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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: ARSENAL V CHELSEA

Joining club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton to complete their in-detail derbybuild-up is former player Clive Walker…


TACTICAL BRIEF
London's pride is up for grabs as the capital's top two meet for the first time this season. Clive Walker assesses the prospects for two stylish outfits.

Key battles
'This is our second London derby of the season but it will be different to QPR. I can see it being cat-and-mouse, one for the purists, but lots of cleverness and fluid football. Both defences will have to be at their best.

'The one thing we know is that there will be a lot of creativity on show in this match: Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard for Chelsea and for Arsenal, Santi Cazorla. He has impressed people on the ball, and probes patiently while he's waiting for the right pass.

'Mikel Arteta orchestrates and allows Cazorla to have a pretty free rein. He makes them tick and the job of the more defensive-minded midfielders on our side is to close them down as quickly as possible.

'Ramires does well when facing play, running from deep. Whether it's on the right or left, where he played on Tuesday, he has the pace and energy to harass the opposition.

'Romeu and he were both excellent, but that was against Wolves: Arsenal away is a different proposition. I can see Mikel returning as he has been excellent this season. Robbie would want Frank Lampard in a derby game like this too. But he now knows he has options.

'It's important John Terry is still available. Of course the home fans will give him stick - and Ashley Cole - but he'll tell you it is water off a duck's back.

'There may be less concern about Gervinho in the centre than Lukas Podolski who looks like he is warming to the cause and he's certainly a threat and a target.

'He comes in from wide on the left, so Robbie Di Matteo has a big decision to make whether to throw in César Azpilicueta or keep Branislav Ivanovic in there.

'We know the height, defensive strength and experience Brana brings, and that might tip the balance. But I thought Azpi put in a terrific performance against Wolves. There were a few nervy passes early on - which a top side might have punished - but he was nice and bright going forward and very strong one-on-one at the back, without being asked too many questions.

'He looks to have quality on the ball with an excellent range of long and short passes and a trick or two at the other end, too. We haven't really witnessed it yet but he also has a monster throw-in apparently.

'The other thing is he has lightning pace - that is always useful against Arsenal. Remember the issues we had with the high defensive line in the home game last season.

'We may not have Drogba, who used to scare the living daylights out of Arsenal, but if I were them I'd be worried about the form of the three behind Fernando Torres. Juan Mata, Victor Moses, Oscar, Eden Hazard… whoever plays there, we're seeing terrific movement now, and it's bringing exciting football. I think Arsenal's centre-backs will find Hazard a real handful.

'Mata was outstanding in midweek. That short break seems to have energised him and he is dominating matches on the ball again. But it will not be so easy to find the space he needs against Arsenal - they're a quality side.

'It will be a big test for Abou Diaby to track those players and their fast interplay. They are fortunate to have Thomas Vermaelen (pictured below) back in the centre to partner Laurent Koscielny too, because to me Per Mertesacker still struggles at times. It was great to see Fernando Torres hit the net again; we need him firing on all cylinders in this one.

Torres


'I still feel Arsenal's full-backs are a little bit of an Achilles heel for them defensively. They leave gaps, especially on the right. Victor Moses might be involved after putting in some storming runs in the last few matches. He could really have a go at Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs and cause them lots of problems, especially with Ashley overlapping.'

Squad news
Roberto Di Matteo welcomes back Frank Lampard who has overcome an ankle niggle but Daniel Sturridge misses a fourth match due to a hamstring strain.

For Arsenal, Thomas Vermaelen is due to return from illness but goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is out with an ankle injury. Vito Mannone continues between the posts.

The game is also expected to come too early for Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and defender Bacary Sagna.

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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: ARSENAL V CHELSEA

CHELSEA STATS
The Blues are six points better off after five games compared to the corresponding games last season.

All four occasions this term in the Premier League we have opened the scoring we have gone on to win the game.

Chelsea have not won an away Premier League game in the Capital for over two years although we have drawn the last four. Our last victory was 3-1 at West Ham on 11 September 2010, eight games ago.

We have won only two of our previous 11 away league games drawing five and losing four.


Last six results
Aug 25 Newcastle (h) W 2-0
Aug 31 Atlético Madrid (Uefa Super Cup) L 1-4
Sep 15 QPR (a) D 0-0
Sep 19 Juventus (Champions League h) D 2-2
Sep 22 Stoke (h) W 1-0
Sep 25 Wolves (League Cup h) W 6-0


 

Premier League scorers
Ivanovic 2, Lampard 2 (2 pens), Torres 2, Cahill 1, Cole 1, Hazard 1 (pen). Total 9.


League games since
An away win: 1
An away draw: 0
An away defeat: 2

 

Chelsea's next three games
Tue 2 Oct Nordsjaelland (Champions League) away 7.45pm
Sat 6 Oct Norwich City home 3.00pm
Sat 20 Oct Tottenham Hotspur away 12.45pm


 

MILESTONES
If selected, Branislav Ivanovic will make his 100th Premier League start for the club.

Frank Lampard is one goal away from equalling our all-time league scorer in top flight matches Bobby Tambling with 129 goals. He is currently level with Roy Bentley with 128.

John Terry needs one goal to reach 50 in all competitions for the Blues.


ARSENAL STATS
Formed
1886

Major trophies
13 League championships, last in 2004
10 FA Cups, last in 2005
2 League Cups, last in 1993
12 FA Charity/Community Shields (1 shared), last in 2004
1 European Cup Winners' Cup in 1994
1 Fairs Cup in 1970


Arsenal's seven years without silverware is the worst period since the eight-year gap between 1979 (FA Cup) and 1987 (League Cup).

The Gunners are unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions since Wigan won 2-1 at the Emirates on 31 March.

Arsenal have won only six points from the last 15 at home in the Premier League.


Manager Arsène Wenger
Days in charge:5,843
Played 908
Won 518
Drawn 218
Lost 172


Arsenal's last 10 year league history
Pts Pos
2002/03 78 2nd
2003/04 90 1st
2004/05 83 2nd
2005/06 67 4th
2006/07 68 4th
2007/08 83 3rd
2008/09 72 4th
2009/10 75 3rd
2010/11 68 4th
2011/12 70 3rd



 

PMB


 

Last six results
Aug 26 Stoke (a) D 0-0
Sep 2 Liverpool (a) W 2-0
Sep 15 Southampton (h) W 6-1
Sep 18 Montpellier (Champions League a) W 2-1
Sep 23 Manchester City (a) D 1-1
Sep 26 Coventry (League Cup h) W 6-1



2012/13 Premier League scorers
Gervinho 2, Podolski 2, own goals 2, Cazorla 1, Koscielny 1, Walcott 1. Total 9.


League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 1
A home defeat: 4


MAJOR SUMMER MOVES
Arsenal
Ins
Santi Cazorla (Malaga, £15m), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier, £13m), Lukas Podolski (Cologne, £11m).
Outs Manuel Almunia (Watford, free), Nicklas Bendtner (Juventus, loan), Denilson (Sao Paulo, loan), Ryo Miyaichi (Wigan, loan), Robin van Persie (Manchester United, £24m), Alexandre Song (Barcelona, £15m), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad, undisclosed), Park Chu-Young (Celta Vigo, loan).


THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Martin Atkinson's last two Chelsea games were against Tottenham: the 5-1 FA Cup semi-final thrashing at Wembley last season, and the goalless draw at Stamford Bridge in March.


OTHERWISE ENGAGED
There are no suspensions.

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