By Giuseppe Muro
Last season Chelsea defeated Arsenal both home and away in the Premier League with the Gunners failing to score a goal against their London rivals.
A brace from Didier Drogba and an own goal from Thomas Vermaelen gave the Blues victory at Emirates Stadium in November and another double from Drogba gave Carlo Ancelotti's side all three points at Stamford Bridge in February.
Can Arsène Wenger's side improve that record on Sunday? We spoke to Dan Levene of the Kensington and Chelsea news to get a Chelsea perspective on this weekend's clash.
THE MAN IN CHARGE
Carlo Ancelotti’s father unfortunately passed away on Thursday so his assistant Ray Wilkins is taking the pre-match press conference. Carlo has the support and good will of the team and he knows that his players are behind him all the way. There seems to be a huge trust between himself and the players. His tactical moves are genius at times so every Chelsea fan will hope Carlo can be there for 90 minutes on Sunday.
THE ONE TO WATCH
Ramires is a 23-year-old that has come over from Brazil though the first few games of the season he has looked very un-Brazilian. He’s looked very solid and he’s looked like he was almost born to play in this Chelsea midfield. He is very self-assured, he strokes the ball around fantastically and his distribution is amazing. He seems to be able to play at the back or the front of midfield. However, it does seem that a strong breeze will knock him over and that was really shown up at Manchester City last weekend. He really needs to eat some more of Carlo’s Ancelotti’s pasta before he’s ready to take on some of the bigger midfielders in the Premier League.
You can’t over-estimate the impact of taking your team halfway across Europe to a place like Belgrade and bringing them back in time for a Sunday fixture. Chelsea had a fairly easy game at home against Marseille. It wasn’t too taxing so there’s a good chance that Carlo Ancelotti's side will feel a small advantage from that.
Lampard is a massive miss. Some say we’ve got big names like Mikel and Essien who are coming into their own - but you can’t get another player like Lampard that can pop up at anytime and score a goal and can change a match. I can’t think of anybody that can have that much impact on the game from midfield as Frank Lampard.
The game against Manchester City was a bit of a watermark for Chelsea. They quite clearly, by the way that they played, they turned up expecting to stroke the ball around and pick up some points but they were quite clearly humbled. They were muscled out of it in midfield and some harsh lessons have been learnt from that. The approach against Arsenal will take into account the fact that the more delicate flowers in the Chelsea midfield have been shoved about a bit and that’s not going to happen again - that’s for sure.