Monday, 27 December 2010

Arsenal must avoid defeat to stand any chance at winning the title

Arsenal go into tonight's London derby with Chelsea knowing this could be a defining game of their season.

A win would propel Arsene Wenger's side back into second position in the league and give his players real belief they can challenge for the title this season.

A draw wouldn't be the worst result in the world. It would see the Gunners remain in third, four points behind leaders Manchester United, but having played a game more.

Defeat would leave them leave us fourth - a potential eight points off the summit.

I think we have to avoid that third option at all costs. Apart from losing to another London rival, I think the players will lose faith in themselves during these big games.

The manager has been talking strongly about our need to win games at the Grove against the so-called bigger teams. We've been beaten by those lot from down the Seven Sisters Road for the first time in 17 years on home soil, been turned over by West Brom and put in a dire performance to lose against Newcastle.

Three home defeats aren't good enough for a team who have title aspirations. But we can put that right tonight.

We don't need any of the nerves we showed at Old Trafford two weeks ago. We need to come out quickly, with a high tempo, passing the ball in the way we know how to.

I think team selection will be key tonight. As I stated on the blog last night, I have a sneaky suspicious the boss might start with Marouane Chamakh and Robin Van Persie tonight.

Whatever he does do, I think we need to ensure our full backs aren't exposed. Chelsea have been positive on the flanks this season, so we need to shut down the supply coming into the box from these areas.

We also need to ensure we win more second balls. Too often at Old Trafford it was the home team who showed more fight in beating to us to any knock downs. Tonight we must do as much as we can to win the ball back. It's important we aren't second best in this contest and show the fight needed to gain maximum points.

Where ever you are watching the game tonight - and those of you joining me in the ground - sing load for the boys. Lets give them as much voice as we can muster.

Come on you Gooners!

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