Chelsea will face their hardest test to date this weekend, coming up against a rejuvenated Arsenal side.

            Chelsea will face their hardest test to date this weekend, coming up against a rejuvenated Arsenal side. This season, Arsenal have managed to stop conceding soft goals. This defensive success is up to their new assistant manager, Steve Bould, an Arsenal defensive legend who is plying his trade as a coach for The Gunners now. The two sides meet at The Emirates Stadium, Arsenal's home. This fixture last year ended a dull 0-0, partially due to Chelsea resting players for their away trip to Barcelona in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final. 

Predicted Line Ups

Arsenal: Mannone; Jenkinson,Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs;  Diaby; Arteta, Cazorla; Gervinho, Podolski; Giroud

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole; Mike, Lampard; Ramires, Mata, Hazard; Torres

            Arsenal have had a problem with Chelsea's physicality in recent times, however, with Didier Drogba gone, this problem could be reduced greatly. When asked about facing a Drogba-less Chelsea side Wenger said "I don't know if Chelsea miss him, but we don't miss him. He did a lot of damage against us." Unfortunately for Wenger, Didier Drogba wasn’t the only player who’s physicality caused them trouble, the likes of Ivanovic, Terry and Mikel still remain at Chelsea. Wenger will try to combat Terry’s strength by fielding Olivier Giroud, £12m signing from Montpellier. Giroud scored his first goal in Arsenal colours midweek against Coventry in the Capital One Cup, he’ll be brimming with confidence and Wenger will unleash him against Terry. Wenger will also hope that Diaby’s buccaneering style of play will help him press the likes of Eden Hazard and Juan Mata. If you can stop Hazard and Mata then you put out Chelsea’s creative spark, thus limiting their goal scoring opportunities.

            For Chelsea, this fixture poses quite a conundrum for manger Roberto Di Matteo. In the past, Chelsea have relied on their physicality to get past Arsenal’s flair, however, Chelsea are dead set on becoming a flair team themselves. Summer additions like Hazard, and Oscar were bought to be catalysts of a footballing revolution at Stamford Bridge. Di Matteo will go into the Emirates hoping to outplay, rather than out muscle, Arsenal, renowned as the best footballing team in England. Saturday’s match between the two will be indicative of how committed Di Matteo is to reforming Chelsea’s style of play.  

            Chelsea and Arsenal have the joint best defences in the league. Both teams have only conceded two goals in five games in this season’s Premier League. The two tight defences will inevitably make this game tight, and likely to be decided by one goal. Chelsea will edge this meeting, due to the whole team rallying around fallen leader, John Terry. The players will be motivated to help Terry and maintain their position at the top of the Premier League table. Arsenal’s frailty at set pieces remains an issue, despite Steve Bould’s introduction to the backroom staff. Against Man City last weekend, Arsenal found themselves susceptible to set pieces, Joleon Lescott scoring a header from a corner. Arsenal employed a zonal marking system, which can be vulnerable if even the slightest mishap takes place. Chelsea boast the likes of John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic, all equally adept at attacking corners and they all pose strong goal threats. John Terry has a history of scoring and playing well when the spotlight is on him, this Saturday the spotlight is very much on him, history states that he’ll have something to say in the result.

My prediction:

Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea (John Terry)