Well there we have it, the game ended in a 0-0 draw and forget about the mathematics, that’s the title going to Stamford Bridge.
So congratulations to Chelsea.
Even if Arsenal won the match, it would have still been pretty impossible to win the league. For a while now, the title has been destined to go to Chelsea and the big question wasn’t if but when.
The Chelsea players, lead by John Terry, punch the air at the final whistle and can you blame them? Making sure they didn’t lose against Arsenal was the last big hurdle they had to face and the got past it.
For me, a win against Chelsea was not to fight for the title, but to give the team confidence going into the final few games and to secure that coveted second place in the Premier League. We are a point behind Manchester City but have a game in hand, so hopefully we can get 3 points in that game and regain second spot.
So todays match and what can you say?
Chelsea defended like we know they can, and they’ve been doing this for years. If you need a clean sheet, then this Chelsea side can do it with no problems whatsoever. When they are setup to defend it is pretty much impossible to get through.
Two seasons ago when Chelsea got to the Champions League final using the same tactics, they were given all the plaudits for their approach. They got past teams like Barcelona and Bayern Munich to lift the trophy and personally I admired what they did. Chelsea are a team full of winners, and always have that winning mentality. They don’t care if they play good football or boring football, all they care about is winning trophies.
And today was the same. They only needed a draw (despite what Mourinho came out with in the pre-match press conference) and they played deep and tried to get us on the break.
To Arsenal’s credit, they usually failed against this Chelsea approach but whenever they did attack on the break, they showed maturity and took a couple of cheap bookings to make sure Chelsea didn’t score that sucker punch that they usually get at The Emirates.
It was a game that Arsenal probably would have lost in previous seasons – attacking for the winner and then conceding a goal on the break from the opposition – so a point and stretching our unbeaten run isn’t a terrible thing.
For all Arsenal’s attacking, you just knew there would be few clear cut changes to get a goal against a resilient Chelsea side and with minutes remaining, Arsenal fashioned that chance.
Some smart play from Alexis Sanchez on the left played in Nacho Monreal, who picked out Mesut Özil in the centre. With the german playmaker 3 yards away from goal, he completely miscued his shot and missed the ball completely.
THAT was the chance to score and take home all 3 points.
As it was, it wasn’t to be and Arsenal’s already slim chances to catching Chelsea disappeared. It was a valiant effort from Arsenal who never gave up hope of scoring that vital goal, but the goal was just out of our reach.
Arsenal can be proud of their performance because against a stubborn side like Chelsea who were hell bent on not conceding, we couldn’t have done much else. Some of our play was intricate and incisive but with no space to play that killer pass our task was a virtually impossible one.
Remember it’s not as if we failed to score against any side – we were up against probably the best defensive side (when setup like they did today) in world football. They’ve won many trophies that way and they’ve even won the Champions League against the best sides in Europe playing that way.
At the end of the day, Arsenal went for it and gave everything they had – and with a bit of luck (the Mertesacker and Özil chances in particular) we could have taken all 3 points.
It’s a credit to Arsenal and how respected they are by Chelsea that they needed to play like that today. They knew that if they gave Arsenal an inch today we would have beaten them this afternoon. For Chelsea to play so cautiously and almost be afraid of Arsenal, is a credit to how we’ve been performing recently.