Monday, 30 November 2009

Outfought and outplayed: Chelsea deservedly beat Arsenal. Match report

If any confirmation were needed that the media dislike Arsenal, it came in the paucity of articles praising Chelsea and the plethora of articles criticising Arsenal.

Sure, Arsenal weren't brilliant but give credit where credit's due. Though I hate to say it, both ex-Arsenal boys were excellent - Anelka was immense - Drogba truly is a great striker and the Chelsea centre-backs didn't miss a ball all day long.

The criticism of Arsenal, can equally be presented as praise for Chelsea. There's no doubting we failed to test the Chelsea goal but this was for the most part down to good Chelsea defending.

Alas, this is very rose-tinted.


Put simply, we were dreadful. The manager complained post-match that "we used a lot of energy making the game" but he was wrong. We may have used a lot of energy, but it didn't make a game. There was no threat to the Chelsea goal despite our possession.

The sum of all our first-half play was one scuffed shot by Samir Nasri.

The evidence for the chasm between the teams came in the paucity of crossing from the team in red. This was all the more galling for we seemed to have finally learnt our lesson from many a match against Chelsea: the crowd were wrong to scream 'shoot' because we're not going to beat Petr Cech from 25 yards - we've proved that over five years.

But this meant the crossing had to be good. It wasn't. It was dreadful. It's true our team was small, but the bigger problem (no pun intended) was that every cross was in the middle with three six footers to head it out. Cross deep to Arshavin and it might have been a different story.

This was why it was unbelievable that Wenger brought Walcott on at half-time. In all seriousness, the reason there was no blog about the Liege match was because it was a pretty routine victory apart from the Walcott horror show in the last twenty minutes.

The boy is hopeless. It's got to the point where anger has turned to pity. At one point yesterday, he got to the byline and turned towards the corner flag. Yes, seriously. Often, there are nuances to the argument about a player but he's been playing for us for well over three years now. Let me go on the record: Theo Walcott is useless.

His crossing is even worse than other players. It's been noted time and again and surely, something has to be done about it now. The contrast with (and it hurts me to say this) Cashley was immense: the reason we trailed at the break was because of two good crosses by Cashley. Our failure to provide any, despite dominating the play, was the reason for our defeat.

But bringing Walcott on at half-time was even more unbelievable because Wenger took our best player on the day - Alex Song - off. Song and Fabregas were dominating the midfield despite the scoreline and it didn't help us to leave Cesc isolated.

There's no doubting that in part the defeat was down to poor refereeing. I felt the goal should have stood and then it would have been a very different game. But it's impossible to escape from the fact that despite dominating the posession but for the last ten minutes, we failed to force Cech into a save.

Playing like that, the Premier League is a distant dream.

We now have a massive month coming up if we are to re-ignite a title challenge. Nay, a massive month regardless: a poor month and our spot in the Champions League is under threat.

There's no doubting we have the quality to beat the big teams. Now we need to prove it: Adebayor, we're coming to get you.

Keep the faith,
Adam

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

keep the faith.....is this a joke...dude get a life...