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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V ARSENAL

Mikel
London's two highest-placed teams head into Sunday's derby looking to bounce back from a league defeat. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton test for elasticity...

TALKING POINTSArsenal had to endure an interruption in their dressing room lighting before kick-off in Belgrade midweek, but no doubt it was preferable to the total power failure they experienced last weekend at home to Roberto Di Matteo's West Bromwich Albion.
The north Londoners were playing at home having seen Chelsea edged out at Manchester City but once again could not close the gap at the top. The failure to see off 'lesser' sides is a troublesome trait that Arsène Wenger's team was supposed to have ditched after good results against Bolton and Blackburn.
However, it is against the teams at the top that Arsenal's problems have most obviously manifested. Last season they failed to earn a point against either Chelsea or Manchester United, and have lost their last four in all competitions against Chelsea, and have not beaten the Mancunians for five matches.

KEY STATDidier Drogba has scored 12 goals against Arsenal in 10 starts and two substitute appearances since joining us in 2004.

Their travails against the Blues in recent years have largely been at the hands of one individual: Didier Drogba, whose personal campaign against the north Londoners yielded a brace in both of last season's fixtures.
There must be a case for the Ivorian being added to the pantheon of true Chelsea greats, and on a weekend where we honour another, Peter Osgood, it would be fitting for the big centre-forward to shine again. By coincidence, Didier, hammer of the Gunners, has had the stadium of his first club, Levallois in Paris, named after him this week.
The new statue of Osgood outside the West Stand is certain to become an iconic image of Stamford Bridge around the world. Sadly Ossie, whose ashes are laid to rest under the Shed End penalty spot, had little of his modern successor's joy playing Arsenal (four goals in 17 matches in all competitions) but always competed like a lion against them, recognising the importance to the fans who adored him.

Osgood

It was a lack of such competitiveness that dismayed Arsène Wenger last weekend. In fact his notorious myopia appeared to have worsened dramatically post-match: 'I didn't recognise my team today,' he complained.
While Chelsea lost a stalemate by a single goal, at the Emirates only Samir Nasri emerged with any credit from the West Brom game. The performance also increased the clamour for new blood between the sticks, especially on the back of record profits announced by Arsenal, buoyed by one-off property sales.
It is the prerogative of the supporter, though, to care nothing for results on the spreadsheet and everything about those on the pitch. The bottom line is that Arsenal's economic success over the last five years has added up to zero silverware.
Come May, supporters once used to taunting their west London neighbours with: 'You won the league in black and white' may be reminded that they have won nothing since the coming of HD and 3D.
We thought it might be timely to dust off Arsène Wenger's proposal last year to revolutionise the Premier League. If you recall he suggested that a team should be awarded three points for a win and an additional point for every goal in the margin of victory.
His aim was supposed to encourage teams to keep going for goals when they were ahead, providing greater entertainment. On current form London - especially the west side - would be rejoicing should the authorities ever convert to Wenger's way of thinking. 
The Unofficial Arsène Wenger Premier League Table
TopPldPtsWenger Pts
1Chelsea615(20) 35
2Arsenal611(10) 21
3Man Utd612(7) 19
4Man City611(6) 17
5Aston Villa610(5) 15
5West Brom610(4) 14


Chelsea, with 21, and Arsenal (with Man Utd) on 16 are the leading Premier League goalscorers. The Gunners are one of four teams undefeated on their travels, the others being Man Utd and, less predictably, Fulham and Wigan.
On Saturday Sunderland, who held Arsenal to a draw at the Stadium of Light earlier this month, entertain Man United, who have the chance to draw level on points with Chelsea. United have, however, won on their last four trips to Wearside. City face unpredictable Newcastle in the early match on Sunday.

Barclays Premier League fixtures
SaturdayWigan v Wolverhampton 12.45pm - Sky Sports
Birmingham v Everton 3pm
Stoke v Blackburn 3pm
Sunderland v Man Utd 3pm
Tottenham v Aston Villa 3pm
West Brom v Bolton 3pm
West Ham v Fulham 3pm
SundayMan City v Newcastle 1.30pm - ESPN
Liverpool v Blackpool 3pm
Chelsea v Arsenal 4pm - Sky Sports

Barclays Premier League table
TopPldGdPts
1Chelsea61915
2Man United6712
3Arsenal6911
4Man City6511
5Aston Villa6-210
5West Brom6-310

Barclays Premier League race for the Golden BootDimitar Berbatov (Man Utd) 6
Florent Malouda 6
Darren Bent (Sunderland) 5
Didier Drogba 5
Andy Carroll (Newcastle) 4
Salomon Kalou 4
Carlos Tevez (Man City) 4
Theo Walcott (Arsenal) 4

Barclays Premier League leading assists
Nani (Man Utd) 6
Didier Drogba 5
Matthew Etherington (Stoke) 4

Barclays Premier League race for the Golden Glove
Petr Cech (Chelsea) 4
Joe Hart (Man City) 4
Eight on two
Click on the tabs above for more briefing. 
See Ray Wilkins' pre-match press conference via a live video stream direct from Cobham to your computer. Starts approximately 9.30am Friday.

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