Arsenal vs. Chelsea
English Premier League
Sunday, April 26, 2015
8AM PT/11AM ET/4PM BT
Emirates Stadium, London
League Form ARS: Sunny, 75 degrees | CHE: Sunny, 75 degrees
US TV: NBC Sports | Worldwide TV info: livesoccer.tv
Given the buildup and the hype and the tension, this game should be a vital match that would swing the title in either the red or blue direction. Instead, thanks to Arsenal's early season injury struggles and resultant slow start, Arsenal sit 10 points back in second place right now. A win cuts the gap to 7, obviously, but in reality Chelsea only need two wins to clinch the title, so at best Arsenal can delay the inevitable today.
On the health front, Per Mertesacker's "50-50" with a sprained ankle, but other than that and the usual long-term suspects, Arsenal are much the same as last weekend. Diego Costa, Loic Remy, and Didier Drogba are all doubts for Chelsea, who otherwise field a similarly full-strength squad.
Much has been made this year of Arsenal shaking the various can-they-win-big-games monkeys off their backs; wins at both Manchesters were huge steps forward in that quest, while Monaco was a step back. They have a chance tomorrow to drop yet another monkey off their backs, but of course if that happens, it will be spun as "Arsenal only win when it doesn't matter", because people who say that are fucking idiots.
This game doesn't need hype, it doesn't need a bunch of purple prose from me inciting "the boys" on to a "famous victory" or anything dumb like that. Games like this speak for themselves, and I hope Arsenal speak much louder, even if in the end it only slows Chelsea's coronation and doesn't ultimately stop it.