With another huge match for Arsenal coming up, this time against fellow Londoners, Chelsea, we look to pushers and pullers of the match, the ones who will make the headlines, score the goals and decide the match.
This match will undoubtedly be hotly-contested, as these fixtures tend to be between heavy-weights, but we could be looking at one of the best midfield battles that we will see all year.
For the Blue half of London, they will be heavily reliant on the defense holding strong and transitioning well to the middle of the park, where their game dictators of world-class caliber lie.
With Juan Mata and Eden Hazard controlling their transition game and their movement forward, Chelsea will be looking to slice through the Gunner defense with cutting runs and slotting through balls to their wingers and winging backs. These two stunning midfielders will also be looking to take a few shots themselves, both having a strong pair of shooting boots strapped to their feet. If they can take control of the game and dictate the tempo for the Blues, it will be hard for Arsenal to stop their distribution and skill game.
At the back, Branislav Ivanovic will be key to what the scoreline will be at the Emirates. If he shows up for Chelsea, covering and making waves for the Blues, as he has been all season thus far, then Chelsea will be hard to beat. One would try to key on the absence of John Terry as a big issue for the Blues, but he hasn’t been a regular in the side this season, so far, so they will be fine getting on without the former England international man.
In attack, Fernando Torres will be hoping to do better in front of goal, as his form has slightly waned from the beginning of the season. If he can capitalize on chances, as he is prone to not doing, then nothing should stop Chelsea from going ahead by one or two, early on, thanks to the midfield machinery chugging away to help slot him in for a go on goal.
Arsenal, strangely enough for new fans of the Premier League, has the strongest defense in the land, running into this game. With a surprisingly sturdy defense, thanks in large part to new Assistant Manager, Steve Bould, and a superb amount of midfield options, Arsenal look much like the side that Arsene Wenger has long promised Arsenal fans.
As with any other match this season, the main man to look towards has to be the diminutive Spaniard, Santi Cazorla. His sheer trickery and magic on the ball will be quite a sight to see going up against the likes of his fellow countryman, Juan Mata.
The big news, however, will be around how the defense stacks up against another stiff test of power for the second week in a row. Carl Jenkinson has seriously looked like a new man this season, as his defensive work has been nearly unparalleled. As Gary Neville so aptly put it last week in the post-game show, ““I don’t know him, but the kid looks like he would run through a brick wall for you.” He will be key for the Gunners, as they will look to him and Kieran Gibbs to shut down the wings for Chelsea.
Lukas Podolski will be looking to continue his stellar run of form in the Gunner’s attack, as well, but the main threats to Arsenal going forward have to be Gervinho and Giroud. Gervinho has been an altogether new player for Arsenal, slicing open defenses at will, but his finishing ability has been fairly mediocre. However, if he can put his laces through the ball and get his shot under control, then he very well could be the main source of Chelsea’s defensive headaches.
Olivier Giroud finally opened his Arsenal account against lowly Coventry City during the mid-week match in the Capital One Cup, but he will need to capitalize on that if he is to secure a starting role for the Gunners. With the strongmen of Ivanovic and David Luiz in the back, Wenger will probably be looking to start him, so that way they have an aerial presence going forward. Arsenal fans everywhere will be hoping that his massive Frenchman will finally have gotten his confidence up and put it to good use by sinking the top-of-the-table Blues.
This will be one of the headlining matches of the year, with both teams walking into this bout undefeated. It is very likely that that stainless record will have a blemish on it by the end of this clash of the giants, but it will be a hard-fought and well-earned blemish at the end of the day. It’s the weekend opener, so what better way to start off your Saturday than by watching this battle for dominance over London.