GUNPOWDER REVIEW: GUNNERS ARE PUNISHED AT THE BRIDGE BY RAMPANT CHELSEA
Well that was nothing short of terrible. I write this 24 hrs after the game and I’m still disappointed. All our season came down to one game and we didn’t seize the occasion. Call it a lack of mettle or a case of buckling under the sheer weight of the task at hand..i don’t really know. But what i do know is this, again Arsenal have shown that when it comes to winning the Premier League they possess neither the mentality or fight required.. and as an Arsenal Fan that is tough for me to say.
I had allowed my self to believe that the win in September was an indication that we had found a way to cope with big games. We dismantled a Chelsea team (whether it was the 3-4-3 or 4-4-2 chelsea is irrelevant) with ease at the emirates and i felt convinced that if we were ever going to do “the double” on them this would be the season. Yes you can look at the result yesterday and point to some mitigations to the defeat, such as the absence of a proper Midfield,The first goal( we’ll touch on that later)and the substitutions we made. But they wont amount to anything other than footnotes to yet another dismal outing at the Home of a top rival.
The Line up:
CHELSEA (3-4-3): Courtois 8; Azpilicueta 7, David Luiz 7.5, Cahill 7; Moses 7 (Zouma 87), Kante 8.5, Matic 8, Alonso 7.5; Pedro 7.5 (Willian 84), Diego Costa 8, Hazard 9 (Fabregas 84).
SUBS NOT USED: Begovic, Terry, Batshuayi, Chalobah.
GOALS: Alonso 13, Hazard 53, Fabregas 86
ARSENAL: (4-1-2-3) Cech 5; Bellerin 5.5 (Gabriel 14, 5.5), Mustafi 4.5, Koscielny 4, Monreal 5; Coquelin 3.5 (Giroud 65, 6.5); Oxlade-Chamberlain 5, Iwobi 5; Walcott 4.5 (Welbeck 70, 6.5), Sanchez 4.5, Ozil 4
SUBS NOT USED: Ospina, Gibbs, Reine-Adelaide, Maitland-Niles.
GOALS: Giroud 90
We began this game slightly better..While watching i could see the nerves from the Chelsea players. The needless backpasses, the listless movements suggested they were wary of the threats the Arsenal team possessed. We had the first shot in anger also after when one misguided kick from the back found its way to Iwobi and the Youngster curled a shot just wide of Courtois’s far post. The home side eventually got over the stage fright and began to find some rhythm. Pedro looked lively on the wing while on the other side Hazard was beginning to weave his way along the frontline. In one occasion forcing Mustafi to illegally bring him down. Still it was an open game albeit cautious. One of those you just get the feeling that whoever scores first will be at a huge advantage. And when the goal came it went to the homeside.
Now on the subject matter of the first goal, look i know it falls under the category of “if it didn’t affect my club i don’t care” but lets look at it fairly IT WAS A FOUL! Alonso jumped with a leading Elbow and caught the defender first before connecting with the ball. If that was a defender doing that to an attacker it would have been a Penalty. Bellerin could have been cynical and employed Dangerous play by “bridging” Alonso or jumping with his own elbow..but he tried to go for the ball fairly and got flattened. The goal should have been chalked off. It was dangerous play and Bellerin had to leave the field concussed. I may be a biased fan, but referees have a responsibility to officiate THE GAME but in doing that they must not forget their responsibility to ensure they protect the players from greivious harm. It was disappointing to concede in that way. And you could see the impact it had on the Arsenal team mentally. The first half remained cautious but after taking the lead Chelsea looked fired up and began to play confidently. This didn’t stop Arsenal from attacking though and when a glorious chance to pull his team level presented itself…Gabriel Paulista directed his header straight at Coutois when he really really should have scored. The cross from Alex oxlade chamberlain was at the right pace and Height. The kind Olivier Giroud loves to eat up ..But sadly the french man was seated on the bench.
That should have been 1-1 and game on..But instead Chelsea took their lead into Halftime.
Now Wenger may be observing a touch line ban, but the events of yesterday showed he still controls every thing on match day. I had hoped that we would begin the 2nd half with Substitutes to give us fresh impetus. But alas i had probably allowed myself to drift off in wishful thinking. Arsene Wenger almost never makes subs at half time unless there’s an Injury,or threat of a red card or what not. But as he wasn’t in the dugout i thought Bold would take the chance and do his own thing by bringing in Giroud and Welbeck for the underperforming Theo Walcott and Iwobi. But that subs didnt come until EDEN hazard had contrived to Embarrass the entire Gunners Defensive line with a 50-yard mazy run that was so preventable it makes me want to tear my hair out. I mean seriously, he’s what 5ft 9 and probably ..70-74kg. Can’t any midfeilder run up to him and shoulder barge him ..even if it means taking a yellow at least ..what matters here is STOP HIM.He’S done something similar to us 3 seasons ago..Where he got chopped down for a penalty in that game and he scored it..bUt that goal yesterday was just a terrible goal to concede and as for Francis Coquelin falling on the floor like a man who had been hit by a trailer. I have no words for him. I hope his freinds at home watched it so as to give him a good laughing at ..cos that was just sheer disgrace. Fabregas later added the 3rd goal after being given a gift from the Chelsea old boy Cech..who had been fooling around all game with easy clearances that it was evident one was bound to go bad ..and it did..landing straight at the feet of the ex-Arsenal captain..who lobbed it in for 3-0
At that point it was well and truly game over…And in typical “Wenger fashion” on came the substitutes to keep the tradition of reactivity as opposed to pro-activity …him being on the touchline or not.
Welbeck and Giroud came on for Iwobi and Walcott and instantly there was life in the Arsenal attack again. Welbeck with his trade mark energy and Runs was peppering Moses and being more stronger than him was enjoying the battle. Giroud on the other hand instantly provided the Ariel threat and crosses were no longer being easily nodded away by the blues backline. It could have still been different if Courtois didn’t brilliantly swat a goal bound Welbeck header arrowing into the bottom corner away for a corner. But on the 1st minute of added time Giroud connected with a monreal cross to give the scorline a bit of dignity for the well beaten Gunners.
So there we have it another title race gone with a whimper. Very frustrating to say that Arsenal didn’t show the mettle to compete..We now have to look to finish as high as we can..another 2nd position maybe, while we give the Champions League a good go.
The real damage for me was the loss to Watford at home..That was the the real cock-up..but its history now. where do we go from here?> On to the next game..