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Michael Tucker

Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0

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Villa vs City about to start. Don't know what to expect. Villa had a good start into the season, but I only watched them play against us and, well, you know...

Still, give them thugs a fight!

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Sea foot   

"I'll be disappointed if he scores and doesn't at least give the post a little dry hump."

Yeah. Nothing too elaborate.

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Villa vs City about to start. Don't know what to expect. Villa had a good start into the season, but I only watched them play against us and, well, you know...

Still, give them thugs a fight!

I would imagine the side who gets away the most with booting seven bells out their opponents will win this.

Hard to call on that basis.

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Blue Rod   

Starting Mikel at the expense of Oscar is too conservative, in my opinion. Our central midfield would be dead - less creativity and no impetus on the break. Mikel is the kind of player you bring on when you want to hold on to a lead, not when it's 0-0. I know it's Arsenal, but we should be going for the win and our starting line up has to reflect this. We have to risk a bit more.

Before you get me wrong - I am not saying there is no way we could win with Mikel in the starting line up, but our counter attacking play would be dampened.

Edit: Also, as others have mentioned, the more Arsenal players are busy with Fabregas in the middle, the more space they leave behind for Hazard. If Fabregas plays along Hazard in the attacking part of the pitch, they won't open up as much space, theoretically.

If Mikel enters the pitch any time before 80 min we lose this match. Arsenal are fastest in the middle of the pitch. For all his abilities and lack of it, keeping up with opponent and/or chasing up and catching up, is the least of Mikel's. He is best (or least useless, depending on your pick) when the midfield is turgid. As soon as the game gathers pace, Mikel is a bystander, committing fouls or just watching the game pass him.

With Ramires not available, we could deploy Oscar to add pace in the middle. If we can't stem the flow of Arsenal in the middle we are bound to defend deep for long spells. It is not something I would like to see at the Bridge.

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If Mikel enters the pitch any time before 80 min we lose this match. Arsenal are fastest in the middle of the pitch. For all his abilities and lack of it, keeping up with opponent and/or chasing up and catching up, is the least of Mikel's. He is best (or least useless, depending on your pick) when the midfield is turgid. As soon as the game gathers pace, Mikel is a bystander, committing fouls or just watching the game pass him.

With Ramires not available, we could deploy Oscar to add pace in the middle. If we can't stem the flow of Arsenal in the middle we are bound to defend deep for long spells. It is not something I would like to see at the Bridge.

Well, I agree that starting Mikel, for all his defensive abilities, will probably significantly decrease the overall probability of winning this game. If, however, we lead by a goal at around 75-80 mins, then bringing him in would make sense, as you say.

I agree that Ramires will be missed in this game. Arsenal at home - can't think of another game better suited for him. I'd have started him, Fabs and Matic in CM, if he was available.

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paulw66   

If Mikel enters the pitch any time before 80 min we lose this match.

Not true though is it? How many times has he been on the winning side v Arsenal in his Chelsea career? Far more often than being on the losing side.

What do you think he is going to do, smash the ball into his own goal?

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Sciatika   

In the last 11 games against Arsenal, Mikel has appeared in all but one. In two of the others, he came on from the bench. His record against Arsenal is P10 W6 D2 L2. To suggest that we will lose if he plays is bollocks.

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Scooba   

In the last 11 games against Arsenal, Mikel has appeared in all but one. In two of the others, he came on from the bench. His record against Arsenal is P10 W6 D2 L2. To suggest that we will lose if he plays is bollocks.

Would you expect anything else from bluerod?

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Blue Rod   

In the last 11 games against Arsenal, Mikel has appeared in all but one. In two of the others, he came on from the bench. His record against Arsenal is P10 W6 D2 L2. To suggest that we will lose if he plays is bollocks.

Ok, I get your point. But we are not going out tomorrow to play yesterday's match. Arsenal have been increasing speed in their midfield (which is the only thing Wenger knows) and Mikel has been losing pace by the minute. Past glories aside, can you name one tomorrow's Arsenal central midfielder that Mikel can keep pace with, outrun or outtackle? If you can't, then he can't start, He came on against Sporting, fresh as he was, the only thing he did was give away foul in a dangerous place.

When the game slows down, he can come on. Otherwise I can't see his use.

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In the last 11 games against Arsenal, Mikel has appeared in all but one. In two of the others, he came on from the bench. His record against Arsenal is P10 W6 D2 L2. To suggest that we will lose if he plays is bollocks.

Yes, it is. Mikel clearly isn't everyone's cup of tea, which is fine, but he's also far from the club-footed-oaf who brings nothing of quality to the team, that some here would have us believe.

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