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is currently filling the Bergkamp and Vieira roles by himself – and a goalscoring midfielder like Pires just hasn’t been replaced by either Rosicky or Hleb.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.