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Preview: Chelsea v Arsenal
04 Feb 2010 - 12:51:21
The undoubted clash of the weekend sees big-hitting Chelsea take on Arsenal with both teams looking to get back to winning ways following setbacks last time out.
Chelsea failed to see off Hull City on Tuesday evening as they were held to a 1-1 draw and Arsenal were convincingly thumped 3-1 by title challengers Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
With Chelsea's point, they have relinquished their game in hand over the Red Devils and sit just two points ahead of their fierce rivals atop the Premier League table and Arsenal now languish six points behind Carlo Ancelotti's men.
If Arsene Wenger's team are to remain in the title shake-up they really need to avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea's form was nothing short of exceptional during January as they racked up five straight wins in all competitions, scoring 19 goals in the process and, with the draw at KC Stadium in midweek, Frank Lampard and co will be looking to solve their problems as soon as possible.
Ancelotti will know the stage is set for his men to lay the ghost of their off-field issues with a crushing win over their London rivals.
His opposite number Wenger has watched his side pick up just one point from the last six and a defeat would certainly blow their chances of claiming the title.
To make things worse for the Gunners they are without several first-team players for the clash.
Robin Van Persie (ankle), Johan Djourou (knee) and Kieran Gibbs (metatarsal) remian long-term injury victims while Sol Campbell (groin), Eduardo (hamstring) and Abou Diaby (calf) are touch and go for the showdown.
Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns but they remain without Michael Essien (knee) and Juliano Belletti (calf).
Portugal right-back Jose Bosingwa (knee) is nearing a return but Sunday's fixture may come too soon for him.
John Terry, who has been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late, has been offered time away from the club to deal with his personal problems, but is expected to feature in the big clash.
Chelsea destroyed Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium in November with Drogba the main man, hitting an excellent brace.
An unfortunate own goal by Thomas Vermaelen had doubled Drogba's opener before half-time to kill off the game and Ancelotti will be dreaming for more of the same this weekend.