Rectum? He nearly Killed em!

Chelsea v. Arsenal: polar opposites

Arsenal and Chelsea couldn’t be more polar opposites: Arsenal is a North London team, Chelsea South; Arsenal were formed in 1886, Chelsea were formed in 2003; Arsenal put blood, sweat and tears into a brand new stadium, Chelsea have a dump because their owner doesn’t care about the infrastructure; Arsenal have had the same manager (Arsene Wenger) for 16 years, Chelsea have had 16 managers since 2003; Arsenal have made hundreds of millions in the transfer market, Chelsea have spent hundreds of millions in the transfer market; Arsenal have interns, Chelsea shoot their interns with a pellet gun; Arsenal’s captain is a family man, Chelsea’s captain likes to date other men’s families; and Arsenal are excited that they just signed a young English prospect to a new contract, Chelsea are excited that they just extended an old Arsenal player’s contract.

But Arsenal and Chelsea are also similar: both clubs want to be Arsenal; they both play an attacking brand of football popularized by Arsenal; both clubs use Arsenal’s scouts to find talent; both Arsenal and Chelsea have 7 letters in their name; and both Arsenal and Chelsea charge away fans over £60 for a ticket.

But if you’ve been in anything other than a persistent vegetative state for the last 10 years, you already know all this.

Rectum? He nearly Killed em!

In fact, I’ve written about this Arsenal-Chelsea match so many times, and said the same things so many times, that… well, what’s left to say? How much has the story changed over the last 4 years? The answer is very little. They generally have a better team, as you would expect when they buy the best players, and they have generally challenged for the Premier League title, which Arsenal haven’t done. The story has been the same so often that last season was the first time that Arsenal finished above Chelsea since 2006.

But still, it’s an important game for both teams, for different reasons. Arsenal are in a rebuilding phase and Chelsea are about to undergo one, I suspect.

Just coming off a decent win over Swansea in the FA Cup, the young Gunners need to start building some momentum if they are going to finish in the Champions League places this year. With the Premier League awash with money, there’s a lot of competition for the top four spots. An Arsenal win tomorrow will fire the Gunners all the way into fifth place, just three points off Tottenham and with a game in hand.

We also know that Chelsea’s home form is poor owing at least partially to the fact that the Chelsea supporters hate the new manager Rafa Benitez. Despite having an owner who buys them any player they could ever want and who has amassed more trophies in the last 10 years than they had in all their history before that, the home crowd has taken to booing Benitez. Just because. They don’t like him.

Benitez in return will be desperate for a good home win but will his team feel the same way? This is a Chelsea team with a history of throwing the manager under the bus. A big loss tomorrow would surely see Abramovich wield his managerial axe.

The referee is Martin Atkinson and he has the distinction of having refereed the last match between these two teams — Arsenal’s 2-1 loss back in September. It’s very rare to see a referee get the same match twice in the same season so I’m sure this will be mentioned. What won’t be mentioned is that Atkinson is quick with the red card and awarding penalties. Arsenal need to be fully alert for the 90 minutes to avoid pulling a Koscielny.

Regardless of the outcome, I just ask one thing from the Arsenal; that they give everything like they did against Swansea in the FA Cup. If Chelsea are better, so be it, but at least get in their faces and give Chelsea a game.

Kickoff is 5:30am. By the Numbers will be posted on Arseblog before 10am local time.

Up the Gunners.


36 thoughts on “Chelsea v. Arsenal: polar opposites

  1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1GiantCalGunner

    It’s like the whole Lincoln and Kennedy thing, only the opposite. Lincoln and anti-Lincoln?

    Can’t wait for 530am kickoff. Might just stay up all night pacing.

    Go Gunners.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1DF

      Tim must be hugely disappointed, so does Wenger; because this young Arsenal team,as so often with the teams in the last 8 years, only start playing when they are 2-0 behind in the first half, and after a talking-to in the dressing room during the break. This game also proves that this team lacks quality, not as Wenger says “we have enough quality not to buy”, to recover from 2 goals down against a top 5 club. We lost van Persie & Song this year, and have not replaced either. With Giroud’s unreliability, Podolski’s ‘health’–even though Wenger says we cannot drop more points– I wonder if we can beat West Ham on Wed, Brighton Away and the resurrected Liverpool …
      Wenger is stubborn and won’t buy,
      To Champions League next season we can bade goodbye…

  2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    I think in terms of talent, we have what it takes to win this game…but mentally? Nah. This is a team afraid of the big clubs. 2-0 to Chelsea, and 0 chance of Wenger strengthening this team before the 31st.

