Saturday, 29 October, 1245BST at Stamford Bridge, London.
The time, date and place where Arsenal will play the first of their two “cup finals” as Arsene Wenger has taken to calling them.
After an unsteady start to the season, the Gunners now find themselves as one of the form teams in Europe – albeit struggling at times to get there. Wenger’s side have won eight of the last nine games in all competition, are moving up the Premier League table, into the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup, and in the driving seat in Group F of the Champions League. The calls for Wenger’s head have also weakened greatly.
The main man in Arsenal’s return to form is Captain Robin van Persie. The Dutchman has been in unstoppable form of late, coming off the bench against Stoke in the last round of games to score a brace to secure victory and bring his goal tally to six in the last four games.
Meanwhile, at the back, Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny have been hero-like in their attempts to keep the opposition at bay. With injuries to Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, and Thomas Vermaelen, it has been left to Koscielny and Szczesny to anchor the defence and they have done so well. Vermaelen’s comeback from injury against Bolton midweek brought a smile to all Gooner faces, however the slight calf strain he picked up is a worry.
Despite the wins, Arsenal have still been stuttering and are not free-flowing yet. This will matter not a dot to the club as long as the points keep clocking up.
Tomorrow at Stamford Bridge is another great chance for Arsenal to keep the points tally ticking while also taking some from a close rival. Chelsea are by no means in crisis, but last week’s defeat to QPR will have dented their confidence – not to mention the loss of Didier Drogba and Jose Boswinga through suspension. Add to that the supposed racial slur concerning John Terry, and the Blues might just be feeling blue at the moment.
Now is as good a time as ever for the annual trip to Stamford Bridge.
Expect a hard fought draw for the Gunners.