Arsenal 1 (Gervinho 42) – Chelsea 2 (Torres 20, Mata 53)
Man of the Match – Juan Mata (Chelsea)
Again, after every other Arsenal loss, I am a bit of a loss of words. A bit of loss at everything actually. Well, first my week is already screwed, and then last night was quite frustrating in the after math of the loss. But, that’s football I guess.
Arsenal played host to Chelsea, at a time, when both sides had made good starts to this Premier League season. Chelsea have already picked up 4 wins and a draw, while the Gunners had 2 wins, and 3 draws, having played slightly tougher opponents.
With much of Chelsea’s pre match talk centred around the 4 match ban handed to John Terry, for his role in the racial abuse of QPR’s Anton Ferdinand, there was a buzzing atmosphere building up at the Emirates ahead of this special capital clash.
Chelsea started with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the trio of Hazard, Oscar and Mata all starting. Laurent Koscielny started along side Thomas Vermaelen in defence, and that was the only change from the squad that had drawn at Manchester City.
Chelsea actually made a much more stronger start in the opening minutes, but Arsenal soon swinged that into their hands, as Abou Diaby tested Cech from range. However, that was about it, as he was bought off injured, seemingly having pulled a muscle in the process.
Chelsea won a free-kick, 5 minutes later, and it was turned in superbly by Fernando Torres. The Spaniard, under pressure from Koscielny, did brilliantly to hold off the Frenchman, as he booted the ball in, to give the reigning European Champions (disgusting it sounds) the lead in North London.
This got in some more urgency into the Gunners side, but Chelsea looked comfortable in dealing with the Gunner’s advances, especially through the middle. Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs were again at their best, yet there was the cutting edge lacking from Arsenal’s game.
But, Arsenal’s patience and resolve finally told, as some neat work on the right, allowed Oxlade-Chamberlain to cross. This found Gervinho, with his back to the goal, but in one motion, he turned and slammed the ball into the top corner of the net, to level matters. This was his 4th goal of the season, which equals his tally of the entire last season.
And, the team seemed to carry forward the same urgency in the second half, with some intricate passing in Chelsea’s half. But, it was the Blues who took the lead completely against the run of play. A ball was hoofed forward from a Chelsea clearance, and was being chased by Fernando Torres. He was caught in the back by Vermaelen, in a similar position from which the first goal was conceded.
Juan Mata’s free kick sent in a curling free kick, with the entire Arsenal defence napping. Koscielny should have cleared it though, having stuck a leg out, but it made slight contact with him, prompting Mannone to think it was taken care of, but the ball rolled into the net rather unchallenged. A very very soft goal to concede.
After that it was all about Chelsea’s crappy time wasting tactics, and their bombing the ball forward, and frustrating Arsenal out of the match. Petr Cech had in fact started biding his time over a free kick in as early as the 56th minute.
Arsenal did have their chances to equalize though. A looping header from Lukas Podolski was safely palmed away by the Czech international goalkeeper. And, Cazorla almost forced Chelsea into an own goal, as his cross hit Luiz, but hit the post. However, Arsenal had the biggest and best chance of all, when in injury time, Cazorla set up Giroud who rounded the keeper, but put his effort wide with the goal staring at him.
And, that, my friends is the story of our first London derby of the season. I haven’t been frustrated so much in my life, even after failing in an exam, but I think the feeling of an Arsenal loss is really sucky. The last time we lost a game was the Wigan game at home last season, and that seems like ages ago.
Positives, yes, there aren’t many. Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs were superb throughout. The duo, who cost us just 1 million pounds together, kept out Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, who cost 55 million pounds, relatively quiet.
It seems like Chelsea had very little about them yesterday. Despite the vast amount of sums spent on buying new recruits, they barely got anything going attack wise, and had to rely on us literally gifting them the goals.
There are plenty of negatives though. First, Diaby’s injury means he will be out for around 3 weeks, which is a big blow to us. We seemed to have a grab of the game, when he was there, and I don’t think introducing Chamberlain was the right choice. Aaron Ramsey drifted inwards, and looked out of shape for most part.
Santi Cazorla was left unproductive, as Chelsea parked their famous bus in defence and in midfield to stifle us. Gervinho, apart from the goal was not at his best, and the same goes to Podolski. The defending was all over the place at times, and I felt we needed the calmness and assurance of Per Mertesacker yesterday. The goals that were conceded were piss poor and unacceptable at this level.
Mikel Arteta was left alone in his role last afternoon, against a very strong Chelsea midfield, and was left exposed several times to counters. On the other hand, Chelsea used this very ploy to get to Arsenal’s nerves in midfield, giving very little space for us to get out passing game going. I was also very dissapointed with Giroud’s miss in extra time, and as a striker, you need to put away such chances for goals. It would have been a massive goal for him, but he somehow missed.
This is the third time he has been played in such a situation, and you got to feel for the lad, because these are still early days, but an equalizer would have done everyone, including me a world of good. As it is, Chelsea now move 8 points clear of us, and we have to now concentrate on our own season.
Probably, this loss comes at a good time, to judge the progress of the team thus far. West Ham away will be a very very hard game, and we should be ready for the challenge.
Jai Arsenal 🙂