Wilkins: Chelsea to mix strength and skill
Chelsea's assistant manager Ray Wilkins insists the Blues must combine strength with skill against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge tomorrow if they are to avoid a second successive Premier League defeat.
Wilkins admitted his side were out-muscled by Manchester City at Eastlands last weekend when Carlos Tevez's goal handed them their first defeat of the season. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says his side must resist being "dominated" by the defending champions, but Wilkins has already vowed his team will use power as well as talent to prevent another setback.
"The Manchester City game was exactly the same as last year in that we didn't compete as well as we should have done," said Wilkins. "We did not compete in a physical sense, that is why we lost the game last year and for me that is why we lost the game this year, and that is not like us.
"I thought City's Nigel De Jong was the best player on the pitch and they took us by surprise and should not have done. But that will not happen again. We have to find the happy medium between, strength, power, the physical side of stuff as well as playing football. That is what the Premier League requires. We must make sure we are up there in every aspect throughout the season.
"You have to be ready for the physical side and combat it. We didn't combat that against Manchester City and we lost. Some days you play poorly. It is just human nature."
Chelsea boss Ancelotti should be in the dugout after his father Giuseppe died at the age of 87 in midweek. Wilkins confirmed the Italian would return to England today and would pick the team before the game.
"I've been on the phone to him continuously over the last couple of days," added Wilkins. "The training is left up to us. He will take charge of the team on Sunday and select the side. The players were down on hearing the sad news but football is their job, it is their life, it is what they do. They will be back up. They will be delighted to see Carlo on Saturday and we will crack on from there."
Although Chelsea's record against Arsenal in recent seasons has been outstanding, including the double over their rivals last season, Wilkins still regards them as a potent threat to their ambitions of retaining the title.
"Arsenal have always been a threat," added Wilkins. "Last year at the Emirates we never touched the ball for 20 minutes but won 3-0 in the end.
"That shows our resilience but they are a super footballing team. They are a good side. They had a great result in Belgrade in the Champions League in midweek but we were quite pleased with the way things went on Tuesday against Marseille and we are looking forward to the game.
"You have to get the ball off them but we are looking forward to the challenge. You have to play exceptionally well to beat them and our lads feel that way."
Chelsea will be without midfielder Frank Lampard, striker Salomon Kalou and midfielder Yossi Benayoun, while full-back Jose Bosingwa is not fully match fit after finally recovering from his long-standing knee problem.