Chelsea (The Emirates Stadium)
Sunday 16th December, 2007
Kick off: 4pm – Live On Sky Sports 1
So this weekend marks another Grand Slam Sunday.
If you didn’t know what a Grand Slam Sunday was, it’s a term coined by Sky Sports for when the top four play in the same day against each other. If you’ve got Digital TV then you’ll know what all the hype is all about.
And funnily enough, in recent times our record in Grand Slam Sundays is pretty good.
Last season’s first GSS (I can’t be arsed typing Grand Slam Sunday anymore) was Manchester United v Arsenal and Chelsea v Liverpool on the 17th of September, 2006. Chelsea beat Liverpool thanks to a Didier Drogba goal in the lunchtime kick off, and thanks to Adebayor’s goal and Cesc’s magic, Arsenal won against the odds at Old Trafford against a United side who were at that point flying at the top of the league.
And in the second GSS (21st January 2007), Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry’s late, late show overcame United at the Emirates, while Hansel from Zoolander and Jermaine Pennant’s goals were enough to beat Chelsea at Anfield.
Just like the first Manchester United game, no-one was giving us a chance.
And the same can be said for this Sunday with Arsenal struggling for form, without our big name players and a huge chunk of our midfield missing.
The 4 games against Sevilla, Aston Vanilla (2nd half), Newcastle and Boro hasn’t been of the same standard as earlier in the season. I mentioned last week that we can’t really expect Arsenal to keep up the same kind of form and we were going to hit a rough patch sooner or later, especially with injuries to key players.
Well now is to end that run.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have almost crept up the league under the radar. Winning comfortably and without setting the world on fire, there seems to be a conspicuous lack of media attention on Chelsea on the whole. Is this a sign of things to come under the post-Mourinho era? We’ll have to wait and see.
So who is the favourite going into the game?
Well it will be interesting to see who the bookies fancy, and I can’t really comment on Chelsea because I just haven’t seen much of them recently!
But with defeat in a pretty dire game against Middlesbrough last weekend, hopefully everyone will be writing us off against Chelsea like they did against Manchester United last season.
The character of this Arsenal team has been extremely impressive over the last 18 months, and I am confident that defeat will serve as huge motivation to beat Chelsea.
But it won’t be easy.
Sometimes it needs a couple of bad performances and bad results for teams to bounce back and really fight in the coming games. Hopefully history will repeat itself and this young Arsenal side yet again manage to pull off another surprise against the odds.
And the return of Van Persie and Diaby is great news for the team. Arsene has hinted that Fabregas, Hleb and Flamini might have a chance to return on Sunday, and concedes he might be forced into making a gamble or two. Chelsea is a tough game to come back into though so we’ll see what happens. Even the return of only one of those would be a huge boost for the team.
And finally don’t forget this Sunday is ‘Be A Gooner, Be A Giver‘ day where the club is looking to raise money for the TreeHouse charity, so give what you can. William Gallas spoke about supporting the charity and how it also relfects the togetherness in the squad.
It looks like legend Thierry Henry keeps giving to Arsenal aswell, as it appears he donated Â£3,000 to the cause which is extremely nice of him.