Just How Far Are Arsenal From Chelsea & United?

Well today Arsenal had a golden opportunity to beat Chelsea, especially in the 43rd minute when Baptista got on the wrong side of Boulahrouz and got fouled in the box. The Dutch defender was rightly sent off and Gilberto comfortably scored the penalty to give Arsenal the lead.

From then on you expected Arsenal to dominate the game with the extra man but that didn’t happen. Chelsea, seemingly galvanised from the dismissal, stepped up their game in the second half and could have arguably won the game at the death.

As could have Arsenal, when Eboue’s excellent shot beat Petr Cech and smashed the bar.

But the game ended in a draw which on the balance of play was probably a fair result. Arsenal suffered yet again from not taking their chances with Baptista, Adebayor, Hleb and Cesc scuffing tames shots against Cech – who to be honest didn’t have a real save to make.

Chelsea were dangerous in attack and clinical while Arsenal never looked like scoring that second goal. People will point to the absence of Titi and Van Persie but we can’t expect those two to score all our goals – simply put the rest of the squad just don’t contribute enough.

The draw confirmed Manchester United as Premiership Champions and Chelsea as runners up.

But how far are Arsenal from competing for the title?

Since winning the Premiership last in 2003, Alex Ferguson took 3 seasons to find a new team that is capable of winning the league. He lost Van Nistelrooy, Beckham, Keane & Sheringham and replaced them with Saha, Ronaldo, Carrick and Rooney.

When we lost Adams came in Toure, and Seaman was replaced by Lehmann. Football is ever changing and the challenge after any success is to do it again with a new team.

But the biggest players we have lost in recent seasons are Bergkamp, Vieira and Pires.

The problem is that Fabregas is currently filling the Bergkamp and Vieira roles by himself – and a goalscoring midfielder like Pires just hasn’t been replaced by either Rosicky or Hleb. Rosicky’s second season next year will be the real test, while the jury is still out on Hleb.

Next season will be a stuggle if the wide players don’t start scoring. Gilberto is our highest scoring midfielder despite being a defensive player!

I’m not sure about our defence with William Gallas.

I know that’s stupid to say considering he is a fantastic defender and more importantly a winner, but on more than one ocassion he hasn’t looked that great next to Kolo.

Maybe it’s because they’re so used to being next to a leader. When Toure was playing alongside (a fit and focused) Sol Campbell they were awesome, but it was clear Sol was the organiser at the back – and Gallas has always been alongside John Terry who is a born leader.

Or maybe as a team we just don’t concentrate defensively?

Whatever it is, Arsenal’s defence doesn’t look water tight like it has in the past and we’re prone to conceding sloppy goals.

In my opinion, Arsene has some real thinking to do in the summer about the currently squad at his disposal.


43 thoughts on “Just How Far Are Arsenal From Chelsea & United?

  1. No doubt that Chelsea deserved their draw, and one could say they deserved better, considering they had 10 men for the majority of the game. I saw little to suggest that Arsenal will be genuine title contenders next season. 5-a-side-style cleverness might be pretty to see, but it’s 11-a-side we’re supposed to be playing. Little cliques of players doing their own 5-a-side thing doesn’t make a PL-winning team. Even with just 10, Chelsea looked more of an 11-man team.

  2. In my opinion Arsenal will not – sadly – win the premiership again unless
    and until they address some fundamental flaws within their game:

    1. They need to significantly improve their defensive performance when
    they don’t have the ball, including when defending against dead ball
    situations and long throw-ins. This applies to all outfield players, starting
    with the forwards. Both as individual players and as a team, they need
    to get their defensive act together. I’m not convinced that the resources
    to bring about this improvement already exist within the club, and would
    therefore bring in a defence coach – George Graham anyone? –
    specifically to address this issue.

    2. Arsenal probably create more goal scoring opportunities and chances than
    any other club in the Country, but only convert a very small
    percentage of those opportunities and chances into actual goals. This is
    highly inefficient & ineffective and is very costly. If this issue could be
    addressed the team would outscore the opposition bigtime, everytime.
    Arsene is no doubt aware of this…part of the solution may include
    bringing in a new forward – Nicolas Anelka anyone? – as well as a new wide
    midfield player to replace Freddie L.

