Chelsea 1-2 Arsenal
Arsenal travelled to Chelsea with the world on our backs, another defeat and it would be the end of Arsenal’s small title hopes. Three players returned for the clash, Sagna, Nasri and Adebayor, but more significantly, Djourou was chosen ahead of Silvestre by Wenger for his speed and height.
The game started with Chelsea fastest out of the blocks, Arsenal took ten minutes to settle down and had the best chance of the early exchanges when Cech parried van Persie’s shot and the rebound evaded former Chelsea star, Gallas. Though Arsenal stated to play some good football, there were obvious weaknesses in midfield with neither Song nor Denilson offering much in either attack or defence.
Chelsea took the lead in the most unfortunate of manners, Almunia dealt well with a corner. Instead of waiting for his players to get into position, he rushed a throw out to Nasri, which never reached him. Chelsea attacked down Arsenal’s left flank and Clichy made a half-hearted effort to stop the cross, the ball came across that Arsenal box and Djourou hit it into his own goal. Chelsea were buzzing and Arsenal were relieved to hear the half-time whistle.
The commentators were writing Arsenal’s obituary in the second half as Chelsea had not conceded a goal in the league in the second half all season. Instead of going for the jugular, Chelsea were playing within themselves, then suddenly Denilson found van Persie, who was a clear metre offside, but he did not wait for decision, he fired the ball past Cech for Arsenal’s equaliser. Arsenal soon hit Chelsea again, a free kick was headed down by Adebayor to van Persie who turned and slotted the ball past Cech for Arsenal’s second.
Chelsea had not fight in them and Arsenal defended and fought well to preserve their lead. Arsenal could have added a third at the end, but Denilson’s first touch let him down.
Arsenal won 2-1, three points closer to the leaders, but as with the Manchester United result, the next game is more important than yesterdays. If Arsenal want to be considered as title contenders they need to beat Wigan on Saturday and then go away to Middlesbrough and pick up three points. Beating the big boys and then falling at the next hurdle are not the hallmarks of a title contender.