When the Guus Hiddink genius rolled into town two months ago to replace Luis Felipe Scolari, few could be forgiven for feeling a bit of worry that Hiddink, yes Hiddink, was rocking up to take over Chelsea. Robin van Persie was part of what must have been a very large crew cursing their luck about the new Chelsea gaffer.
Tomorrow at Wembley Stadium, the stars have aligned to produce a night of well, stars, that will undoubtedly see Michael Essien ghost Emmanuel Adebayor out of sight for the game. Essien’s fine cloaking skills aside, this is a London clash that could not have wished for a better lead in — Chelsea fresh from one of the top 10 Champions League epics of all-time and Arsenal sticking a potato down the Yellow Submarine’s periscope. Hiddink vs. Wenger. Who will win?
My money is on Hiddink, naturally. But who wouldn’t? The Dutchman has transformed Chelsea from what was supposed to be a beautiful side to watch into a side that wins games, scores nice goals and has backed up this with consistency. Something Scolari couldn’t get into his head. (No offence to Felipe but I’ve got a first class carriage with the Hiddink express now.)
Arsenal may now boast Andrei Arshavin as part of their attacking options — unfortunately for Wenger, Hiddink was the coach of the Russian side that Arshavin carried to the Euro semi’s. So I think we can see that we won’t see an Andrei masterclass tomorrow night.
Who will shine? I’m backing Didier Drogba to follow up on his recent fine form and provide more reason that he is the best striker in the world on his day (Messi’s a winger, so he doesn’t count). And of course, if Van Persie does overcome his phobia of Hiddink and his Midas touch and scores early, well then, we know what to do. Give it to Ivanovic.
Chelsea 3 – Arsenal 2
“The first thing I thought when he came was ‘Oh no! He will win something’, because he is unbelievable,”
“I asked him: ‘Can I see your hands?’ and he said: ‘Yes, why?’. I said: ‘Because everything you put your hand on turns to gold’.
Troy Palmer writes on The Chelsea Blue (were you expecting a Wenger acolyte?).