    3. Making constructive and efficient use of corners and freekicks. Our
    performance from corners and free kicks is so bad that I often think that
    we should just give the ball back to the opposition keeper, to restart the
    game with a goalkick, rather than waste everybody’s time by not making
    proper use of the opportunities provided by having corners & freekicks.

    4. This is related to the defensive issue above, but it needs to be spelt
    out…I’m talking about closing games out when we only have a 1-0 lead
    and there’s 20 minutes or so to go.

  3. with a fully fit diaby, henry, RVP and gallas we have the talent to challenge. where i see the biggest gap is character. you saw the way chelsea surged back today despite being a man down for the whole half, while we’ve struggled all year to finish teams off. we just seem to go soft for long stretches. arsene tends to buy players for flair. maybe its time to buy a couple of guys simply for character.


  4. The game against chelsea has just shown just how far we are from winning anything. As you rightly point out, we lack that cutting edge and the will to win. After Chelsea equalised, we dropped our shoulders and simply watched them overrun us. What made it so embarrasing to watch was we were cowering from the onslaught like WE were the team with ten men. We only had Lehmann to thank for saving us from what could have been an embarrassing defeat seeing as the whole premiership was looking to us to finish it for United.
    The only disagreement I have is that I think our defense is Ok, I mean our style of play is such that the other team will score against us as our emphasis is not on keeping clean sheets. This is how United have won the prem. They have conceded far more goals than both Chelsea and Liverpool but have overwhelmingly made up by scoring more. I would lastly add that if Wenger is going to keep the same squad without adding some goalscorers, then we have to brace ourselves for yet another disappointing season. I have a feeling Henry and RVP will be enadequate.

  5. Arsenal is not even in the same league. The points gulf is no coincidence. It is a reflection of the sorry ass state of the team. A simple check – just how many players in todays team do you think would Mourinho like to play in Chelsea? Take Fab & Lehmann out and the right answer is zero. Does that answer how far behind we are?

  6. I think this season’s league position is due to a number of results. It is true that we lost many players: Vieira, Pires, Campbell, Bergkamp, Reyes, Cole, Lauren, and we had Henry, Van Persie out for too long. This surely contributed.

    Also, we had the issue of going to a new ground.

    I think we lost the league in the first few matches: i.e. the matches in which we were still settling into the Emirates Stadium, and those few matches in which Clichy, Hoyte, Walcott, Rosicky, Baptista, and co. were still settling in. Gallas too…it takes some time to get in a new team.

    I’d like to ask the following question therefore: does anyone know how we fared in e.g. the second part of the season in comparison with the other teams? Coz if im not mistaken we’ve been around 16 points behind united ever since october or november…till we settled in emirates and till the new guns got used to the job.

    Needless to say, we however do lack that cutting edge…

    Defensively, I know I may sound out of order, but I’d prefer Senderos to Gallas (what has happened to Senderos and Djourou…they’re not mentioned anymore…). Last year, take the Champions League for example, Toure and Senderos let very few goals in. Its true that at times Senderos is not reliable at all, but he seems to play well only after he would have a run in of a few games. But once he gets going he’s great…e.g. remember the World Cup too… I think he plays well with Toure since Senderos dominates the air, while Toure is great on the ground. Senderos too does organise the defence…

  7. Since december 2 we’ve gainded 45 points, United 50 and Chelsea 46…not as bad as one would think…without the dodgy start we would have been in the title race

  8. the problem is that with our main goalscorers out, we havnt been scoring enough. sounds simple, but i know RVP and titi shouldnt score them all, but then again, maybe thats how the team is built. for the midfield to provide for the goalscorers, which is whats happening now, but with adebayor who is not exactly a great finisher all the time, and baptista, who lets put it is clumsy not only in front of goal but all over the place. we miss bobby pires, but maybe rosicky isnt the same player, and will provide more goals than he scores, at the end of the day, goals are goals, whoever they come from.

