Archive for December 10th, 2006

Chelsea Preview: Something to Prove

102 comments December 10th, 2006

Today, we face Chelsea without Thierry Henry, Tomas Rosicky, William Gallas, and Kolo Toure. Henry is our talismanic skipper and star player, Rosicky our new midfield dynamo, and Gallas and Kolo the centre-back pairing so impressive against the likes of Liverpool. For most people, this is cause for concern. I’m lying. For everyone, it’s a cause for conern. However, for some it’s a sign of impending doom, and it needn’t be. The absence of these four players simply opens the door for others, who have arguably more to prove.

Henry will again be replaced by Emmanuel Adebayor, who is making a name for himself as a big-name player. He’ll be dreaming of emulating his hero Kanu’s hat-rick at Stamford Bridge, but one goal would be enough to ensure he’ll be fondly remembered by Arsenal fans everywhere.

Rosicky will most likely be replaced by Mathieu Flamini, though if we have a more attacking shape, Freddie Ljungberg or Julio Baptista might have a chance of starting. Flamini is fighting for his Arsenal future ahead of the return of Abou Diaby and the emergence of Denilson; Ljungberg is facing off against critics and the influence of age; and Baptista is desperate to get regular first-team football and a long-term contract.

Finally, Gallas and Toure will be replaced by Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos, two players who are usually in direct competition with each other for a place in the first-sixteen. Djourou will be hoping to continue his impressive evolution into a top-class centre-back, but Senderos has a very particular bone to pick with Chelsea’s Ivorian striker, Didier Drogba.

All these individuals have something to prove. Indeed, the entire team needs to show that they are a serious Premiership and Champions League contender. And that could work in our favour – perhaps that added bit of a desire could prove the difference. Let’s hope so.

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