    It’s all so very predictable, I should almost be grateful. Like a zoo animal.

  3. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    Great paragraph, sir. Great read. I’m quietly (and worryingly) optimistic about this. Chelsea away? Was it so long ago that the went about a bajillion games unbeaten at home? Was it us or Liverpool who ended that streak – I think it was Pool. Or am I confusing things? Anyway. The Swansea performance was great and gives me hope, but I think we may revert back to our usual lineup/formation. I hope we don’t see Theo up top, and now that he’s signed I think it’s unlikely. I also hope Mert starts, this isn’t a game for Koscielny, even if Chelsea have a number of small, pacy and tricky attacking players. I reckon we’ll see Podolski back on the left and Cazorla in the middle. I’d also have Coq over Diaby, he surely can’t play 3 big games in a week yet. Coq has much to prove and this may not be the best game to do it, but what options do we have?

    I do hope we see a reversion to our Swansea formation at some point, maybe in the second half. Depending on the situation, bringing on Diaby for Podolski (who never finishes 90 minutes) and pushing Cazorla to the left could change the dynamic. Lets see how it goes.

    One comment: your line “Arsenal are in a rebuilding phase and Chelsea are about to undergo one, I suspect.” What a horrifying thought. I’d have thought Chelsea are at least halfway through rebuilding – they’ve already gone from a team of oldies (Drogba, Lampard, Terry, Cole, Malouda, etc) to a significantly younger team (Ramires, Mata, Oscar, Hazard, Luiz, Moses). How much rebuilding is left? Ba may not be their main striker for long, and they’ll probably look to getting a defender or two and a midfielder in the next year or so (and a keeper some time after that) – but to think they have a large amount of rebuilding left… a scary thought. Let’s hope that FFP will limit that somewhat.

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Ssinderias

    I’m more than a little excited. Still up at 2:30 am local time with kickoff in 3 hours. Maybe I should just stay up.
    The 16 years and 16 managers since 2003 was a crack up.
    I’m hoping for a big result, a good run and a couple of big transfers in!
    Come in Arsenal!

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    Great article Tim. Can I add another opposite with Arsenal have a boogeyman player for them in Walcott, the man who recently sign, and Chelsea don’t have a boogeyman player,, which is Drogba. The boogeyman thing is something fascinating, which I don’t see anyone actually do an article on them. We have Henry for Leeds or Liverpool, Van P for Man Utd (until he was bought by them), Drogba for us, etc.

    I do agree that at least we have to get in their face, and we have done that aren’t we on our last meeting with them? Arsene also agree that we need aggression,, so go there Arsenal, get stuck in and earn the win !

  6. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Gooneryank

    Diaby and the Coq look like they’ve been thrown into the lion cage with raw meat in their pockets.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    Team not good enough. Wenger refuses to strengthen.

    That’s the story of how many seasons now?

  8. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

    Well, wasn’t expecting too much anyway. But what a match by Le Coq. Too bad those hammies. Ramires without a yellow? Gimme a break. Giroud had a fantastic chance when still 0-0. Theo’s finishing was superb. What was that with Jack asking everyone (more than once) to come out? Is it necessary to play shit 1st halves? Penalty my arse. No foul call on Mata’s 1st goal? A bottle of water would’ve been better than Arshavin. Cazorla largely gone. Gibbs with outstanding match again. I hope he reaches the end of the season healthy. Will we spend some f-ing money?

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

    Well, yet another game decided by Arsenal’s calamitous defending. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Atkinson missed a rather obvious foul on le Coq but the fact is that Cazorla was too busy yelling at the ref to close down Azpilicueta who therefore had all the time in the world to pick out a pass. And Sagna simply didn’t hustle to track back on Mata and close the massive gap between himself and Mert. For the second goal, Diaby, not for the first time in this game got caught in possession. Le Coq showed an amazing lack of awareness and got attracted to the ball while letting Ramirez run totally free behind him. And Sagna again got caught too high up the pitch. Why is he 20 yards up the pitch when Diaby is at the halfway line? And even more frustratingly, when he finally comes into to the picture, he’s jogging back. We made a game of it in the second half but you can’t spot any team, let alone a team of Chelski’s quality a two goal lead.

