The leftovers are eaten, the alcohol has run dry, and football finally returns. Tonight we see the festive treat that is Arsenal vs. Chelsea at the Emirates.
Didier Drogba should be lining up against his favoured opponents and we will need him to be on form if we’re to have a chance of bagging all three points. Expect Anelka and Malouda to flank him, Anelka getting the nod ahead of Kalou for his ball retention skills.
The return of Frank Lampard could also be critical, with the midfielder brining some much needed stability and attacking nous to what has been an overly physical midfield since his absence, so expect Ramires to drop to the bench as Essien and Mikel take the other two slots.
The defence all but picks itself with Cole, Terry and Ivanovic certain to start, the only question is the right back position, and it remains to be seen whether Carlo will go for Bosingwa or Ferreira.
Speaking ahead of the match, Carlo Ancelotti stated; “I think that Arsenal are a little bit afraid about the performance of Drogba because he did very well against them, but this cannot decide the game, though obviously if Drogba plays at his best we have more opportunity to win.”
“It is an important game obviously because both teams are involved in the fight for the title. Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham has the opportunity and skill to fight for the title until the end.” He added; “I think it will be a race with balance because a lot of teams have the possibility to win, not just Chelsea and Man United.”
John Obi Mikel also spoke of his feelings in the build up to the match, saying; “Arsenal is Arsenal, they are trying to put this thing right with the big games playing against the big four, but lately they keep failing. I think they’re a very good team though, they’re playing well now and have been getting results to stay in the race.”
Reflecting on the extending break the United postponement allowed us, Mikel reflected; “We’ve had more time in training to get things right for this game, we know what we’re doing and are working together as a team, improving our physical condition, receiving tactical advice, so by the time we start the game we will be really ready and know what we are going to do on the pitch.”
“We often play well against Arsenal and I hope we will do again, if we do I am sure we will get those three points.”
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