Raul Meireles sampled his first London derby last weekend, and quickly follows it up with his second when Arsenal visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The Portuguese midfielder was a starter in our narrow defeat to Queens Park Rangers five days ago before sitting out Wednesday’s Carling Cup win at Everton, and is now looking forward to getting back to winning ways in the league against what he considers an improving Arsenal side.
The 28-year-old is in a better position than most to judge, too. He was a substitute for Liverpool when they won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on the season’s second weekend, just over a week before becoming a Chelsea player.
The Gunners have won their last four matches in all competitions however, and will want to continue that run of form to prove they remain contenders for a top-four spot despite having already lost four league games.
‘I was a substitute and came into the game when it was 0-0, Luis Suarez and me, and we won 2-0,’ he recalled. ‘It was a very good win for us, for Liverpool, at the time, and we started the season well and Arsenal didn’t, but now they are different and have some new players and are playing well. It is more difficult for us to play them at this time.
‘I think tomorrow will be a different type of game from the QPR one. It is a derby but it is different, there are two top teams playing who like to play good football and we prepared well. I think we are ready to play football and win the game in our stadium for our fans.’
Meireles is enjoying life as a Londoner, and has no regrets over his move south.
‘Life here is very good, it’s great, I enjoy it a lot,’ the former Porto man said. ‘London is a great city, I love living here, and Chelsea is a different club from Liverpool. They are both top teams but there are a lot of differences and I like it here.’
His adaptation has been aided by several familiar faces, particularly Jose Bosingwa who he knows from Portugal and ex-Liverpool team-mate Fernando Torres, who is expected to return to the line-up following his domestic suspension.
‘It’s good for him and good for the team to have him available,’ Meireles said.
‘We have Fernando back and he is hungry to play football, he has been in good form and that has to be good for us.’
As well as Torres, Ramires will be available once more after overcoming his knee injury, and Bosingwa returns from suspension, however Didier Drogba is still banned for the lunchtime kick-off.
Read the full story on the Chelsea FC website.
By Clare Smith