Nov 302009

Arsenal 0 Chelsea 3 (Drogba 41, 86, Vermaelen og 45)

I was genuinely optimistic before yesterday’s game. I had a real feeling that the players knew how important it was, knew how much a win would convince everyone that we were really in with a chance of lifting the Premiership this season, despite the injuries.

And in a way, I was right – they did appreciate the significance of the game. They certainly went for it, throwing everything they had at Chelsea in an attempt to overwhelm them. The only trouble was that it wasn’t even close to being good enough. Chelsea packed their box, happy to give us the ball in wide positions in the knowledge that crosses would be useless with such a tiny front line, and crowded us out. Despite the bulk of the possession and some excellent football in the middle of the park, Cech was untroubled all day long.

In midfield, we were decent enough. Song was snapping away, Denilson, Cesc and Nasri were finding small pockets of space, but everywhere outside the central third, it went badly wrong. Eduardo’s touch was off, Vela too easily brushed off the ball when he came on. Arshavin had moments but his final ball was poor. And at the other end, Drogba picked up where he left off against us, making Vermaelen look distinctly uncomfortable for the first time this season.

With Traore picked at left back, Nasri and Arshavin switched flanks, so that Nasri could help the young full back in a way Arshavin would not. But Chelsea simply turned their attention to the other wing, Ashley Cole defying the boos by setting up the opening two goals. The first was well worked, crossing for Drogba to sidefoot home, but the second was poor from a defensive point of view – Nasri allowing Cole too much time, Gallas missing the ball, and Vermaelen slicing in with Almunia in no mans land. It was a horrible goal and a horrible moment.

From there, the task was monumental. But we went for it, Walcott replacing Song at half time in a move that could easily have led to a five goal pasting. Walcott at least pinned Cole back, preventing any more danger down that side, but Cole’s work was already done, and while Walcott’s pace was dangerous, his end product was not.

We had a goal disallowed, but unlike many I actually think the referee got it right. Cech was in the process of catching the ball when Eduardo nicked it away from him. At the other end we would have screamed for a free kick.

Drogba put the icing on Chelsea’s cake, firing a free kick into the corner Almunia was supposed to be covering at the end. The keeper really should have done better, and certainly didn’t impose himself on the game as a man of his experience should.

It is very difficult to take any positives from a game like this. We played with a good intensity, never gave up, and had more of the possession. But despite that, we were completely and utterly outclassed, which is a painful thing to hear, let alone say.

However, a result like yesterday’s makes it easy to forget everything that came before – the goals from all parts of midfield and the improved performances of some of our players. We must not write the team off simply because Chelsea are in another league right now (and they are). Doing so would be counterproductive, and I’ve already seen the ‘Wenger out’ brigade rearing their heads again. However, there are issues to resolve. Eduardo needs a run of games to get his confidence back – for such a cool customer he looks completely devoid of belief right now. Similarly, Vela looks very raw.

At the back, there are still question marks over Almunia, while the lack of cover for Song is a persistent worry.

But January is a month away, and Wenger is usually loathed to sign players to c0ver injuries – he takes a much longer term view than that. In this instance, that may not be wise – without any physical presence a team as good and as powerful as Chelsea will always overrun us. That isn’t to say other teams will – Chelsea needed to be organised to keep a clean sheet yesterday, but it is still a concern.

We were handed a footballing lesson yesterday, and it was a painful one. What counts now is how we respond. Look at Wigan – bouncing back with a win after a 9-1 hammering. We cannot afford to wallow.

  10 Responses to “Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea: Not many positives to take from this one”

  1. There are 3 positives to get out of this massive disappointment: 1)Thanks to the injury to RvP Wenger will have to dip into the transfer market in january for a striker as well as a CDM. As much as I’d like to see him buy a CB and/or keeper as well-a striker and defensive middy will have to do. 2)The last time Arsenal lost 2 games in a row they went on an unbeaten run of 16-0 (don’t quote me) in all competitions. So hopefully they can repeat that or do better. 3)Now Arsene as well as the players see the gap within the top tier clubs. Arsenal were a bit unlucky on sunday with the own goal and the disallowed goal it could easily have been 2-1 to the Blues. Now they see how hard they must work and continue to progress in order to gain honors this term. Nothing will be given to them, they must FIGHT for their chance to be CHAMPIONS again.

