Chelsea vs. Arsenal: Team News & Preview

Santi Clausorla brings the gift of a fat new contract for THEO. High five! - Scott Heavey

Another critical, cold, slippery London derby as Chelsea tenuously tries to hold on to third place while Arsenal learn all about how zippers work.

Remember the 5-3? The 3-5? You remember how we thought it could never get any worse than that at home, at Stamford Bridge? Yeah. Wait, I'm sorry. This is uncalled for. What a horrible introduction. You deserve better. Rainbows and unicorns, rainbows and unicorns, rainbows and unicorns.

Since this is a football blog, we probably should be talking about, you know, football. But what we have here is a preview. And judging by comments usually posted in subsequent game threads (What time does this game start? Is this game on TV anywhere? How old am I? Is Santi Cazorla related to Santa Claus Santi Clausorla? Was that previous joke a good month too late?), nobody really ever cares about previews. And even if they did, all the important stuff has already been covered by Lamin. Thanks, Lamin! So go on, read it now. Now, I says! Go on. BYE!

I've recently been listening again (a lot) to one of my favorite albums from my formative years. It's not that I haven't listened in ages, but plenty of other albums and singles have grabbed crucial "DPeezy music-playing" time away from Queen's Greatest Hits II. Queen songs never go out of the rotation of course, but the album itself has been on the back burner for some time.

In any case, long story semi-short, one of my favorite Queen songs is The Miracle. Not only is it a fantastic listen, the video for it is quite excellent, too, with young kids dressed up as the band members in the beginning (including a young Ross McCall, i.e. Liebgott from Band of Brothers) and then the actual rock stars coming in at the end, dressed exactly the same. It was very early '90s cool. And I loved it.

On the Greatest Hits II album, this beauty of a song was followed by something called I'm Going Slightly Mad. For young DPeezy this was unconscionable. "Slightly Mad" was more than just slightly ugly. I hated that song. It was stupid and it made no sense and it grated on my ears. I tried wrapping my teenage head around just how they could group these two songs together on the album and just why they wanted to exact this sort of punishment on impressionable fans. In a way, Chelsea's recent form is a perfect analog to this dichotomy. Perhaps that's why I picked up the Greatest Hits II album once again.

Forced analogies away! I should mention that I'm Going Slightly Mad has become a huge favorite over the years. In fact, according to recent play count figures, it leads all other Queen material. I adore that song in more ways than one, from the baseline to the slide guitar to the random video to the hilarious lyrics to the fact that it was just about the last creative thing that Freddie Mercury got to do. And it's quite an apt representation of my current state of mind when it comes to Chelsea Football Club.

Chelsea: As mentioned above, it's the thing, the entity that is driving us all mad with just one win in the last seven home matches. Unconscionable. I do like that word, unconscionable.

Outside of long-term absentees Oriol Romeu (done for the season), Victor Moses, and John Obi Mikel (both at the Africa Cup of Nations), the full squad is healthy and available. This includes John "Master of the Slips" Terry.

Arsenal: Arsenal's injury list includes two of their better players, Mikel Arteta and homeboy Tomas Rosicky both sidelined with calf injuries. Arsene's Puffy Coat Zipper was not listed, but I'm sure it'll undergo a late fitness test or two.

There's a small chance that this match gets postponed, should weather conditions "significantly worsen." ALL HAIL SNOWMAGEDDON!

The Blues have three away ties after this one: cup trips to Swansea City & Brentford ("trip") followed by Reading in the league. So there's absolutely no reason not to go all out for this one. It's a rivalry, a London Derby, a chance to reassert some home field advantage. Chelsea need to lay down this marker, right here, right now. No excuses.

Date/Time: Sunday, January 20th, 13:30 GMT; 8:30 A.M. EST; 7:00 P.M. IST

Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6

TV Information: Sky Sports 1 (UK); Fox Soccer (USA); ESPN (India)

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