By Bulldog Drummond
In my earlier piece I looked at a run from 1960 to 1970, in which Arsenal’s form was truly awful. We might now contrast this with the spell from December 1995 to March 2004. That was a spell of 26 games in which we lost just two.
|16 Dec 1995||Arsenal v Chelsea||D||1-1||Premier League|
|4 Sep 1996||Arsenal v Chelsea||D||3-3||Premier League|
|5 Apr 1997||Chelsea v Arsenal||W||0-3||Premier League|
|21 Sep 1997||Chelsea v Arsenal||W||2-3||Premier League|
|28 Jan 1998||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||2-1||League Cup|
|8 Feb 1998||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||2-0||Premier League|
|18 Feb 1998||Chelsea v Arsenal||L||3-1||League Cup|
|9 Sep 1998||Chelsea v Arsenal||D||0-0||Premier League|
|11 Nov 1998||Arsenal v Chelsea||L||0-5||League Cup|
|31 Jan 1999||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||1-0||Premier League|
|23 Oct 1999||Chelsea v Arsenal||W||2-3||Premier League|
|6 May 2000||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||2-1||Premier League|
|6 Sep 2000||Chelsea v Arsenal||D||2-2||Premier League|
|13 Jan 2001||Arsenal v Chelsea||D||1-1||Premier League|
|18 Feb 2001||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||3-1||FA Cup|
|8 Sep 2001||Chelsea v Arsenal||D||1-1||Premier League|
|26 Dec 2001||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||2-1||Premier League|
|4 May 2002||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||2-0||FA Cup|
|1 Sep 2002||Chelsea v Arsenal||D||1-1||Premier League|
|1 Jan 2003||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||3-2||Premier League|
|8 Mar 2003||Arsenal v Chelsea||D||2-2||FA Cup|
|25 Mar 2003||Chelsea v Arsenal||W||1-3||FA Cup|
|18 Oct 2003||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||2-1||Premier League|
|15 Feb 2004||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||2-1||FA Cup|
|21 Feb 2004||Chelsea v Arsenal||W||1-2||Premier League|
|24 Mar 2004||Chelsea v Arsenal||D||1-1||UEFA Champions League|
That also included 17 in a row without defeat.
Now to look at the most recent games starting with the last FA Cup match (the 2017 final) between the two what we find is…
|27 May 2017||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||2-1||FA Cup Final|
|6 Aug 2017||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||1-1||FA Community Shield|
|17 Sep 2017||Chelsea v Arsenal||D||0-0||Premier League|
|3 Jan 2018||Arsenal v Chelsea||D||2-2||Premier League|
|10 Jan 2018||Chelsea v Arsenal||D||0-0||League Cup|
|24 Jan 2018||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||2-1||League Cup|
|18 Aug 2018||Chelsea v Arsenal||L||3-2||Premier League|
|19 Jan 2019||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||2-0||Premier League|
|29 May 2019||Chelsea v Arsenal||L||4-1||Europa League Final|
|29 Dec 2019||Arsenal v Chelsea||L||1-2||Premier League|
|21 Jan 2020||Chelsea v Arsenal||D||2-2||Premier League|
That is 11 games starting with the 2017 final and we have won four. There have been four draws and Chelsea have won just three. So not quite such a dominant force against us. Mind you they did beat us 4-1 in the last cup final we played against them, so a revenge is due for that.
There is also the issue of Chelsea’s owner who most certainly seems to have become an absentee landlord since the government refused to give him a visa to allow him to work in the UK. Work on the Chelsea stadium has been stopped – seemingly abandoned, the owner has not made an appearance at the ground, and indeed according to the Chelsea manager, a Mr F Lampard, the owner has not been in touch with the club to wish the players good luck.
Mark Lawrenson for the BBC doesn’t give us a team prediction (the Corporation never does) but does say, “I am expecting a good game, though, and it is Arsenal who I think will edge it. That’s not to say Chelsea are not dangerous too. I just feel like Arsenal have got more momentum and confidence at the moment, but otherwise it is difficult to split the two sides. Prediction: 1-0.”
So what about the teams?
The Evening Standard goes with
Holding, Luiz, Tierney;
Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles;
Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang
The Mail has now admitted in a new article that Tierney can play central defence, so dropping the “forced to play” approach of the earlier piece, turns its attention to saying this could be the last Arsenal game for Aubameyang. Attack, attack, attack, attack attack (that’s the Mail attacking Arsenal, not a prediction for Arsenal’s performance).
The Guardian also doesn’t seem to want to forecast a team. What has got into these people?
The Express goes with exactly the same team as the Standard. But the Sun does manage to give us an alternative by slipping Saka into the team.
Holding, Luiz, Tierney;
Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka
Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang
The Metro has no team prediction – it really is all rather strange. So instead of that here is the road to the final.
|6 Jan 2020||Arsenal v Leeds United||W||1-0||FA Cup 3|
|27 Jan 2020||AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal||W||1-2||FA Cup 4|
|2 Mar 2020||Portsmouth v Arsenal||W||0-2||FA Cup 5|
|28 Jun 2020||Sheffield United v Arsenal||W||1-2||FA Cup 6|
|18 Jul 2020||Arsenal v Manchester City||W||2-0||FA Cup S-F|
|1 Aug 2020||Arsenal v Chelsea||FA Cup Final|
The next season starts on 12 September, which raises the question, what happens in the next 43 days (apart from another 100 mindless transfer rumours)? Do the players go on holiday? Do they have a mini-break and then return for training? Are there any pre-season friendlies? I think we should be told!
Try and have some fun this afternoon. I find turning the commentary off helps. Anyone got a spare ticket?