Even if Arsenal had started the new Premier League season well and were in good form going into an away game against Chelsea, you would make the home side favourites, and despite winning our two home games against Leicester and Bournemouth you would hardly say the Gunners were going well.
So any advantage to take with us to Stamford Bridge would surely be seized upon, which is why I was a bit surprised to hear some of the comments from Arsene Wenger, reported by Metro, in the build up to tomorrow’s game.
The Frenchman did well to change his tactics halfway through the Europa League game between Arsenal and Cologne on Thursday and the switch from a back three to a back four was widely credited with being a big factor in us turning the game around.
It also gave Wenger the opportunity to keep Antonio Conte guessing about the shape of the side he would be faced with, or he would have been if Wenger had not let slip what he sees as our best defensive set-up with the pace of Monreal and Koscielny on either side of the tough tackling and vocal German Shkodran Mustafi.
He said, ‘[Mustafi is] reading the game well, strong in the challenge, and he likes to talk as well, so that’s an important quality in that part of the pitch.
‘On both sides of him, we have Koscielny and Monreal who are quick, so that looks well-balanced.
‘Communication is very, very important. In the organisation, it’s very important that you talk early, and sometimes you have to be very vocal because the crowd is shouting.
‘The timing of your talking and sometimes how loud you are is very important.’
Was this wise of Wenger to say? Not if he now starts with that back three, but could Wenger be bluffing and be about to spring a surprise on Conte and Chelsea by going with a different back line?