Saturday, 22 March 2014

The winner and the loser.

Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger


Jose Mourinho has confirmed Chelsea will be without former Arsenal defender Ashley Cole, who is continuing his recovery from a knee ligament injury.
Midfielders Ramires and Willian are suspended as a result of their dismissals at Aston Villa last weekend.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has just one new concern, with Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky to face a fitness test.
The Gunners have long-term absentees in Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby.

MATCH PREVIEW

A thousand games; no mean achievement for Arsene Wenger. Whether Wenger would choose to reach such a landmark at Chelsea is debatable. It's possible that for Wenger only a surprise party at Stoke would be less appealing than a couple of hours with Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho can be funny, charming, generous in his praise, clever and beguiling; but so often on the subject of Wenger he is ungracious and even plain bitchy - variously describing the Frenchman as a 'voyeur' and a 'specialist in failure'. Neither was true, neither becoming of the Portuguese.
"One thing about Chelsea is when they lose a game, they tend to come back and win.
"Jose Mourinho has never lost a home Premier League game and I don't think it's under threat."
However, much more important than the social pleasantries of the dugout is the destination of the three points on offer at Stamford Bridge.
Wenger has failed to win any of his 10 previous meetings with Mourinho. An end to that run would have huge implications for the title race; suddenly it would be Chelsea fading and Arsenal surging.
It would end Mourinho's unbeaten home league record as Chelsea manager, now stretching over 75 games, and leave Arsenal champing at the bit for the chance to play Manchester City next weekend once they've met Swansea on Tuesday.
But should Chelsea win this game, Wenger will be realistic enough to know that Manchester City could all but knock Arsenal out of the title race in seven days time. It really is make or break.
Things have started looking up for Chelsea after the tempest of Villa Park. The midweek win over an exceptionally tame Galatasaray was just what they needed, the Champions League quarter-final draw could have been worse too.
Meantime, Mourinho was never going to pass up the chance to have another little dig at Wenger: "I admire Wenger and I admire Arsenal, a club that stands by its manager in bad moments - of which there were quite a lot."
Miaow!

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head
  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last four Premier League games against the Gunners (W2, D2).
  • Arsenal have a good record at Stamford Bridge, winning almost a third of their 76 league visits (W25, D25, L26).
  • The Gunners have also outscored the Blues at the Bridge, with 100 goals to 95.
Chelsea
  • Chelsea were beaten for the first time in 15 league games at Aston Villa last weekend.
  • Queens Park Rangers were the last side to enjoy victory at Stamford Bridge, winning 1-0 in January 2013 - the Blues have been unbeaten in their last 25 games on home soil.
  • Chelsea have scored in 14 out of their 15 home games this season; West Ham denied them in a goalless draw back in January.
  • Only Arsenal (7) have conceded fewer goals at home in the league than Chelsea (9) this season.
  • The Blues have the tightest defence in the division, conceding just 23 goals.
  • All of Samuel Eto'o's seven Premier League goals have come at Stamford Bridge.
  • Jose Mourinho has never lost a game in charge of Chelsea against Arsenal in all competitions (W5, D5).
Arsenal
  • Saturday's game will be Arsene Wenger's 1000th in charge if Arsenal.
  • Arsenal's 1-0 victory against Tottenham in the north London derby was their first away win in four games - stretching back to mid-January.
  • The Gunners have won seven out of eight games against London opposition this season - Chelsea were the only side to deny them maximum points in December's goalless draw.
  • Both Arsenal and Chelsea are level with West Ham United in keeping an unbeaten 13 clean sheets in the Premier League this season.
  • Only Liverpool (twice) have failed to score on fewer occasions than Arsenal (four times).


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