  9. I saw lots of pretty soccer. My impression is it it will be more of the same.Why?
    On the evidence the gunners are still pretty to watch but the incisive edge is still missing.The passing syndrome is still there and although chelski had only ten players ,it was obvious they were playing for a win and were a trifle
    unlucky to do so.
    Watch the top cl sidese and you would notice their one touch passing
    and would end in a goal shot after three or five touches.

  10. The gulf between the teams was never more evident than today. Everywhere on the pitch Chelsea’s players looked bigger, stronger and generally more muscular, even with ten men. Statistically, they won most 50-50 challenge including 90% of the headers. There seems to be a greater appetite for the physical side of the game than the Arsenal players as well. It is no wonder that we generally struggle when faced with more physical sides in the premiership. It isn’t too far-fetched to conclude that if Arsenal are to compete for a title in the foreseeable future, there is much work to be done on the physical side of the game.

    In fact, there was little to suggest that Arsenal , as presently constituted, can sustain a title challenge next year, Arsene’s optimism notwithstanding. Comparing the points total since December is misleading because it takes little account of the quality of the opposition. The title is won or lost over the course of a full season , making allowances for dips in form amongst the contenders. Over the course of 38 games the points total generally reflects a team’s true position in the premiership. The Henry and RVP crutch has some merits but that would be a giant leap of faith to conclude that these two would have made all the difference if healthy. A twenty point gap between two teams, injury or not, is a massive differential and only the most optimistic fan would suggest that was an aberration.

    While we have reason to be optimistic about some of our youngsters, our tiltle aspirations may well be determined by how realistic Arsene is about the shortcomings of this team and by the ultimate resolution of the looming takeover in the boardroom.

  11. I have to give the man of the match to the crowd at Ashburton, even watching here in the states I could hear the fucking gooners on song, in the best atmosphere I can remember.

  12. Chelsea also had a fair share of injuries, and finished much ahead of us..
    With Henry, RVP fit it would make a huge difference, but probably not enough to win it from the mancs this year.. they had everything going for them..

    Our midfield needs to score.. if it does, we’ll win the prem.. Every prem winning side has midfielders that score.. Lampard, Ronaldo, Pires,.. etc..

  13. Anon 1, your stats gives us hope for next season. If, and only if henri and van persie were there in the second half of theseason, they would easily scored, collectively, twenty goals. What would that do to our league position?

    I agree that our defense needs a leader. toure seems to be intimidated by Gallas;

    I see the board making a statement in our transfer dealings this summer. They will want to place emphasis on the statement ” we do not need his money” by spending big. I am hopeful.

  14. What do you mean the quality of the opposition? We beat Man Utd twice, drew with Chelsea twice, and convincingly beat Liverpool on a number of occasions. Arsenal’s suffering this season is down to a poor run of injuries that has seen our two top scorers out for the better part. Gallas was also out for a long spell and add to that the absence of Rosicky we have had no stability. In saying that , Arsene needs to sign a couple of strong physical players. We didn’t have the appropriate back-up when it was required. But I still think, with all the absences, and with our youth policy, we were still the most exciting team in the league to watch. Arsenal will be atleast 20 points better next season with a fully fit squad.

  15. I’m not sure if I believe the statistics given by Anon 1, given that we lost to West Ham, Liverpool and Everton in the space of 2 weeks, as well as having that disasterous February where we got knocked out of the Champions League, FA Cup and Carling Cup in the same month. And I’m sure our form hasn’t been exactly brilliant over the last few months, although I could be mistaken.

    Even if the stats are true, the point already made is that you have to perform throughout the entire season. Ferguson said today that the start is vital if you want to win the league, because Chelsea have raised the bar. It’s no good saying in October/November that we’ll catch up because that doesn’t happen anymore. United and Chelsea will usually win every week and get further and further away.

    The big question is can Arsenal find any consistancy and with this current team I can’t see that happening at all. The kids are all up for playing United, Liverpool and Chelsea but they just not interested in playing away in Sheffield or Blackburn.

