirates Stadium for the first big test of their Barclays Premier League title credentials this season. And they will do so for the first time since Drogba quit the club this summer after eight years in which he terrorised their north London neighbours. The striker scored 13 goals in 14 games against Arsenal, prompting Gunners boss Wenger to declare: "I don't know if Chelsea miss him, but we don't miss him." Drogba became the ringleader as Chelsea repeatedly bullied Wenger's men following the Ivory Coast star's arrival at Stamford Bridge.
His departure has heralded a transformation in the way Chelsea play - indeed, they bear more resemblance to Arsenal now than they do to the team Drogba inspired to Champions League glory last season. Manager Di Matteo said: "Didier Drogba has been a fantastic player for this club for many years, but we have to move on from that. "That's the past. We're looking to the future now." Di Matteo denied Chelsea would adopt a radically different approach to that in the past, adding: "It's always a football game. You try to beat them by playing football." Technically, Di Matteo is correct, but there is more than one way to do that, some see teams praised and some condemned.
"I loved my side last season as well," Di Matteo said. "I think everybody likes different aspects of football. "We were very successful last season and played some good football. You always focus on a couple of games, but we played some good stuff." John Terry has been declared fit and available. Blues boss Di Matteo said he would have no qualms picking Terry while the club captain decides whether to appeal the guilty verdict in his Football Association race case. Frank Lampard has shaken off an ankle injury but the game comes too early for Daniel Sturridge (hamstring).