Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Friday December 14 2007
The Emirates Stadium
Arsenal could end Sunday 4 points clear at the top of the Premiership if things go their way in the Sunday showdown.
With Manchester United travelling to Liverpool and Chelsea visiting the league leaders, Sunday is as appealing as a 4 course meal at your favrouite restaurant, followed by a night of pure passion with a beautiful woman. No? Just me then.
Arsenal will hope that their midweek win over Steaua Bucharest will signal the end of their blip in for which saw them take 4 points from three Premiership games.
Chelsea haven't lost a match since Avram Grant's first game in charge, when they were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford.
While a weakened Arsenal team beat Steaua on Wednesday, Chelsea managed only a draw against Valencia on Tuesday, and if the highlights are anything to go by, they were lucky to walk away with that.
It will make a change to see a Chelsea team come to Arsenal and attack after seeing Mourinho's team adopt a alightly 'conservative' approach.
With Robin Van Persie back from injury, Arsenal will almost certainly return to a 4-4-2 formation, with Adebayor partnering Van Persie up front.
A loss for Arsenal could see them fall as low as third. However, for that to happen Chelsea would have to win by three goals, and that's just not going to happen.
With Avram Grant now seemingly winning the hearts and minds of his squad, the Chelsea players will be likely be given a boost after finding out that the Chelsea boss signed a new 4-year deal on Thursday.
Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie has taunted Chelsea by claiming that Manchester United are the biggest threat to Arsenal as they challenge for the Preiership this season: 'It's quite close. Chelsea are just behind us and Manchester United and Liverpool, too.
'But our biggest challengers are Manchester United. That is what I think it will be at the end of the season.
'They have the quality. They win games even when they're playing poorly.
'They have Ronaldo, they have Rooney, they have lots of good strikers who can win games. That's why I think it will be a battle between us and them.'
Something we didn't think would happen six months ago - Shevchenko in a confident mood: "It was the manager`s decision to take me off. I think it was important that everyone played in a game which was not so vital.
"For me, it`s important when the manager gives me a chance to play. I can then prepare myself to give my best.
"I don`t know if I will play on Sunday, it`s up to the manager. But I feel good and I hope to play because it`s a very important game.
"I try to play every game to my best and always work hard for the team. It was the same in my first season and now my second season. Every game I feel that I am getting better."
Arsenal still have doubts over the fitness of midfield trio Cesc Fabregas, Alex Hleb and The Flamster.
All three have a chance to return, but will have to face a fitness test on Saturday.
Van Persie should start his first Premiership game for over two months alongside Adebayor.
Diaby also returns.
The Dutchman looked suprisingly sharp on Wednesday, which would suggest that Wenger has kept him training rather than rush him back. Probably with this game in mind.
He's making all the right noises for me. Let's hope he can walk the walk as well as talk the talk on Sunday.
Didier Drogba will be missing for The Blues. Ballack is also still short of fitness.
This lad has impressed me since he arrived at Chelsea. He will pose a bigger threat to Arsenal's goal than Shevchenko.
I think the top of the Premiership will look much the same come monday night. 0-0 for both of the big Sunday games.
Date:Friday December 14 2007
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|1. Man City||6||6||0||0||+13||18|
|6. Man Utd||6||4||0||2||+5||12|
|7. Crystal Palace||6||3||1||2||+3||10|
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