One of the most memorable matches between Arsenal and Chelsea was on 12 December 2004. Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea had romped to the top of the table and were looking good money for the title. Chelsea arrived at the famous Highbury expecting a tough match; this was, after all, the ground of the the Invincible team.
Within 75 seconds, Thierry Henry, a striker known for his arrogant style, showed Mourinho what he was up against. Antonio Reyes’ pass was collected by the striker, who calmly slotted the ball past Petr Cech.
Henry ran to the half way line, looked straight at Mourinho and shrugged his shoulders, as if to say “is it really that easy?” Just over half an hour later, he restored Arsenal’s lead after Arjen Robben’s equaliser. With Cech adjusting his wall, Henry stroked the ball into the corner thanks to a deflection. Arsenal were 2-1 up and their most prolific striker had scored the cheekiest free kick in Premier League history. A fierce London rivalry turned into a bitter one.
Fast forward nearly a decade and it is Mourinho who seems to have had the last laugh over Arsenal though. Nine matches between the two have resulted in four draws and five Chelsea wins. Arsene Wenger, dubbed the ‘voyeur’ by the Special One, is yet to triumph over his rival. However, this is the best chance for the most experienced manager in England to get one over Mourinho.
This Chelsea team does not have the infallible air around them that the old one did. The old guard is still going strong but with misfiring strikers, Chelsea are a little too reliant on their midfield to provide the goals.
While the relation between the two managers has calmed down, the fixture is bound to be feisty and with the two best midfields in the Premier League coming against each other, the fixture promises goals and lots of them. There is a lot to look forward to this Monday.
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