Urgh, is there anything worse than a game that involves having to listen to Jose Mourinho yammer on?
In addition to our extensive pre-match coverage of the game, we’ve gotten our writers together for a short prediction on how they think the game will pan out.
And if you think we’re just going to throw these predictions out there and then forget about them, fear not.
We’ll be back to take a look at how we did and laughing at the person who got it wrong more than anyone else.
Lee Hurley Win 2-0
It’s time. That is all.
Helen Trantum Win 2-0
Five draws and seven losses in twelve attempts, with just six goals scored – Arsène’s record against Mourinho is undeniably poor, yet to take it purely at face value ignores the vastly differing circumstances of the two clubs in that period.
Mourinho never faced Arsène’s Arsenal in the period when we had the resources and players to conquer the world, and even in the 2004-05 season as the Invincibles team started to disperse he only managed two draws.
Even now, with austerity over, Arsène still has to choose which positions to purchase players for while Mourinho gets who he wants for all of them.
However, this Arsenal team has been carefully assembled over time to secure a greater balance between youth and experience, and we have seen improvement month on month. It’s easy to forget that in the corresponding fixture back in October we played pretty well, and were ultimately undone by a penalty. And then we were inevitably caught chasing the game late on.
This time, we have the form to be patient and wait for our chances to come – as they will – and then be clinical.
Thirteenth time lucky – I fancy Arsenal to score late in the first half and then pick Chelsea off on the break for a second, an almost exact reverse of the away fixture. 2-0.
Stephen Bradley Draw 0-0
After watching Chelsea happy to have 29% possession at home last week, it pretty obvious that this is going to be a very cagey, cautious game.
They’ll play two defensive midfielders so that one will man-mark Özil, and they’ll play Willian on the right to double up on Alexis. To counter this, we’ll play Welbeck on the right to double up on Hazard, and Coquelin will follow Cesc around as if Cesc owes him money.
We’re going to have lots of the ball and very few chances. They’re going to settle for the odd counter and a set-piece. I can already feel myself regretting watching such a dire 0-0 as this will inevitably turn out to be. Ugh.
Paul Williams Win 2-0
I’ll keep it brief because there’s no logic to this. It’s all set up for Chelsea to come, play for a draw and nick a win but I think we’re going to beat them.
As I said, no logic, just a feeling. 2-0.
Sylvain Jamet Draw 2-2
This is the big game, the title decider or kind of. I have no doubt Mourinho will come and look to defend and hit on the break. Chelsea seem to have defensive frailties and attacking power, so although the game should be tactical and tight, I am sure both teams will score.
I am going for a 2-2 draw
Lewis Ambrose Draw 1-1
Chelsea have struggled lately but Mourinho – while a nasty vindictive man – is brilliant. His style means even a tiring side can contain any array of talent and strike on the break.
Being the home side we won’t be able to sit off, and they won’t let us.
They’ll invite us on, especially if they take the lead, and look to frustrate us. But everyone knew that already.
Expect us to have just enough to peg them back after conceding.
Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea.
Nia Griffiths Draw 2-2
The rational side of my brain is telling me this’ll be difficult and we won’t be able to break Chelsea down enough to out-score them.
The optimistic side, on the other hand, is telling me that we’ve played well recently, have momentum and Chelsea are well overdue a beating. From us, at least.
I’m going to lean towards the calmer, more rational side this weekend and go for a 2-2 draw. For some reason, this is what my gut’s telling me but obviously I’d love a win in any way, shape or form.
Sean Ferguson Win 1-0
We’re playing well and on a great run, Chelsea are not playing well but still grinding out results. It’s a tough one to predict this.
A lot has been made of Wenger never beating Mourinho, that has to change at some point, right? I think we’ll see Ospina, Bellerin, Gabriel, Monreal and Giroud come in for Woj, Debuchy, Per, Gibbs and Welbeck.
We’re going to have to be patient as Chelsea will sit back, be happy with a draw or try and hit is on the counter.
If we defend well, we need to take whatever openings we have. Going to remain optimistic and go for 1-0 Arsenal, Cazorla penalty…
Mark Fine Draw 1-1
Chelsea are worn and tired. Although they have been winning, they have not been playing well. They also may not have any strikers fit to play, but I sense a possible match-day ‘miracle‘ in that area.
Either way, I see Chelsea reverting to bus mode, which means a frustratingly low-scoring game for both sides: 1-1 draw, and possibly a sideline fight.
Anita Sambol Win 1-0
F’ it, 1-0 Arsenal.
I wasn’t too optimistic about this – I’d marked it down as a ‘draw worth three points’ few months ago, but now I think we can do it.
For god’s sake, we beat Manchester United this season, at Old Trafford.
Yeah yeah, it was the cup, blah blah.
But what I’m trying to say is that this team *can* do it against big ones. We are missing Per probably, and that’s about it.
Our players are capable of producing a surprise win at home to Mourinho. We played against defensive Monaco and won on their pitch while they were being even more defensive than normal.
We just have to come out and play football. Don’t respond to their on-pitch provocations. Keep an eye on counter attacks. It will be good. You can buy me beer if I’m right.
Charlotte Marshall Draw 0-0
I can’t see anything other than a 0-0 draw. Loads of the ball but very few chances. Prove me wrong Arsenal! Preferably by not losing…