Chelsea (2) – (0) Arsenal
Stamford Bridge, London
I am so disappointed with the Chelsea match this afternoon.
Not with the players, not with the performance, not with the line-up or even the manager.
I am just so disappointed with the result.
Arsenal were just fantastic this afternoon and deserved so much more from the game.
As soon as the game kicked off, Arsenal went for it. Chamakh had a headed chance go just wide after 30 seconds and a few minutes later Arshavin cut inside and had a shot saved by Cech.
Then Koscielny had a golden chance to score with a header which he somehow placed over the bar from only a couple of yards.
Arsenal were dominating possession and the game and Cech was by far the busiest goalkeeper in the first hour of the game.
Arshavin had another goal-bound shot well saved by the Chelsea goalkeeper and Arsenal were playing well. We moved the ball around confidently, our movement was excellent and the only thing missing was the cutting edge.
I was shocked at how much Arsenal dominated the game. Arsenal were excellent all over the pitch – Sagna was up and down like a man possessed and made some really vital interceptions in defence. Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci were solid at the back, keeping Drogba, Anelka and Malouda all relatively quiet.
In midfield, Wilshire was sublime. He moves the ball so well and his touch and vision are impeccable. He was spraying the ball wide with ease and really got into the heart of the Chelsea defence. Nasri was full of running and ideas and Song was confident at bringing the ball out of midfield and rarely lost the ball.
Abou Diaby was also impressive, playing just off Chamakh but Arshavin was hit and miss. The shots he had showed what the guy is capable of but he did lose the ball at times and things were just not coming off for him.
But for all that possession and play, Chelsea were just impossible to break down and were more clinical. That’s the bottom line.
Drogba’s goal had more than a touch of fortune, when his flick went in off the inside of the post.
Asshole was played in by Ramires and his cross was fizzed into Drogba, who intelligently improvised and Fabianski had no chance with that goal.
Arsenal still played with their free flowing football and Chelsea were happy to play on the break. Arsenal dominated possession and despite Chelsea’s solid defence and 2 holding midfielders Arsenal did make opportunities.
The only thing you could criticise about Arsenal’s performance was that they weren’t clinical enough.
Chamakh had 3 decent headed chances to score, and you just feel that if this game was in January then he would have buried them. He still has to get used to the team and there were a couple of times when he was played in but he just couldn’t read the pass, but that will come in time.
Games like this are decided on key moments and on Chelsea’s first goal, Arsene was particularly upset with the foul on Song (by Ramires) leading up to the goal. For me, I thought it was 50:50 but if Arsenal fan Jamie Redknapp is saying it’s a foul then maybe it was.
Then for me, the foul on Chamakh in the area when Cech needlessly came out was a penalty. The fact of the matter was Chamakh got to the ball first and Cech made contact, and was nowhere near winning the ball. So at 1-0 that’s a big moment in the match.
When Rosicky came, we at least had someone who was willing to shoot and with Arsenal having 13 attempts and only 3 on target (Arshavin twice and Rosicky) then you have to say Arsenal aren’t clinical enough. We made some real opportunities against Chelsea and the best fell to Marouane Chamakh, but it’s hard to be critical of him.
Arsenal were without Van Persie, Fabregas and even Bendtner, so you can excuse today and I’m certain with at least Fabregas or Van Persie, we would have scored this afternoon.
After the disappointing game against West Bromich Albion, all you can ask for is a performance and we got that today.
Lukasz Fabianski: 8/10
The spotlight was on Fabianski but had a decent game. Made a decent stop from Drogba in the first half, and had no chance with the first goal. Unlucky on the freekick as the wall literally crumbled in front of him. Although Anelka should have scored, Fabianski did well to force him wide and make his chance to score harder.
Bacary Sagna: 8/10
Fantastic energy and as usual was up and down the touchline throughout the 90 minutes. Made some really vital tackles and interceptions, particularly in the first half but was badly exposed for the first goal. Crossing wasn’t great once again.
Laurent Koscielny: 7/10
Cope with Drogba well for the most part but really should have given Arsenal the lead.
Sebastien Squillaci: 7/10
Played well alongside Koscielny but did make a complete howler to leave Fabianski exposed and give Anelka have a chance to score a killer goal.
Gael Clichy: 8/10
Like Sagna, was up and down the flank but his crossing was poor. Supported Arshavin well and had a couple of speculative shots from distance. Usually finds space to have a pop shot or two, maybe shooting is something he should practice?
Alexander Song: 8/10
Was up against a tough midfield of Mikel, Essien and Ramires but did well. Won the ball and distributed it well for most of the game and rarely lost possession.
Jack Wilshire: 9/10
Simply outstanding. For a man of his age, played with so much composure it was frightening. Never shirked a challenge and knocked the ball around with aplomb, and in the final third his deft touch and quick incisive passing was a joy to watch.
Abou Diaby: 7/10
Put in a performance when most didn’t think it was in him and looked much more comfortable further up the pitch. Linked play well and was unlucky with a deflected shot that could have gone anywhere.
Samir Nasri: 7/10
Tried to make things happen but the majority of his corners and set-pieces were poor. Linked up well with Diaby, Wilshire and Arshavin at times but found it difficult to really penetrate Chelsea.
Andrei Arshavin: 6/10
Glimpses of what he can do with two shots in the first half but lost the ball needlessly at times and was less influential as the game wore on.
Marouane Chamakh: 7/10
Had a tough job up against Alex and Terry and did well for the most part. Even though he failed to score, he managed to win quite a few headers against two of the strongest defenders in the air.