    How can Wenger get this team up for these games against the lower teams if he hasn’t managed to do it over the past two seasons?

  16. I don’t think it’s about pretty football anymore.

    We are creating chances.

    Lots and lots of EASY chances.

    The fact is that our strikers can’t take them

    Adebayor needs to improve his finishing ten-fold! He could’ve had at least 10 more goals if he had taken all his one on ones.

    It’s a damning indictment of Arsenal that our top goalscorer has been out for half the season.

  17. The Arsenal team lacked balance. Starting with Denilson and Diaby in the wide midfield positions congested the midfield.

    And Arsenal keep conceding and letting teams off the hook!

    If Arsenal are to win the league next season (for they will certainly challenge for it) the defence will have to be tightened up. If this is not done then forget it.

    By omitting Drogba from the line up Mourinho gave up the title before the game started. But his players didn’t. They showed that you need guts, determination and tenacity to win games and with it championships, as they have done for the two seasons previously. Have Arsenal ?

    Wenger will have to work at it.

  18. From the evidence of last night, the answer is very, very, very, very far away from Man U and Chelski and next season will be even more far away unless the players we have improve by at least 20% individually by next season. Chelsea fielded a very, very much weakened team and were down to 10 men and yet we were so lucky to avoid defeat depending upon our defenders (Gallas and Eboue) for our best goal chances from free play. Chelsea played with a spirit that I’ve not seen in an Arsenal side since the days of Tony Adams and Martin Keown. Only Cesc and Toure showed anything close to the kind of heart and bottle needed to win anything let alone an EPL Championship. Soon, they will lose this heart when they realise their ambitions are not matched by their team-mates. Ade, Craptista and Alex Crap were really, really crap last night and inexplicably, AW makes another baffling substitution, removing one of our better players, Diaby and putting Crap on which “coincidentally” led to our performances get even worse and gifting Chelsea with their equaliser. AW has two masters degrees but he should really try very hard to get one in the field of good football tactics & strategies. Perhaps Benitez and Mourinho can be the professors for such a degree.

  19. I dont think we are that behind them. Henry and Van Persie are two big players for us. Diaby has to play with more discipline, I think he can be as good as Mikele if not better! We have no one as good as Essien though. We have too many similar players, Chelsea dont have. I think we need to sort that in the summer. Gallas Toure, Cesc Denilson, Hleb Rosicky.

  20. did we not do the double over man u. chelsea playing for the title and us fpr pride not the same at all. we have played most of the season with no real goal scorers rvp scored 14 befor he got crocked and henry about the same. our problem this year has been new ground bad so bad start. lots of injerys, bad spell when we lost the carling cup.

    we have even started to look dangerous from crosses………

  21. Id say we just need more expereince, we need a world class striker to replace Baptista (hopefully) and we need a combatative midfielder with experience. I dnt think the defence has played together long enough I think they will get it together soon enough and its better that we have that natural progression, I dnt think Senderos is a good idea we need somebody with more experience and he can look lost at times. I think we need a natural winger to compliment the squad on the left hand side I think Ribery could do this job well (Is he left sided?) Overall I think we need to tweak not overhaul wev done well on limited resources this season and we should continue the evoloution of the team, which is going well, we won our last title three seasons ago and have had succes in between, wev won the Fa Cup and goten to the final of the Champions League. We will get there.

  22. The chances of us loosing wouldv increased, what wouldv happened if Henry or even Van Persie were playing? The chances of us winning wouldve gone up significantly. They werent and we drew, we should look forward to next season and to trying to improve, which I think we will, we already apparently have a stand in for Lehmen ready to be signed and by all accounts he sounds good and at only 22 he could be exactly what we need plus he already has international and worldcup experience. I think this is a good start to our summer spending.

  23. Thierry and Robin will be back next season so I wouldn’t expect anything less than Baptista getting booted out of the door. I hate to say it but if Reyes returned that wouldn’t be a bad thing. Pires is gone, Freddie’s goalscoring days are over and with Hleb and Rosicky firing nothing but blanks then Reyes would make sense. At least he puts his foot in and he scores goals!

