Arsenal: Tonight’s London Derby is a Cup final for the Gunners in disguise

The fairy tale start to the season for Arsenal is still well, on. Infact, its quite absurd to call it a “Fairy Tale ” opening. The Gunners have worked very hard to earn that top position status, and if there is any team who deserves the league come end of season, its them.

Albeit, they still have their negative enigmatic traits in them. Despite positives oozing around the Emirates, the same old Arsenal has had its cameo this season.

Games against both Manchester clubs, Everton, to name a few has illustrated the same old Arsenal who tends to shoot itself on the foot.

After scoring against Everton courtesy of Mesut Ozil, had the Gunners held on to that score-line, they would have been 7 points adrift and made tonight’s encounter more of a bragging rights affair.

The aberration score-line at the Ethiad further illustrated a team that dies often before the funeral. They were moments where Arsenal could have equaled the scores or gone ahead, but due to silly and avoidable errors, they were battered by an industrious Manchester City side that is gifted with depth.

The loss at Old Trafford exposed the lack of mental strength, often. The manager stated after the game that he felt his side didn’t have that mentality to win at Old Trafford. Title contenders in the BPL should be  installed with belief to grind out results in any stadium- and he knows that.

In contrast, the performances against the likes of Southampton, Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Cardiff showed the resilience disposed in this squad and capability to get results even when they are second-best.

Tonight, however, all this would be history. With the home crowd cheering on and the players well rested, Arsene’s boys should be fighting to win and nothing else.

Losing at home to Chelsea would be disastrous. Not alone does it dampens their title aspirations, but Wenger risks losing a Champions league berth and ending the season trophyless.

Monday night, Arsenal’s defense would come under scrutiny by an attacking Chelsea outfit. It’s quite unfortunate to lose Koscielny to injury, but saying Vermaelen can’t fill the void is false; he’s a top player with experience, and his introduction at the Ethiad showed he’s still capable and fit.

Wilshere is another key player who is set to miss the London derby due to an ignorant middle finger sign at the Ethiad. In as much as I disapprove such gesture from Wilshere, I find it ludicrous that the FA would hand a two game ban for an incident that wasn’t in anyway damaging. The diminutive midfielder missing the game however is a chance for other top players in the squad to get a run in. Tomas Rosicky has continued to show his brilliance when picked, his pace, vision and sublime passes would be useful.

Welsh Jesus Aaron Ramsey is expected to be influential in this clash. The midfielder who has had a scintillating start to the season, on his day, would cause problems for Jose Mourinho’s men.

There has been rumors about Arsenal finding another striker in the January transfer market. Olivier Giroud has not been bad. Infact, he’s one of the orchestrators of most of Arsenal’s slick attacking flair- his layoffs, ability to holdup play are almost to perfection. He’s going to be the target man for Arsenal against a well drilled Chelsea defense without a shadow of doubt.

The significance of this game know no bounds. A win for Arsenal would be comforting and certainly refresh that title contenders mentality, anything less would erupt a volcano amongst the faithful and club itself. I hope not.


Written by Femi Hilekaan

Follow Femi on Twitter @femi4arsenal

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