One major sour note of Antonio Conte’s Chelsea reign was his inability to get results against Arsenal – a team Chelsea often had an upper hand against in previous encounters before his arrival. One win in eight games against the Gunners is by all standards unacceptable and damaging to our status as “The Pride of London”.
The fact that the North Londoners won Chelsea in the FA Cup finals, and the Community Shield both in 2017, and also eliminated the team in the Carabao Cup semifinals last season are painful memories for the Chelsea faithful. In essence, Arsenal have become Chelsea’s bogey team recently.
As both teams square up against each other in the second round of games in the league this weekend, rivalry is surely bound to be stirred up. It’s another London derby and with so much at stake. First, both teams have made managerial changes with Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri looking to bring fun to Stamford Bridge, while Arsenal’s Unai Emery is expected to lead the post-Wenger Gunners in a new direction with new ideas that will deliver results and trophies. Both managers will have the spotlight on them from kickoff.
There have always been talks about the psychological issue the Gunners often exhibit when facing their big rivals, especially Chelsea. We always found a way to win against Wenger’s Arsenal teams. But recently, Chelsea have looked inferior to the Gunners and characteristically overwhelmed by the brain and brawn displays by our North London rivals. If Sarri is thinking of a way to win the Chelsea fans, then beating Arsenal this weekend will go a long way in ensuring that happens. Hostilities will be renewed, but anything other than a win for Chelsea will feel more like a defeat and will see our hopes of a renewed dominance over the Gunners being dashed.
Let’s hope for the best.