  10. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    In the end, despite our best efforts to lose this game in the first half, it came down to having that bit of extra quality up front that might have made the difference. I like Giroud. I really do and I don’t mean to single him out. However in a game like this where chances are scarce we needed someone who could bury the chance or half chances that Giroud had. At the very least we need a striker who can create space for themselves and not just depend on “service”. I was of the mindset that our first priority in the transfer market should be a defensive MFer but I’ve changed my mind over the last few games. We need a quality striker. Unfortunately we go through this same shit every year. Wenger’s not going to buy anybody so there is little point in us hoping for something different this time. I have come into terms with the very strong possibility that we will finish out of the CL spots this year. For the sake of my sanity, I have to detach myself a little bit from these results and I hate that it makes me feel like and outsider looking in – but that’s the reality.

  11. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

    Still, the big picture tells us that Chelsea away was difficult anyway. Now is time to bury those matches against “lesser opposition” starting with the Wet Hams and hope that that 4th place trophy sort itself out.

  12. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim

    I forgot the one polar opposite that really matters: Arsenal have a tendency to suck donkey balls for an entire half and think they can get back into the game against a top four side, Chelsea don’t.

  13. +3 Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    Bunburyist @11:13 pm said it best for me:

    “It’s all so very predictable, I should almost be grateful. Like a zoo animal.”

    This all a bit confessional, but the most frustrating thing about this season is my lack of outrage when we lose. It’s the expected thing against any of the top 4/5 teams and I hate feeling like this. Our Jekyll/Hyde 1st and 2nd half performances seem to be the norm for now.

    I could have but didn’t, make the effort to go to a footy pub to watch the match this morning, because I unfortunately have come down with the same malaise as my club – lack of belief and confidence, so why bother?

    We have well and truly settled into mediocrity. Our position in the table remains the same after two weeks: firmly out of the top 4 places. I do expect that we will inevitably crawl up to fighting distance of the top four near season’s end when all the drama will be on whether we earn another Champions League Admission Trophy or not.

    If we make it, Wenger will earn another pat on the back for his “genius” to yet again get us to punch above our weight to play against Europe’s best in 2013/2014. Or not. Which is truly the better scenario?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

      Given that our payroll is typically 4th or 5th highest in the BPL and in the top 10 of all European clubs, I wouldn’t say we’re punching above our weight. Given that outside of Chelski and the two Manchesters, our revenue, resources, and facilities are far and away “the best of the rest” in the BPL, I would say that Arsenal finishing 4th in the BPL and getting to the last 16 or quarterfinals of the Champions League is more or less expected. I suppose some credit is due for never falling below the expected level. But then again, Wenger has rarely gotten us to punch above our weight.

  14. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1dy

    I would rather see Arsenal comes out the first half fighting and pressing and runs out of gas in the second half, than watching the team hibernates and does nothing from the start until its too late.

  15. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Braidy

    Our second half results prove the coaches can get across what they want done according to how a team is playing, why cant the players pick that up before being told,……they lack leaders

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1DF

      Perhaps preparation beforehand too…Cesc once said in an interview Wenger never prepares a team against a specific opponent….that perhaps is why the team is at a loss in the first half…

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

    We’re never going to be good again, are we? We’re going to be Bolton, or whatever. A club that dominated in the distant past and are now useless.

  17. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    Andrey Arshavin….really…?!??!?!
    Where was Ox…??? didnt see an injury news for him…

    A very wrong time for Mikel Arteta, Poldi to go missing…
    Giroud tires hard…and tries to outwit his marker…he should just rather use his physical powress…Even Theo is learning that it is the best weapon in Premier League..was good to see him run into the defenders..

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1jefffulham

    This man is getting paid £7 million a year, yet he can’t motivate the team. He doesn’t change formation, he can’t rotate the squad because its awful and never makes effective subs. Why are we putting up with this nonsense? Get a manager in who will work on defending, will work on set pieces, will change strategy to suit the opposition and most importantly will make some bloody signings. I’m fed up with his rhetorical bull. We are paying the most in the country if not the world to watch complete apathy on the pitch. Change has to happen!

  19. Vote -1 Vote +1buckagh

    Blog brought a smile to my face, wittiest thing I have read in a while.
    Pretty much everything that is wrong and right with current Arsenal team covered in comments already.Wenger era in the endgame but deserves better than this. Disinterested chairman at least on the football side of things. A board and CEO whom seem incapable of seeing beyond Wenger and doubtful if they are capable of appointing a successor . I won’t hold my breath for change.

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