Chelsea v Arsenal: Chelsea Will Have To Put Off Field Problems Aside To Beat The Gunners

Chelsea go into Saturday's early kick off against London rivals Arsenal the favourites to take all three points but it will require composure to put the heavy press attention out of their minds....
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Chelsea are facing London rivals Arsenal in a game that is being written up as a certain home win for the Blues. Some bookies even giving Chelsea odds as short as 4/7 to take all three points at the Bridge. However, in weeks where clubs receive as much press about off field issues as Chelsea in the last week, it can have a tendency to creep onto the pitch. Just recently amid the revelations about Wayne Rooney’s father his next action on the field was to commit that crazy moment of petulance against Montenegro. By that sort of reasoning there should be some sort of slip up for Chelsea and John Terry will either score the winner or get sent off. The main stories surrounding Chelsea are three-fold, the CPO shares, the post-QPR fine and of course – John Terry…

The fans won the vote to stay put on the CPO shares decision on Thursday meaning for the time being the Blues are likely to stay at Stamford Bridge. However, if Abramovich is sure he wants to leave then something tells me that this is not the last we will hear of this issue. Also as addressed in another Sabotage Times article – it will not sit well with these shareholders that the club inconveniently held the meeting the day after an away fixture – so I’m sure some fans will still be agitated despite winning the vote.

This week has also seen Chelsea fined £20 000 as a result of player conduct being deemed unacceptable in the away game at Queens Park Rangers. This was in particular for surrounding referee Chris Foy following the dismissal of Boswinga in the first half. Not to mention almost every outfield player seeing some sort of card by the conclusion of the game. And on top of this Andre Villas-Boas is still awaiting the verdict from the FA on his own comments made about Foy following the game.

If he did say it then of course it is completely wrong and he should be punished yet what there is no debate over is that this issue is gaining so much attention simply because John Terry is at the centre of it.

As if that was not enough backlash from one game of football – we come to the biggest talking point of the game – another John Terry controversy. It’s been an easy week for the tabloids, managing to find some sort of way to bring this story onto the back page on most days. It has been a confusing one to follow – Terry has released a statement saying he did use those words but only to deny saying it the first place yet the Evening Standard has come out and said that the adjective used was “blind” and not “black”. So who knows what to believe? If he did say it then of course it is completely wrong and he should be punished yet what there is no debate over is that this issue is gaining so much attention simply because John Terry is at the centre of it.

It seems that most of the moronic tabloid readers who are quick to call Terry every name under the sun following this event are oblivious to the fact that similar accusations have been claimed against Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and ex-Arsenal Cesc Fabregas. I’m not defending John Terry but am taking this opportunity to highlight that there is a clear imbalance in the amount of abuse levelled at him due to the agenda of the red tops. Of course it doesn’t help that he has received similar accusations before and let’s not forget to mention that infidelity, if committed by a footballer, is heinous and makes him public enemy number one. Yet I’m sure if most Sun readers got away with it they would happily justify it as “banter” to their mates. Anyway, with regard to his most recent controversy there will probably never be a completely satisfactory conclusion to the investigation and it is highly probable that Ashley Cole as the “key witness” will back his captain.

So most of Chelsea’s presence in the news this week hasn’t been about football and from a psychological perspective one may argue Arsenal have the upper hand coming into this weekend’s game. Since the humiliation at Old Trafford and a terrible start to the season the Gunners have slipped out of the headlines, gathered a little bit of form and won their last four games in a row - whilst Chelsea seem to be in the news for anything that isn’t related to playing football.

But let’s not lose sight of the fact that this is indeed still a football match and however much we can alert to off field problems – who gets the points will be decided by the performance on the field. From a Chelsea perspective the key will obviously be to keep a lock on the very much in form Robin Van Persie – if he can be contained you would expect Chelsea to have a very good chance. However, Arsenal will be able to take things to the Bridge to bolster their confidence. Chelsea having not kept a clean sheet in the league since the opening day of the season will give the Gunners firm belief that they can score and after Vermaelen’s return midweek in the Carling Cup they will hope to send out an improved defence, which has been poor in his absence. In addition to this Chelsea had to play a large portion of the QPR game with only nine men and it took us 120 minutes and another sending off to see off Everton in the Carling Cup – we could be a very tired squad after a couple of physically gruelling games. So although with the home advantage Chelsea remain favourites I think the bookies are underestimating Arsenal's chances in this game.

Overall for Chelsea – forget the headlines and contain Van Persie – we can hope for three points here.

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