Monday, 4 October 2010

11 conclusions from Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0

Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0

1) Three times Arsenal have played in midweek this season. Three times Arsenal have won in midweek this season. And three times Arsenal have then failed to win on the subsequent weekend. At risk of appearing contrary, perhaps the reason Arsenal's best chance is in the cups is that they play better under floodlights?

2) The last time Arsenal beat Chelsea was a 2-1 win against a Blues side managed by Felipe Scolari. One of the reasons he was derided as clueless was his introduction of Miroslav Stoch, an unproven teenager, to try and turn the game around when they were behind. He was portrayed by the media as an idiot. Arsene Wenger's second substitution with ten minutes to go? The introduction of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, a man who had never played in the Premier League before. Go figure.

3) Occasionally you have to say 'too good'. Arshavin has scored brilliant goals against United and Liverpool, among others, in his time at Arsenal. In the 25th minute, with the score 0-0, he curled one towards the top-right hand corner which would have beaten any other goalkeeper in England. Hey, it probably would have beaten any other goalkeeper in the world. But Petr Cech made a world-class save with his finger-tips. At 1-0 it would have been a very different game. But perhaps more interestingly, the media (Sky) always remark after a Drogba goal that Wenger once had the chance to sign him; what they don't say is how close we came to signing Petr Cech. If we hadn't been outbid for him, I reckon the recent history of Arsenal would be very different.

4) With this number of players out injured, Arsene Wenger's selection dilemma in a nutshell: Jack Wilshere is a better holding midfield player than Abou Diaby but he is even better further forward. For me though, the mystery was this: why no Denilson?

5) There was a horrible symmetry to the match: it took Chelsea roughly forty minutes to score in each half. I don't know if this is interesting in of itself, but for my money the goals were counter-attacking sucker punches. Sure, Chelsea had a few other chances on the break. But by and large that means Arsenal were making the play for eighty minutes. And yet we didn't have the craft, guile, or penetration to score once. No wonder we usually lose to Chelsea.

6) How refreshing for Arsenal to lose and the goalkeeper not to be at fault. It allows some real cirucmspection and to work out where we're really going wrong.

7) Arsene Wenger must really not rate Carlos Vela. With his team trailing, and with only one striker on the pitch, he brought on Rosicky and JET ahead of him. One thing's for sure: if Bendtner had been on the bench, he'd have been the first sub. Or maybe it was just that he didn't think Vela could chip Cech...

8) It's been four years. Let's admit we got the worst of the Cashley-Gallas deal.

9) Ramires played well and I have no qualms about saying so. But the myth about Abramovich tightening the purse strings is just that. Arsenal's 'new' midfield player this season: 18 year old Jack Wilshere, cost free. Chelsea's new midfield player this season: 23 year old Ramires, cost 22 million Euros. As I'm wont to say a little too often, go figure.

10) Earlier today, I was trumpeting that I had unearthed some brilliant stats which were a lot more illuminating than Drogba's scoring record against Arsenal. And these are they: since the move to the new stadium, we've played Chelsea nine times in the League. With Van Persie in the team, it's played five, won two, drawn one, lost two - an even record. Without him, it's drawn one and lost four. If he wasn't permanently crocked, Van Persie is arguably even more of a player than Drogba.

11) Final word to Carlo Ancelotti, who had this to say after we lost by the same scoreline in February:
"Maybe Arsenal had more possession than us but that is not football. Football is about results".
It may have been a better performance, but how much has really changed?

Keep the faith.

No comments: