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Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Monday, 27 December 2010

Stop Drogba, boss Wenger urges Arsenal as Chelsea await

Venue: The Emirates Stadium Date: Monday, 27 December Kick-off: 2000 GMT
Coverage: Live on Sky Sports 1; listen on BBC Radio 5 live & BBC London; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles

Arsene Wenger and Didier Drogba
Drogba (right) has put Arsenal to the sword on various occasions in recent years

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes his team must shackle Chelsea's Didier Drogba if they are to beat their title rivals at the Emirates on Monday.

Ivorian striker Drogba, 32, has never been on the losing side against the Gunners, scoring 13 goals in 13 games.

"He is the guy you need to keep quiet," said Wenger, whose team sit third, one point ahead of the reigning champions.

"If you look at the statistics, defending against Drogba is one of the keys - if not the biggest key."

Wenger added that the way to stop Drogba could be to try to stifle his supply from Frank Lampard, who is set to return to the starting line-up for the first time since undergoing surgery on a groin problem.

"The way he works with Frank Lampard is also important," he said. "He always finds Drogba when he plays so we have to stop that.

"Drogba was always been very efficient against us. He is a big game player.

"Recently, when Chelsea were in trouble against Tottenham, who turned up? It was Drogba again."

Drogba scored the breakthrough goal when the Blues fought hard to beat Arsenal 2-0 in March at Stamford Bridge as they tightened their grip on a title race they eventually won.

Chelsea, though, have suffered a run of consistently poor form recently and are six points behind leaders Manchester United having played the same number of games.

"I am surprised that they lost five games [already this season], especially three at home against teams not challenging for the championship," Wenger told BBC Sport.

"We are in a good position this season. But our home form in the second half of the season will be the decider."

Of his own strikers, Wenger admits that Marouane Chamakh's form has suffered amid his heavy workload this season - and, with Robin van Persie ready to start and Nicklas Bendtner also available, he may choose to rest the Moroccan.


"Marouane has given a lot," said Wenger. "He has played a lot on his own up front.

"He is a bit tired at the moment. He's used to having a winter break in France at this stage of the season.

"He has played nearly every game since the start of the season. He feels that he had a little dip physically, but he's working very hard in training to come back."

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see also
Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea
27 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Chelsea game is a must-win - Wenger
23 Dec 10 |  Football
Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea
12 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
03 Oct 10 |  Premier League


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