By Nick Ames
Thomas Vermaelen believes that a shift in Chelsea’s playing style adds interest to Saturday’s eagerly-awaited clash at Emirates Stadium.
The Arsenal captain detects a greater attacking thrust to Roberto Di Matteo’s team - complementing the defensive steeliness for which it has long been known.
Speaking in his notes for the Official Matchday Programme, Vermaelen said: “Chelsea have a lot of good technical players in their side, and I think they’ve changed the style of their game a bit.
“They seem more attack-minded now, with players like Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata all looking dangerous. Fernando Torres is a threat with his movement too.
“That said, they’re still based on the strong foundations that people associate them with - players like John Terry, Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic have a lot of experience and make them very strong at the back.”
The Belgian is well placed to comment on Hazard, whom he plays alongside for a national team full of Premier League talent. He admits that the Gunners will have to marshal Hazard well as they battle to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.
“People talked a lot about him when he played for Lille, and understandably so because he’s one of the most talented players in Europe,” said Vermaelen.
“Chelsea bought him for a lot of money, but he’s already showed what exceptional quality he has. He can do a lot with the ball and has the ability to decide a game on his own, so we’ll have to keep a close eye on him.”
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