Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea (Azpilicueta 26, Mata 67)
Man of the Match – Juan Mata (Chelsea)
It was a case of old mistakes being repeated again, as Arsenal were convincingly knocked out by a Chelsea reserve side, that still had £140 million worth of talent on the field, with the likes of David Luiz, Juan Mata, Michael Essien and Samuel Etoó.
Arsene Wenger made several changes to the side that beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in the league over the weekend at Selhurst Park, with Lukasz Fabianski replacing Wojciech in goal, and the entire defence was reshuffled, with captain Thomas Vermaelen, starting alongside Nacho Monreal, Carl Jenkinson and Laurent Koscielny. With Mikel Arteta suspended, and Mathieu Flamini injured, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey started in deeper positions, with Ryo Miyaichi, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky completing the midfield. Up front was Danish striker Niklas Bendtner, still trying to find his feet in the team.
Chelsea clearly looked more comfortable on the ball, with some slick passing and movements, as Arsenal failed to get into grips with the game. The visitors dominated possession, but with little danger, as the home side relied on counters, which were rather ineffective.
Arsenal were forced to take shots from distance, and both Miyaichi and Ramsey had their shots blocked. Chelsea were gifted a goal on 26 minutes, much similiar to the goal they were gifted over the weekend by Manchester City, finished by Fernando Torres.
This time, an Arsenal corner was cleared, with Carl Jenkinson tracking back. His attempt to backhead the ball to the goalkeeper proved fatal, and it fell right into the feet of his opposite number Cesar Azpilicueta, with Fabianski charging. The Spanish full back made no mistake and scored his first goal for Chelsea.
Arsenal responded swiftly, but Nacho Monreal’s shot whizzed past the far post. Arsenal had more possession post Chelsea’s goal, but to little effect, as Chelsea efficiently prevented any danger.
Arsenal emerged with more urge in the second half, as an energetic Tomas Rosicky tried to rally on the Arsenal side. Samuel Etoó had the first shot on goal, and it wasn’t too far away from the target. Aaron Ramsey, going through a dry spell, by his standards this season, had two attempts on goal, the first not too far away from Schwarzer’s post, and the second one was floundered as he took too much time on the ball laid off by Bendtner.
A subdued Ryo Miyaichi was taken off for Mesut Ozil, but Chelsea struck the decisive second goal, through Juan Mata’s sweetly struck strike ending up in the back of the net. Bendtner came off to a chorus of boos. The Dane barely got service, and there were moments when he didn’t seem too interested either.
Substitute Olivier Giroud saw his effort saved, and when Park-Chu Young came on for Aaron Ramsey, it was all but over. Chelsea sealed progress to the next round. Mourinho recorded his 5th unanswered victory over Wenger in 9 meetings between the two.
Chelsea clearly had enough depth in their squad, from goalkeeper to striker. Arsenal, despite starting several internationals and regulars, still failed to live up to recent expectations. While the loss may not be particularly confidence denting, it’s time for the players to buck up for the rest of the busy schedule coming up. Liverpool at the Emirates, Dortmund at Westfalenstadion, and Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Jai Arsenal 🙂