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Friday, 24 December 2010

Chelsea preview, Christmas greetings

With Sky putting the game back to Monday evening the players will get a bit of time to enjoy their Christmas for once. I don't know if my view is a minority one but I would rather we didn't have to play at Christmas at all. When we have a game at home on Boxing Day I find it a real pain in the bum having to go to London to watch it. This year, it's not such an issue, though the weather forecast as it stands could see yet another Emirates postponement.
The team news ahead of the match sees Abou Diaby fit to play again. Diaby is not everyone's cup of tea - mine included. I think Diaby is a fine player on his day, but his day arrives on such an inconsistent basis that he is a most frustrating individual. Also, in Diaby's defence, the broken leg inflicted upon him by that scummy no-mark from Sunderland has badly affected his career. If Diaby could stay fit, and finally produce consistently, he could have a major impact on the rest of the season. Having said that, I won't hold my breath.
Lukasz Fabianski is also fit to start the game. It will be interesting to see whether Wenger chooses to go with him, or to use his injury as the excuse he needed to put Szczesny in the side and keep him there. I would certainly rather see the brash and confident Wojciech, than the meek and quiet Lukasz.
Barring any illness or injury to the players from the Man Utd game I don't see there being too much change. I will be pleasantly surprised if there is any change to the back four, while I expect Arshavin to keep his place again. I would rather see Nasri from the right, up against Ashley Cole, though he must do his defensive work or Cole will destroy us yet again from left-back. I think Fabregas will return to the starting eleven, which leaves the only question mark as to whether Van Persie comes in for Chamakh. Personally I think it would be madness to leave out a well-rested Chamakh against John Terry, who he has already shown he can dominate in the air.
We all know Chelsea's strengths, and how they will continue to play to them against Arsenal. We are a little unlucky in that Drogba, Terry and Lampard will all play against us, having all missed a fair chunk of recent action. There is no doubt that their absences (along with the even more important Michael Essien) have contributed to Chelsea's recent poor run - they rushed Terry back (yet again) in an attempt to halt their slide.
Whatever happens on Monday we cannot afford another defeat. If I was offered the draw now I would take it. Big players step up to the plate in big games - it's time for Sebastien Squillaci to prove himself. The centre-half has had four months to settle in now. We were told he was a hard man defender, so let's see it against Drogba. Arsenal don't play the dirty game, but one of our players must smash Drogba early on, like other sides do, and get him on the back foot. When Drogba's bottom lip comes out it invariably stays there for the rest of the match, and there can be no doubt that our defenders have been far from physical enough against the Ivorian since he got here.

I've been writing the blog for over six months now. In that time the site has been looked at on over 5600 occasions. I hope you've enjoyed what I've written in that time, and that you will continue to enjoy it in the future. I would urge you to register as a follower, and leave your comments on every article. I had hoped to stimulate debate through my forthright opinions on the blog, so let's hear your views on what I've said. It's quite humbling to think that people from around the World (and I know I have readers across Europe, USA, Africa, Russia and Australia) are reading my words - words that were really my way of letting off steam, hence the longer pieces following any defeats the boys suffer. I enjoy the writing, and just wish I had time to write every day.
All that remains now is for me to wish all of you a very Happy Christmas. I have a very excited five-year-old sitting here as I type, wanting to see where Father Christmas is on NoradSanta! I hope that the big man in the red suit delivers all your wishes this Christmas, and that he can spray a bit of his magic dust over Arsenal Football Club. Once again, Happy Christmas to you all.

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