Chelsea aim to break Arsenal record

Chelsea aim to break Arsenal record

LONDON – Jose Mourinho’s English champions Chelsea have a 10-year spell to break when they take on north-London rivals Arsenal in what promises to be another needle match at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The two meet on only the second weekend of the new season, giving both a chance to lay down early markers. There is little love lost between the nouveau riche west London side, who won their first title for 50 years last season, and Arsenal, who have dominated football in the capital for decades.Although they stumbled against Chelsea in the Champions League in 2004 and in the season-opening Community Shield 10 days ago, Arsene Wenger’s side have not lost to them in the league since September 1995.They finished runners-up 12 points behind Chelsea last season but still earned two draws in pulsating league encounters between the two sides.The previous season when roles were reversed, Arsenal earned highly charged 2-1 wins home and away against Chelsea, newly acquired by billionaire Russian Roman Abramovich.Chelsea’s 2-1 charity win in Cardiff on August 7, a game they largely controlled, highlighted the advantage Mourinho enjoys from Abramovich’s spending power.Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba, a 24 million pound ($43.38 million) signing last season, scored twice.Spain full back Asier del Horno (eight million pounds) and England forward Shaun-Wright Phillips (21 million) made accomplished debuts.On Sunday, Chelsea should also have the services of Ghana midfielder Michael Essien, who was due to sign from Olympique Lyon for some 26 million pounds yesterday.Arsenal, on the other hand, weighed down by the cost of their new stadium opening next season, have made only one significant signing in Belarussian Alexander Hleb and are still regrouping after the departure of captain Patrick Vieira to Juventus.Neither side covered themselves in glory in their opening league matches of the season last weekend, Arsenal labouring to a 2-0 win in the last 10 minutes at home to 10-man Newcastle and Chelsea needing an injury-time goal to beat promoted Wigan away.Motivation is unlikely to be a problem against Arsenal, however, and games between the London sides have traditionally been fast, physical affairs.- Nampa-ReutersThere is little love lost between the nouveau riche west London side, who won their first title for 50 years last season, and Arsenal, who have dominated football in the capital for decades.Although they stumbled against Chelsea in the Champions League in 2004 and in the season-opening Community Shield 10 days ago, Arsene Wenger’s side have not lost to them in the league since September 1995.They finished runners-up 12 points behind Chelsea last season but still earned two draws in pulsating league encounters between the two sides.The previous season when roles were reversed, Arsenal earned highly charged 2-1 wins home and away against Chelsea, newly acquired by billionaire Russian Roman Abramovich.Chelsea’s 2-1 charity win in Cardiff on August 7, a game they largely controlled, highlighted the advantage Mourinho enjoys from Abramovich’s spending power.Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba, a 24 million pound ($43.38 million) signing last season, scored twice.Spain full back Asier del Horno (eight million pounds) and England forward Shaun-Wright Phillips (21 million) made accomplished debuts.On Sunday, Chelsea should also have the services of Ghana midfielder Michael Essien, who was due to sign from Olympique Lyon for some 26 million pounds yesterday.Arsenal, on the other hand, weighed down by the cost of their new stadium opening next season, have made only one significant signing in Belarussian Alexander Hleb and are still regrouping after the departure of captain Patrick Vieira to Juventus.Neither side covered themselves in glory in their opening league matches of the season last weekend, Arsenal labouring to a 2-0 win in the last 10 minutes at home to 10-man Newcastle and Chelsea needing an injury-time goal to beat promoted Wigan away.Motivation is unlikely to be a problem against Arsenal, however, and games between the London sides have traditionally been fast, physical affairs.- Nampa-Reuters

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