Roberto Di Matteo has experienced a range of results as a manager visiting Arsenal. He suffered a League Cup defeat there in his first meeting there when in charge of West Bromwich Albion but followed that up with a memorable win after taking the Baggies into the top-flight.
Last season with Chelsea, there was a goalless draw at the Emirates just prior to flying to take on Barcelona.
So the Italian understands the Gunners threat well and although our London rivals are adjusting to the departure of former skipper Robin van Persie, there are no great changes to the tactics needed to counter them according to Di Matteo.
‘It makes them more unpredictable because the goals are coming from more players,’ he says,’ but I don’t think they have a different pattern of play. It is quite the way that Arsenal have been playing over the years with a lot of possession and rotation in midfield.
‘Lukas Podolski has been scoring goals, and Gervinho and Santi Cazorla have been scoring goals so they have a lot of players that are a danger. The personnel have changed but I don’t think the philosophy of the way Arsenal play football has changed.
‘They will have a lot of possession as well as a lot of rotation so you have to try to limit their threat but also we want to try to impose ourselves and try to play our football.’
Many are describing today’s game as chance to measure how Chelsea with new players on board are shaping up, and Di Matteo is not disagreeing.
‘It is certainly going to be a big test,’ he says. ‘Arsenal away in any season is a big test so it is a big challenge for us, but so it is going to be for Arsenal because we are a big team as well.’
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