Former Chelsea winger Clive Walker weighs up how Chelsea might bring derby spoils to the Bridge for the first time in the league this season.
'Everyone is discussing the disparity between away performances, which have been terrific, and the home ones which, recently, haven't. As a former pro I can say one thing. I've heard some people say players are unaffected by atmosphere at games. If that's the case, why would people bother to travel the distances they do and cheer the team on?
'I know from experience that as a player when you have a group of fans backing you it gives you an enormous boost - you run that extra few yards and jump that extra few inches higher. You all feel part of the same thing. When you're on the pitch you want to feel the fans are enjoying the display - there's no better feeling.
'The team haven't been able to produce a home win for a few weeks. Maybe the Bridge has been a fortress for so long that the players sometimes take their foot off the gas.
'If they do that for more than a moment against Arsenal it could be fatal, as we saw last season when Robin van Persie was with them.
'We have to play well to beat teams at the moment, we cannot drift in games. This is a young side and perhaps we don't have the on-pitch leadership we had in recent seasons.
'John Terry is being considered to start a game once more. You get the drive from that type of player which infects teammates with the winning mentality to finish the job. However well or not JT plays, that mentality is always there.
'I detect a lack of leadership in Arsenal, not like the days of Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams, Emmanuel Petit. Jack Wilshere has a little of that power, too, though he can lose his rag occasionally. And we all saw Laurent Koscielny arguably throw the game away against Man City last weekend by doing a rugby tackle and being sent off.
'Abou Diaby (pictured below) can be a big player for Arsenal, giving them more strength and power in central midfield with his rangy stride. Is he fit enough to play 90 minutes after the long injury? That would be my query.
'Ramires's running will be key to tracking him when he makes his runs. One of the big issues when you play Arsenal is concentration. Keep your discipline, shape and focus, and be wary of their counterattacking because they have great players who can carve you open when you make a mistake. Cazorla looks very elusive and difficult to mark at times. We have had problems in the areas he likes to take up too.
'Obviously this is the first season for a while Arsenal haven't had to face their nemesis, Didier Drogba. He bullied and outmuscled their defence every time and convinced himself he was going to beat them every time. Demba Ba is as close as we have to him but he doesn't have the history or terror Didier did, although he has netted twice in three matches against them.
'I still think we have the resources and strength to cause them lots of problems, and the corresponding match at the Emirates proved that - we dominated them in every area of the pitch. They will miss the injured Mikel Arteta, who calmly keeps things ticking over in midfield.
'When you are playing a top-six side you look for weaknesses and I don't think Bacary Sagna has had a great season for the Gunners at right-back. It wouldn't surprise me if Chelsea targeted him through Eden Hazard, who has been excellent in recent weeks. Ashley Cole needs to back Eden up to exploit space, because I think Sagna gets caught in no man's land every now and then.
'Rafa Benitez made some selection decisions early in his time here where he moved Ramires and David Luiz both forward, but he has reverted them in the last few matches. I prefer them where they are now but the manager will know them better than we do.
'The most important thing is that we retain our focus and intensity. Do that and I think we will celebrating a double league victory over the Arsenal.'
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Chelsea have won only two of our last eight games at Stamford Bridge and failed to score in four of them.
We have won six out of the last nine matches scoring 27 goals.
West Ham away was the only occasion this season, out of 14; we have opened the scoring in the Premier League and went on to lose the game.
No team has kept more Premier League clean sheets than Chelsea's nine.
The Blues are 10 points better off compared to the corresponding 22 fixtures last season.
We have gained 12 points from losing positions this term.
|Last six results|