The Emirates has proved a happy hunting ground for Chelsea in recent times, with victories secured on our past couple of visits, and ahead of tonight’s clash with Arsenal, Cesar Azpilicueta believes it will take an intelligent display for us to continue that good form and move above the north London outfit in the table.
The defender is expected to play at left-back again, having been back on the right for the match at Sunderland midweek, and is looking forward to the test against major rivals.
‘To have won there last year and earlier this season in the Capital One Cup was amazing for us and the supporters, but every game is different,’ he tells the official Chelsea website.
‘This game is a completely different situation and we are playing against a very good side who have been top of the league for quite a long time. We need to play a smart game, be solid throughout the team and make sure we win.
‘It’s a massive game whenever we play Arsenal and we will have our fans there supporting us throughout, like they did in the Capital One Cup. Arsenal are above us so we need to focus and make sure we put in a strong performance. After that we will see where the result takes us but for now, all we’re thinking about is going to the Emirates and getting three points.’
Jose Mourinho’s side have experienced mixed results of late, with our failure to kill matches off when in the ascendancy proving fatal on a number of occasions, most recently at Sunderland in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.
In the league, however, we remain in a good position and some of our most impressive performances this season have come against stronger sides – Bayern Munich, Manchester City and the second half at Tottenham – and Azpilicueta remains hopeful of the same tonight.
‘Every team is set up in a different way which presents challenges,’ says the Spaniard. ‘There have been times this season when we’ve played very well but not been able to get the points, but it’s important to learn from those experiences and, as a team, we need to stick together.
‘Against the top sides we’ve only had one bad result, which was the defeat against Everton. We can take positives from that but it’s important for us to try to improve with every game we play.’
Azpilicueta is returning today to the place he made a piece of personal history, in October in our 2-0 win over the Gunners.
‘I have good memories of the stadium because I scored my first Chelsea goal there, but the most important thing that night was the fact we won the game and knocked Arsenal out of the cup, hopefully tonight there will be a similar outcome,’ he says.