While the game today might not have the same spice as it would do if the specialist in managing a title winning team into a relegation scrap was in charge, it still has plenty to make this a potential corker of a game.
You can be sure that had a specialist in having your entire squad hate you, been in charge then Chelsea would have more than likely sat the entire team behind the ball and hoped for Hazard or Willian to make something on his own up the pitch. But he got sacked (for a second time at Chelsea)
So will a Guus Hiddink Chelsea be more adventurous? Are they indeed a better team now than they were under the specialist in signing expensive players and making them defend one?
It's not the most accurate measurement in the world as it is only a sample size of 6 matches, plus the variation of opposition quality, but since Hiddink took over the reigns, they remain unbeaten in their last 6 league fixtures. Winning 2 and drawing 4. But draws at home to West Brom and Watford show that perhaps not all is fixed just yet at the Bridge.
That said, they are in far better shape than they were under Mourinho. The last six games with him in charge read like this
The one win from that sequence was a 1-0 win against relegation competitors Norwich City. That six pointer turned out to be a good one for them, had they lost then they would currently be only one point above the relegation places before the game kicks off this afternoon.
Now obviously I am thrusting the knife in as frequently and quickly as I can here but let's make no mistake, Chelsea will miraculously return to the league winning Chelsea come 4pm GMT.
It would be foolhardy to think we are playing any normal 14th placed team and that we will turn up and roll them over (I'd bloody luv it if we did though)
We've all heard that form goes out the window when it comes to the north London derby, well the same can be said for today's game.
When the likes of Terry; Fabregas; Ivanovic; Matic, Hazard and Costa come across us, motivation will not be too far away unlike many other occasions this season. If a team that was capable of winning the title last season is motivated then we can expect a very difficult afternoon.
But we should not have any reasons to be scared of Chelsea, even if our record against them isn't ideal. But have no fear, there are many reasons to be happy. The biggest news for Arsenal is that Mike Dean is not in the Chelsea squad this afternoon. His man of the match performance at the Bridge earlier this season against us was exceptional. Able to influence the play all over the pitch whenever he needed to.
The good news doesn't end there though. The magic left footed wand of Mesut Özil will return to his playmaker role behind our striker. It was quite apparent how much we missed him at Stoke as we failed to create many clear cut chances. The German can do that in his sleep.
Alexis Sanchez should return to the squad after a lengthy period out with a hamstring problem. As much as I'd love to see him up against Ivanovic, I think the sensible decision would be to place him on the bench and ease him in gently. Theo Walcott was not at his best at Stoke at all so I could see Arsène wanting to give him a chance to rectify his performance. Arsène likes to do that. Not only this but Theo Walcott has a habit of turning on the style in big games against Chelsea. So fingers crossed he can smash in another one or two today.
So basically I expect the same team we have been playing for the last few weeks now, including Özil obviously. It is great to have a bit of attacking strength on our bench, something we have had to do without due to injuries. Tomas Rosicky got through part of an under 21 game so hopefully we'll have our bouncy haired Czech back on the bench ready for 15-20 minutes of impact after 70 minutes.
Hopefully when/if we do bring on Alexis and Rosicky it is with us in a comfortable lead, seeing out the game. One can dream right?
If Elneny starts ahead of Flamini then he must have been sensational this week at London Colny. Don't forget he hasn't played football for a number of weeks due to a winter break. Plus he has yet to dip his toes into English football so I expect him to be back on the bench once more. If not then I'll be excited because he would have forced himself into the team.
There is an argument that Theo Walcott should be brought back into his centre forward position to expose Chelsea's defence and I understand that fully, you just cannot drop Oliver Giroud, a player in such good form right now. I can't see that happening at all.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
Manchester City only managed a draw at West Ham last night, it may have been none at all had the crossbar not saved them late on. That is good news for us. This was a period that I had worried about somewhat. They have had pretty good fixtures while we have had a tough run without a lot of key players. For the most part we have managed to tag along with them, collecting up similar points tallies. However Leicester City jump back on top of the table and don't look like sliding away anytime soon.
We are now getting our players back into the squad, more will follow shortly so now is the time for us to crank up our performances once more. We have managed to dig in and scrape together enough points to keep us top of the tree but now would be a great chance to show everyone in this league, including ourselves that we are the best team in this division.
And what better opponent than Chelsea?
This promises to be a hard hitting game, a little the super bowl. Don't forget to check out the super bowl commercials before the game. I just hope we can be the team that hits enough touch downs in the end.
Let's do this.