Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain concedes that Arsenal must improve their record against the top teams this season but says they will not abandon their attacking approach when they face Chelsea.
The Gunners lost heavily in all their away games against the Premier League’s top four last term, including a humiliating 6-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in March.
Arsene Wenger takes his men back to Chelsea this weekend and there have been suggestions that the manager must concentrate more on defensive solidity in such fixtures.
We give Chelsea the respect they deserve – but, at the same time, I have belief in my team-mates and we believe in ourselves to be able to go to a place like Chelsea and set the tempo and hopefully take control of the game.
Oxlade-Chamberlain certainly hopes that Arsenal will be much stronger at the back, but insists they will still be positive.
“We do understand what happened there last season. Maybe we have got a point to prove there, we know this year we have got to step up in the big games and get some results in them,” said the Arsenal midfielder.
“We’re really looking forward to that game and I definitely think we can go there with confidence. We give Chelsea the respect they deserve – but, at the same time, I have belief in my team-mates and we believe in ourselves to be able to go to a place like Chelsea and set the tempo and hopefully take control of the game.
“There will be times in the game, I’m sure, when they have a spell because they are a top team.
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“It’s two good sides, they are going to have their time, we are going to have ours. We just have to make sure that when we do have our chances we make them count.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain scored in the 1-1 draw against North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday as Arsenal kept up their unbeaten start to the league season, and he has faith in their style of play.
He added: “I think that’s the risk you take when you play the way we play football – we send a lot of bodies forward in a positive and attacking fashion. You do leave yourself, at times, a little bit vulnerable to the counter-attack.
“As a team we do work on trying to stop that at source. Sometimes you do get countered and I think teams maybe set up to do that against us. But, as I said, you can’t have everything. You either don’t send so many bodies forward or you do, and sometimes you can be susceptible to the counter-attack.
“It is something we have always worked on because it is an area I’m sure teams look at to try and break us down. We have got to be ready for that and we will continue to work on it.
“We try to take control of games, we like to set the tempo, be positive and that sometimes means sending bodies forward.
“It’s just important that when we do, we have got people in the team that are willing to take the responsibility of holding back and being there to stop the counter-attacks.
“I love playing in this team, and the style of play that we do – and I think all the players would say that. But we do need, obviously, to be careful and make sure we are defending at the same time as when we are attacking.”