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Giving credit where it?s due and looking ahead


Dorset

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The dust has settled at Stamford Bridge for sometime now, but clouds of it were raised as we drove a coach and horses through Citeh?s midfield at the weekend and that game will live long in the memory. I?m still not over the shock of watching two teams, vying for a place at the top, compete in such an expansive way, yet provide an end result so overwhelmingly one sided. Credit to Avram Grant, but most of all a credit to Chelsea, shedding as it did the winning ugly shackles of the Jose era.

Yet this style of play had a new ingredient in the mix, perhaps best described as a sort of risk free persona - we?ve waltzed through you once and we?ll do it again and again until we grow tired of doing it. Not that we did grow tired of doing it - we were still doing it in injury time - but throughout the 90 minutes that total football mantra of unstoppable self belief, aligned to expression of skill, was there for all to see. Credit to Henk ten Cate in this respect, as anyone prepared to check out his football background would have already known.

It would also be unfair to ignore the contributions of Paulo and Belletti, who looked as though they could perform anywhere on the park and often did just that. It would seem that our full backs, with the game standing at one or two-nil, no longer look at the halfway line as if on the edge of a precipice. Credit to Steve Clarke for his liberated influence in this area and also his continual display of loyalty to the club at an extremely difficult time - just sign your contract, Steve, please.

So it?s all good news so far? Well no, the opposition was only Sven?s newly cobbled together blue suede Swede shoes and, whilst they?ve been tripping the light fantastic for a while and are well heeled, they look more than a little porous. The real test comes in December when we go to the Emirates and the Gunners try to put on a show of strength, whilst at the same time passing us to distraction. Before last Saturday, stealing some of our old combat gear would have been seen by them as the best way to get a home win, but now they will view us in a different light and wonder if the final outcome might be a case of ?Suits us, sir!?

Okay, it is too early to be considering this fixture, but one thing is certain - it won?t be Citeh all over again, because only a fool would suggest that they are in Arsenal?s class. That said, Wenger continues to bemoan his team?s missed chances along with No.2 son-in-law, who openly admits to still having nightmares involving Didier, Senderos and crosses coming into the box. On the other hand, how ironic it would be if we ended up searching for a winner in a classic only to be caught on the break in the dying moments of the game. Callista will tell you it is bound to happen, just as our current spate of clean sheets is bound to end soon, but how would you react if it occurred in a crucial six-pointer, when chasing a win away from home? All part of the entertaining style learning process, or gutted that we didn?t shut up shop? Replies on a postcard please to:- A Grant, 6 The Bridge, Style-Over-Substance, Ponders End.

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Arsenal's play this campaign has been very entertaining to say the least. we can, however, look at the weakness of their schedule, and the fact that it took roughly 2 moths before they were thwrown a stern test away from home. However, they showed a lot of mettle in the game up at anfield. To go down one infront of the "mighty' Kop, and then have Rafa stifle their chances by merely crowding ut the midfield/ top of the box area thus limiting their creativity infront of goal, most teams may have folded to a 1-0. However, Arsenal were a little unlucky to hit the bar twice, but more than deserved to leave with a share of the points.

As for us playing them; well, it is not until December, and I think that Arsenal will have come through a couple of tough tests by then. Hopefully their confidence wont be as high (I think these cannon fodder teams that they have played so far are doing nothing short of creating a self belief of being invincible), but on the flip side, our's will be rising.

I think that the team are professinal enough to realize that our job is to stay focused, and I fully believe Clarke is the lynch pin in this transition. I feel we will continue to sue our 3 person coaching staff to play entertaining football, but at the end of the day the result is what we need. Would I be disappointed in us going to Arsenal, grabbing a goal, and then shutting up shop....not at all. In the end, it is the points we need, and I really don't care how we get them

Scott

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This is what ive been saying all along, Ars dont have the consistency to last the whole year.

Its Man U we should be worried about.

Even if Ars have been scoring alot this season, i think they still have that none-scoring ability in the back of their minds wich they probably will be reminded of soon.

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We'll be able to make a much better judgement on the relative merits of Ares and Manu after Saturday's game.

In such a long season with such a lot of talent there is room for the slings and arrows to produce a few changes in the leader board.

In counter to the view that Arse's young team wont retain their consistency for a whole season (and by the way it heavily depends on Fabregas who has truly produced some great goals this seaons) we could also note that parts of the ManU team are old and will struggle with injury. Scholes and Giggs are the obvious candidates, but also Vidic and Van Der Saar are flakey.

Certainly a big game this week

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It'll be interesting when a side comes to 'park the bus' and it's level with about 10 minutes to go. Or if a side pinch one and defend a lead.

Not all sides come to the bridge to 'play', some come to stop us from playing.

There is only a brief moment in our history where we've consistantly hung onto slim leads and comeout victorious. The stands at the bridge can be a very nervy place with 5-10 mins to go as we all know.

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Arsenal plays 0-0 against ManU and we beat Wigan. With those results we are trailing ManU with only 3 points. 128.gif

I don't think Arsenal will collapse during the season. It is tough to win EPL with such unexperienced side, but they've got quality in those young players.

Liverpool can also lose points as they visit high flying Blackburn. Pool is missing lot of players and I'm sure Benny will put one or two behind them 128.gif

I really can't see us losing a point visiting Wigan. We got Drogs and Lamps.

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I can't see us losing points against Wigan either, but they always seem to give us a challenge.

2005-2006 1 14 Aug 2005 Wigan Athletic 0-1 Chelsea

2005-2006 16 10 Dec 2005 Chelsea 1-0 Wigan Athletic

2006-2007 19 23 Dec 2006 Wigan Athletic 2-3 Chelsea

2006-2007 23 13 Jan 2007 Chelsea 4-0 Wigan Athletic

Apart from the 4-0 thrashing they have been worthy opponents. But with the goal scoring form we are in we shouldn't have a problem.

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