    Yesterday showed our lack of decent wide men and Reyes would add something to our squad I feel.

  24. I was looking at wikipedia and I typed in Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. Guess what? Arsenal have 13 League cups, Chelsea have 3, 2 from last season, Manchester 16 League cups. Well well well, I am a young Arsenal fan but I did not know that we have won so much trophies before. I thought maybe 9 or 8 but 13 League. Yeah Liverpool have 18. But my point is that Arsene might be looking at that record and that’s is what he wants to change.

    Chelsea and Manchester United have done well, and the talk of physical challenges against Arsenal is just rubbish talk. Arsenal are in a fantastic position. Remember the CC final, the players that were playing were very young and to be honest Arsene didn’t really have a choice, yes he promised that none of the senior players would play but for that final most of them were injured; Henry, Tomas, Clichy and RVP. Toure and Adebayor were also sent off.

    What I am saying is simple, Arsene doesn’t need too much changes and you know what a lot of players would struggle to get into our first team with all our players fit. Look at this:
    Eboue/Hoyte Gallas/Djourou Toure/Senderos Clichy/Traore
    Helb/Theo Cesc/Denilson Giberto/Diaby Tomas/Freddy
    Henry/Bendtner RVP/Adebayor

    My point is that next season which every player fit, Arsenal should win at least one major trophies. We need our kep players fit throughout the whole season Lehmann, Eboue, Toure, Clichy, Cesc, RVP, Henry, and Tomas. Strange at it may seem these are our best players, and that it what is so good about Arsenal.

    The area we need to address is taking our chances. I see Arsene making a maximum signing of 3 players; one winger, one striker and the third is anyone’s guess. Also don’t except any big signings.

    We will do the treble if majority of the squad are fit. Two to three weeks injury is okay but most of the injuries to our players these season has being long term.

    Arsenal 4 Life….

  25. If Reyes comes back, he will get welcomed like an hero. We have missed him. I don’t think a single person would complain, but it is in Reyes hands. Reyes come back. If he came back, he would go back to my best of our best players. Diaby and Gallas are close to that but not in.

    Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyes Reyesvvvvv

  26. Robert says……’Pires is gone, Freddie’s goalscoring days are over and with Hleb and Rosicky firing nothing but blanks then Reyes would make sense. At least he puts his foot in and he scores goals!’

    I’m afraid Robert the stats suggest otherwise :
    Rosicky this season : 37 apps (incl as sub.) 6 goals
    Reyes last saeason : 44 apps (incl as sub) 6 goals

    Though I agree a left-footed wide player is a priority for next season bringing Reyes back would achieve nothing. He doesn’t want to be in England & underachieved consistently in his time at the club. Technically gifted but not enough going on in the brains department for him to be a top-class player. If Rosicky stays fit next season he’s twice the player Reyes is.

  27. Personally I think Reyes would have shined at the Emirates this season, with the bigger pitch and having much more space to take on defenders.

    We need someone like Ronaldo, Robben or Joe Cole – someone who will take on defenders and create space. Too many times Arsenal attack and it’s far too congested and inevitably the attack breaks down.

    Hleb, Rosicky and Freddie don’t beat players and for some reason don’t seem to have that blistering pace that Henry, Pires and Reyes had.

    How many times have you seen an Arsenal winger burst past the last defender and run in on goal?


  28. How many times did you see Reyes burst past the last defender and run in on goal then Robert ? If it’s more than a handful then we’re not talking about the same player.
    I’m not arguing with you mate on the type of player needed; just that Reyes clearly isn’t the answer. He constantly looked like he might do it but just never quite did.I thought in his first few months he would be sensational but he isn’t I’m afraid.

  29. When Reyes first arrived he was sensational, and helped us finish the season unbeaten – and the season after that he was brilliant, scoring about 8/9 goals in the opening 15 games. But then Old Trafford happened and unfortunately he has never been the same since.

    Reyes probably isn’t the answer, since it’s clear that Henry just doesn’t like him. But I would say he would have contributed more to this season than Freddie, Rosicky and Hleb.

