Revenge was certainly mentioned a lot ahead of the meeting with Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final. Even though the aftermath of the immense victory over the Spaniards has reduced the attention, one should also look at the match with Arsenal in the same context. Despite being highly successful against Arsenal over the past couple of seasons, we head into the match at the Emirates Stadium having been defeated 5-3 earlier in the season. True, we’re much better team now than under AVB, but this crop of Chelsea players still have a lot to prove before they head into the Euro 2012. A lot of people interested in Euro 2012 England betting will be keen on this match due to the number of English players involved.
Roberto di Matteo suggested during the pre-match press conference that he will be utilising more of the squad on Saturday, which means that one can get to see the likes of Essien, Malouda, Bosingwa, and Ferreira all get a piece of action.
Chelsea’s Chief executive Ron Gourlay appeared to suggest that finishing in the top four was far more important than winning the Champions League or the FA Cup. However, it seems that di Matteo already has the Barcelona match in mind. I too would have chosen this decision because the Champions League hopes is still in our hands, while the prospect of finishing in the top four certainly is not.
A high line against Arsenal in the 5-3 defeat helped Theo Walcott make the most out of John Terry’s lack of pace, but Roberto di Matteo is unlikely to repeat the same mistake. In many ways, this match could actually be a preparation for the Barcelona match. Arsenal’s style of play and the size of the pitch are in many ways similar to that of Barcelona.
The biggest advantage in terms of a top four finish is the fact that both Tottenham and Chelsea play only after we have finished. It is also easy to forget that Arsenal are also in the race as well. The defeat at the hands of Wigan has certainly changed their outlook on the top four finish.
Arsenal, though, will be delighted at the prospect of not having to face Didier Drogba, who has been the nemesis for Arsene Wenger on numerous occasions in the past. The striker is more likely to be rested having played two games in such a short span of time and also with the Barcelona match in mind.