Jose Mourinho has never lost a Premier League game at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho has never lost a competitive match to Arsene Wenger. Saturday will be Wenger's 1000th match in charge of Arsenal. Earlier this year, the special on dubbed Wenger a 'specialist in failure'. The media will have plenty of narratives to write about in the buildup to this match, but frankly, none are more interesting than the implications of the result on the 2013/14 title race.
For Arsenal, this is pretty straightforward. They trail Chelsea by four points (with a game in hand) and have just nine games left to play. They sit level on points with Liverpool, and lead Manchester City by two points while having played two more games. They trail all three in goal differential by a wide enough margin that there's little reason to think that will change, so to finish atop the league, they'll need to finish with a higher point total than any of their rivals.
If they lose on Saturday, they can probably forget finishing above Chelsea, and can certainly turn their focus to winning their first silverware in 147 years (or so) in the FA Cup. If they manage to escape Stamford Bridge with a draw, they may still have an extremely slim chance of finishing atop the table, but it would likely take a Manchester City meltdown in order for that to occur. Wenger's side need to come into the Bridge looking for nothing but maximum points if they want to have any hope of remaining legitimate title contenders.
Chelsea have a bit more wiggle room due to their far easier seven game run-in, which will include just Liverpool in addition to six sides in the bottom half of the table after the conclusion of Saturday's match. A win would keep Chelsea with a relatively strong chance to finish the season atop the Premier League, while a draw means we really need some help from the clubs facing Manchester City going forward in order to finish ahead of them. A loss would be a pretty damning result for the Blues, and would likely mean that we'd need to win all of our final seven games in order to have any hope of finishing atop the pile.
Quite simply, this is probably the most significant meeting between London's two biggest clubs in a very long while, and one that could ultimately determine who ends up lifting the Premier League trophy in May. Here's hoping recent history repeats itself again, and that the traveling Arsenal fans have an especially miserable trip home after yet another defeat at the Bridge.
Opponent: Arsenal FC, currently 3rd in the Premier League with 62 points and a +25 GD
View from the enemy: The Short Fuse
Date and time: Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 12:45 p.m. GMT (8:45 a.m. EDT, 5:45 a.m. PDT, 18:15 IST)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London, England
Chelsea squad news: The Blues are relatively healthy, with Marco van Ginkel and backup left back Ashley Cole being the only two players in the squad that will miss this one due to injury. Chelsea have two players that will be unavailable due to suspension, Ramires for a fully deserved red card, and Willian for an entirely unjustified sending off by Chris Foy. It's alway nice when a referee is so incompetent that he manages to alter plans for matches he's not even working.
Arsenal squad news: Unlike with Chelsea, finding enough paper to write out all of Arsenal's current injuries might eradicate the remaining rain forests of the planet. Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, and Ryo Miyaichi are definitely out for Saturday's match. Tomas Rosicky is questionable, and will face a late fitness test. Kim Kallstrom may finally be healthy enough to debut though, which should be 'like a new signing' for Wenger ahead of the season's biggest match.
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