    The difference between Reyes and the other 3 (Hleb, Rosicky & Freddie) is that Reyes is much younger and more likely to do it in the long term but the others are 26 plus. Hleb just doesn’t look like he’s going to cut it and Freddie is reaching the end of his career. Rosicky I’m not sure about and will probably need next season to show what he’s actually capable of.

  30. Just think a little. Our two best strikers inc. our best players were injured half of a season.
    What a fuck would Chelski do without Drogba and Schevchenko or Man Usa without C. Ronaldo and Rooney?

  31. Anon 1 makes a great stat that we have obtained 45 points since Dec 2 comparable to the top two and this without our two main strikers. How many points would we have gained with TH and RVP been fully fit. Glo your barking mad about Reyes he doesnt want to play for us so why do you want that little s..t back. Admittedly he makes a better contribution than The Beast but thats not saying very much. Forget about him lets hope Arsene goes out and buys a winger who will be totally committed to the club and not moaning all the time about english food and the weather

  32. I just dont get how people can lump Rosicky/Hleb together.One is a proven top-class player (great feet,clever passer,superb work-rate) who (when fit) has been excellent for us in his first season.(though admittedly his finishing’s been poor at times) He will score 12-15 next season.
    Hleb is just utterly useless. There is no question of him being good enough.Ever.

  33. I’m probably in the minority here but I like Hleb and think he’s a good addition to the squad, and more importantly I think Wenger rates him too. The problem with him is that he misses Henry and Van Persie to finish off his moves – those two will score goals and more importantly make those runs for Hleb to pick out. In comparison Baptista and Ade just don’t have that movement around the box.

    Hleb was good for us last season and especially in Europe, linking well with Fab and Henry. He’s one of the few players who is willing to hold onto the ball and take on a defender instead of doing those stupid and quite frankly useless passing triangles half the team are obsessed with.

    Remember the game against Reading away? Hleb, Van Persie and Henry were devastating together and totally dominated Reading. And I’m sure if Anon 1 looks into it he’ll find Hleb’s probably got one of the highest assist rates in our squad.

  34. Buying new players may be academic anyway. If you were a top player the first question you’d ask (after how much do I get?) would be, “Are you staying at Arsenal Arsene?”. Wenger hasn’t committed himself to the club beyond next season. Why would anyone decent join in those circumstances.
    Fergie has just declared he wants to stay at Utd for “years yet”, has already given his American owners a list of the three players he wants and expects them to cough up. Arsene needs to make the same commitment to Arsenal and demand the funds to do the job. Even young players aren’t going to come if Wenger is going to be gone within a year. Arsene has left renewing his own contract late before but this time the Dein backdrop creates significantly greater uncertainty.

  35. ” what would …Chelsea do without Drogba or Man USA without Ronaldo and Rooney?'”

    I am guessing that neither would finish 21 points behind the leaders with one game to go. If you don’t think 20 point differentials in successive seasons is huge disparity then you just may be in the same position again next year. i.e cheering a 1-1 in the last home game with nothing to play for.

  36. Arsenal are never going to win anything with the likes of Adebayor and Baptista leading the front line. If henry or van-persie get injured next year we can not rely on the likes of Adebayor to step up – He is just not a top premiership striker and in my opiion is only slightly better than Baptista.

    Arsene has to spend big on a top class proven striker and a winger who can get 10-12 goals a season if we are to have any chance next year.

  37. “What would Chelski do without Drogba and Schevchenko or Man Usa without C. Ronaldo and Rooney?”

    James is spot on – they wouldn’t be 20 points behind that’s for sure like we are!

    And the sad fact is Man United won the league without a proper centre-forward! Saha has been out for most of the season and you can hardly call Rooney a centre-forward can you? His role is behind the striker and even an old Ryan Giggs has been playing there!

  38. we r not far behind dem..we can beat any1 on the day..but we dont shoot enough n dont take our chances…if we wonna challenge 4 da tittle nxt season n keep henry den we gotta do it


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