As Geoffrey Chaucer famously once wrote ‘familiarity breeds contempt’; maybe Chaucer was being slightly ironic, as the second tale of his most famous work certainly did bring contempt for anyone who has read the ‘The Tale Of Melibee’. And if Chaucer had been alive today – then one of his most used phrases in the English language would certainly be appropriate for the month of January in the life of Chelsea Football Club.

No sooner had the New Year Resolutions been broken (mine have been broken twice already) Chelsea had rocked up to the Emirates for the first ‘Top Six’ clash in 2018. In keeping with recent fixtures at the Emirates, it was another thriller, to go alongside the Manchester United and Liverpool fixtures in December; Arsenal picked up two points in those three games if you was interested!

No sooner has everyone picked the bones out of was it or was it not a penalty on Eden Hazard – it was – Chelsea find themselves welcoming Arsenal to Stamford Bridge for the 1st leg of our Carabao Cup clash.

Not since October 2013 have the sides met in this competition, but Chelsea have had the edge over their North London rivals since they first met in the League Cup way back in 1976.

Hall Of Fame will look back over a few clashes from yesteryear.

Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal – Coca-Cola Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg – Stamford Bridge – 1998

No one could have foreseen the fall out from the 2-1 defeat at Highbury in the 1st leg, in what would prove to be his last act as a player, and as manager of the club, Ruud Gullit was controversially dismissed by Ken Bates, stating the money had been the overriding factor in the Dutchman’s sacking – a claim which, to this day Gullit disputes.

So to Stamford Bridge, and Gianluca Vialli’s first game in charge as player-manager, and as he hadn’t been getting much time on the pitch under Gullit, Vialli named himself in the starting line up ahead of Tore-Andre Flo.

From the first whistle, Chelsea started off like a train, hell-bent on levelling the scores on aggregate, and in the 10th minute, Mark Hughes did exactly that. A free kick from Gianfranco Zola was cleared by the Arsenal defence, but only to the feet of Roberto Di Matteo on the edge of the box who fed the ball to Mark Hughes, and in typical Hughes fashion, a quick turn and shot which flashed past Alex Manninger in the Arsenal goal to bring the scores level on aggregate and give Chelsea the lead on the night.

Just after the second half had started, Patrick Viera picked up his second yellow of the proceedings and was dismissed following an awful challenge on Graeme Le Saux, and now Chelsea were in the ascendancy, smelling Wembley in their nostrils. The scent proved to be correct with two goals in two minutes, six minutes after Viera’s red card.

The second goal coming from a truly wonderful strike from Roberto Di Matteo, one of the best goals ever seen at Stamford Bridge in this writer’s humble opinion, despite a foul from Emmanuel Petit on Vialli in the middle of the pitch, Mark Hughes won the ball back from David Platt, and played in Di Matteo who then rifled a shot into the top corner from thirty yards out to send Stamford Bridge into raptures. Two quickly became three, from a well-taken corner from Gianfranco Zola – goes without saying – Vialli’s flick on found Dan Petrescu (for younger readers Super Dan Petrescu was sang on the terraces before the song was adopted for Frank Lampard) who wriggled his way past the Arsenal defence to fire Chelsea into a 3-0 lead on the night and 4-1 on aggregate to send the Blues to Wembley, where they would beat Middlesbrough in a final at Wembley for the second time in less than 12 months.

Arsenal 0-5 Chelsea – Highbury – Coca-Cola Cup 4th Round – 1998

A night where Chelsea went to Highbury and had one of the best days away from home at our North London rivals in our history up until that point.

Arsene Wenger, as is still the case, fielded a much weakened Arsenal side, but even with a near full strength Chelsea team, this was still a result of epic proportions.

Arsenal started the brighter with Dennis Bergkamp and Christopher Wreh forcing early saves from Chelsea goalkeeper Dmitri Kharine.

Chelsea began to exert themselves into the match, and with Chelsea pressure, Gus Poyet found himself one on one with Alex Manninger, covering defender Nelson Vivas put a leg and brought Poyet down and David Ellery pointed to the spot, which Frank Leboeuf duly converted to put Chelsea into the lead.

Arsenal still were forcing chances but still the Chelsea net was being guarded heroically by Kharine.

The second half was a completely different story, however, a great ball by Bjarne Goldbaek found player-manager Vialli on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, with Manninger committed in no man’s land, Vialli nodded the ball past him and stroked into an empty net to give Chelsea some daylight.

Chelsea’s experience began to tell, and Gus Poyet made it three just after the hour mark, following a ball into the channel from Goldbaek, Tore Andre Flo had acres of space to run into on the wing, Gilles Grimandi couldn’t catch him and Flo squared the ball into Poyet who slotted home from six yards out.

Gianluca Vialli added a fourth ten minutes later, a fine ball from Poyet to his manager on the edge of the area, and Vialli rolled back the years with a superbly first time taken volley into the corner of Manninger’s net. Gus Poyet rounded off the scoring ten minutes from time to make it five and send the Chelsea fans wild and give Chelsea their biggest ever away win at Highbury.

Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea – Millennium Stadium – Carling Cup Final – 2007

So is this the John Terry Final or the Didier Drogba Final – personally speaking it should go to the man who persecuted Arsenal for more than a decade – no not Arsene Wenger – Didier Drogba, from the 2005 Charity Shield to up until he left, and then returned, and left again in 2015, the Ivorian struck fear into every Arsenal centre-back he faced.

After a tentative opening 10 minutes, and against the run of play, young Theo Walcott – no me neither – put Arsenal into the lead in the 13th minute, the lead lasted little over five minutes; Michael Ballack found Drogba in the penalty area, Drogba still had a fair bit to do but struck a shot beyond Manuel Almunia’s net.

The equaliser seemed to give Chelsea a bit of an extra pep in their step, and they began to assert themselves into the contest.

Arjen Robben replaced Claude Makelele before the start of the second half and the Dutchman’s influence was almost immediate.

Robben earned Chelsea a corner on the hour mark, John Terry, as he had done, and has done since, put his body to (usually prevent) earn Chelsea a priceless goal, for JT’s troubles, he received the boot to his face from Abou Diaby – no me neither – knocking the Chelsea legend out, after receiving medical treatment Terry was stretchered off and taken to hospital, being replaced by Jon Obi Mikel.

With six minutes remaining, Didier Drogba did the two things he did best, score in a final for Chelsea, and score against Arsenal; Arsenal gave away possession in the middle of the park to Michael Essien, whose crossfield pass found Robben, Robben’s cross into the Arsenal penalty area found Drogba who duly did the rest and fired a header past Almunia.

The drama wasn’t over there, in the seventh minute of injury time a tussle of shirt pulling between Mikel and Toure resulted in a melee of almost every player from both sides – the outcome was a red card for both Mikel and Toure.

And just to add to his legend, John Terry discharged himself from hospital to return to the stadium to celebrate with his teammates.

So the history in the competition between the two London giants has generally favoured the Blues, and long may it continue this way. With Chelsea still in with a realistic chance of three competitions, this is a chance to (almost) book a place at Wembley, and with Arsenal feeling the pressure from the fans following FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest – stop laughing at the back – this could provide a real opportunity to further turn up the heat on the immovable object that is Arsene Wenger.

For Chelsea, the season is shaping up, not as we would have hoped in terms of defending the title, but targets are still to be pursued.

For Arsenal it seems that familiarity does indeed breed contempt – ‘We want you to stay, we want you to stay’.