Venue: Stamford Bridge Date: Sunday, 30 November Kick-off: 1600 GMT
Arsenal Likely Line Up (4-4-2)
Sagna – Gallas – Silvestre – Clichy
Denilson – Fabregas(c) – Song – Nasri
Van Persie – Adebayor
Subs from: Fabianski, Djourou, G.Hoyte, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere Vela, Bendtner
Chelsea Likely Line Up (4-3-3)
Bosingwa – Ivanovic – Terry(c) – A.Cole
Deco – Mikel – Lampard
Kalou – Anelka – Malouda
Subs from: Cudicini, Ferreira, Alex, Bridge, Ballack, Sinclair, Stoch, J Cole
Injury doubts: Joe Cole
Form Guide: Arsenal (5th) W7 D2 L5= 23 points Chelsea (1st): W10 D4 L1= 33 points
Tactics Talk- Where the match can be won and lost
Arsene Wenger will have to decide which formation to play, a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 and which of the trio passed to play if all. It seems likely all three will play and if a 4-4-2 is preferred Denilson may play on the right ahead of Ramsey (who would be interesting to see play behind the striker). As against Manchester United playing in triangles is key, providing support in a midfield which is likely to be congested. Van Persie dropping into holes could be that vital link who partnering Adebayor up front should provide a better balance.
Nasri must show more willingness to attack Bosingwa and also mark him who will look to attack at most given opportunities.
Chelsea stand top of the table on goal difference and Scolari has a tough choice to make against Arsenal providing Joe Cole is unfit, on who to replace him with, Kalou and Ballack the men vying for a start. If Ballack starts it is most likely Deco will move to the right with the German’s industry swinging in the manager’s favour. However Kalou is the more natural choice and can fit in with their style that has brought them top.
The wingers when attacking continuously look to support the striker Anelka by making diagonal runs inside (shown by image below). This frees up space for others to run into and hence bring more support. The central midfield players and Anelka can look to move into this channel however it is with the full backs which has been the most effective this season. Bosingwa has already scored two goals this season and this is an area which can pose huge danger for Arsenal. Man Utd effectively nullified that threat in the match between the two clubs by giving the tireless workers of Hargreaves and Park, marking duties of the two full backs.
Chelsea have been accused of being one-dimensional without Drogba but their passing and movement game will still be dangerous. The Arsenal midfield marking, positioning and tracking must be good while Silvestre will have a test of his mobility.
Transitions as ever look to be key in such big matches and the match could turn on whoever takes advantage of the counter and transitions in play. Give the ball away and the teams looked to punish or take advantage of any gaps and then brake in numbers.
Key Man: Cesc Fabregas Chelsea Danger Man: Frank Lampard
Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Arsenal