Robert Pires: ‘This is Arsenal’s last opportunity for the title’

Date published: Friday 3rd February 2017 9:07

Arsenal legend Robert Pires believes that a loss against Chelsea on Saturday will spell the end of the Gunners’ Premier League title hopes.

Arsene Wenger saw his side fall to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Watford at The Emirates on Tuesday, which left Chelsea nine points clear at the top of the league.

Antonio Conte has turned his Chelsea side into an almost unbeatable force, switching to a 3-4-2-1 formation after Arsenal hammered the Blues 3-0 in their last meeting and Pires acknowledges that the Gunners can’t afford any slip-ups in their remaining 15 games.

“It will be very difficult after the last game that we lost against Watford. It was terrible,” the ex-France star said.

“We have another chance next Saturday. For me, this is a big final for the Premier League. If Chelsea beat Arsenal I think the Premier League is done.

“Chelsea play very well, they are a very good team, very compact. They have the Italian philosophy, they play together.

“They are maybe stronger but we need to believe in this opportunity. I think this is the last opportunity.”

On the other side of the coin, former Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly has spoken about Saturday’s game, declaring that the Blues following formation will give them the edge.

Speaking at the TAG Heuer Premier League Pressure Test, Desailly said: “Arsenal are having a problem because they have possession of the ball all the time but they don’t make the difference.

“When you are facing Chelsea you have a problem because Chelsea has this capacity to really control the game, handle the pressure the opponent will put on them and have a great transition from defence to make the difference up front with Diego Costa.”

Desailly continued: “If you lose against Watford it is difficult to get the state of mind for winning to straight away compete against Chelsea.

“For Chelsea, it is not crucial, you prepare for the game normally. Yes, it’s an important game, a derby, but it is not something crucial for Chelsea, winning and losing.

“The important thing is to have consistency throughout the rest of the season. Then you are sure to win the league in that case.”


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