  2. This is exactly what many have been saying, there is a need for a physical striker. That is the trick in chelsea. Their players have no special skills but possess a lot of strength and are very physical. There is the need to sign a few very physical players. This is the trend in EPL and same reason why we lost to sunderland. As long as the manager keep refusing to sign such players, we can never beat a team like chelsea.

  3. I’m a Chelsea fan and have (and of course enjoyed) many similar hair-shirt articles by Arsenal fans. I understand that you feel you were shown up, outclassed etc, but there does seem to be an overreaction. We Blues fans knew yesterday would happen just like it did: the physical and tactical gulf was well-flagged.
    I really think the reason that you are all so distraught it that your manager has produced over the last few years a yawning chasm between the presentation of his vanity project and the reality. The reality was yesterday.
    We know Chelsea will lose one or two more games. But our team spirit, strategy (including spending money) and tactics are all rooted in reality. We are realistic, not deluded.
    Wenger, as his ludicrous post-match performance betrayed, has lost touch with that grounding.

  4. A lot of truth in all 3 comments. Afraid I have to agree with Foulke here. Chelsea were strategically superior yesterday. Odu pointed out exactly why! Chelsea have a team that is ‘physically’ very strong, but it is a team with a balanced level of quality in all departments. Arsenal do not have that. The first comment talked about ‘fight’. I am afraid Arsenal do not have enough of that either!
    I like Arsene’s football, but for him to try to say that Arsenal were not outplayed yesterday is unrealistic. 0-3 is clear proof of that. He would do better to congratulate the Chelsea team and fans on a ‘terrific’team performance spearheaded by a great center forward. Nothing more to say!!!
    Wenger is right, Arsenal stuck with them for 40 minutes. But the task of maintaining that level of performance in all 3 departments for 90 minutes was too hard for them. No use dominating midfield when you are 2 down and in the second half! Unless you score 3!!!
    Watching the game really gave you the feeling of the men against the boys unfortunately.
    Arsenal failed to protect the right flank at the end of the first half and that is where they were undone.
    Not sure where they go from here!!!
    Well done Chelsea. They look like championship quality so far, good luck to them

  5. I have to agree with the comments, thanks for the feedback.

    I do think we have sufficient fight, but the physical lack of presence yesterday made that effort seem lightweight. Can’t fault them for effort, but each player was giving 2-3 inches away to their direct opponent.

    I’m sure Wenger is well aware of the gulf, but like many top managers, won’t admit it publicly. I’m sure he’s had plenty to say privately though. The post-match conference was a classic attempt to deflect attention away from what was a painful defeat.

  6. I dont believe thats true about chelsea being better then us! the ONLY differance last night was drogba! we coped with them in midfield and if we had van persie back then it would have been a different story! remember last year when we won 2-1 with a van P double? they had the same team then and its not like they became stronger and we became weaker physically! eduardo had many chances to do sthn but didnt and a better striker or one in better form would have put away and changed the game! people forget that we had 2 starters out while chelsea only had a right back problem which theyve had all season so theyre used to it! plus players like rosicky nasri eduardo vela walcott and denilson have only recently came back from long term injuries and havnt hit top gear yet unlike chelsea who have basically had all their team fit for long periods of the season and their injured players before the game have only been out for a matter of a few weeks! if the roles wer reversed i assure you we would have eaten them alive!!

  7. I think it time to re frame our thinking. First we must deal with the December crisis. I hear We got a Simpson playing Ok in The championship. Maybe he ought to be recalled as a way to put out the fire. Wenger thinks Walcott will naturally become central attacker, Well he tried Henry when Anelka Left and look at what we discovered. So Walcott and Ashavin with Vela should be asked to replace Bendtner and RvP for the time being, as the Simpson Guy gets tried. Eduardo and Rosicky can Flank, then in the middle Nasri, Fab, Denilson can take charge with Song centre half. The Chelsea Defence can continue with Gallas and Verm told to show they are the men of the team. January, offload dudu and Bendtner. Get big, no nonsense, clinical tall and powerful finisher(s), get someone who can cause Song sleepless nights while away in Africa and sign a Utility Back player just in case a new injury happens there. We must put up a decent run from this weekend and go fore honours in the Champions League.

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  10. nikogunner, why would you offload Bendtner? Surely that’s shooting ourselves in the foot, bearing in mind he is now the only physical striker we have left for the season.

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