Arsenal 0 – 3 Chelsea… At least November is over!

Arsenal 0 – 3 Chelsea

Ouch.

There is only one thing to say about yesterday’s game. Ouch. It was a nightmare of a game, and a massive statement from the opponents in regards to where the Premier League trophy will go at the end of the season. And for the 5th season running, it may not be the Emirates…

It was billed as the game that would define our season. Arsene went as far as to say it was our moment to show the world how far we had come. We could have closed the gap from 8 points to 5 points and have a game in hand. With our loss against Sunderland the previous week, yesterday’s game was very important not to drop points.

The good news before the game was that Gallas and Arshavin had both recovered from their mid-week knocks and were named in the starting line up, which in it’s entirity was:

Almunia

Sagna – Gallas – Vermalen – Traore

Denilson – Song

Arshavin – Cesc – Nasri

Eduardo

And on paper, that was some line up.

The game started very well for us, in the first fifteen minutes / half an hour, we looked like we were the only team in it. We had total possession, and our midfield passing the ball around the Chelsea team like they weren’t there. The major issue in the first half hour was the form of Eduardo who looked really out of sorts. His first touch was terrible. His decision making was too slow and I really don’t think he held up the ball once. He had several very good positions, but was very ineffective with his role.

When playing in a 4-3-3, the man at the top has to hold up the ball, and unfortunately for him and for us, Eduardo simply couldn’t keep possession. It’s the difference between the two players, Eduardo and Van Persie. VP has learnt the role well, he’s learnt how to play with his back to goal and how to bring people into the game and Eduardo simply doesn’t have that in his locker. Not yet. Don’t get me wrong, Eddie is a class player, a goal scorer – but he isn’t match fit or mentally match fit either yet. I do expect him to improve as he has more time in the team – if you remember Van Persie at the beginning of the season, it did take him 4 or 5 games to really kick into gear.

Unfortunately for us, the game against Chelsea was a game too early for Eduardo. When we had our possession, I turned to my good friend Bob and said “if we don’t score now, they’ll hit us for a sucker punch” and after saying it I started wishing that the team would prove me wrong.

It wasn’t to be, and by half time, we were 2-0 down. It was shocking. It was like we wanted it so much, so much… that we lost our positional discipline and 2 goals just before half time, via two crosses put us in a very bad position. The first came from bad positioning, and an overloaded right back area which saw Ashley Cole swing in a cross for Drogba to bundle in and moments later, the same player, same cross and this time Vermaelen bundled in an own goal.

0-0 at 40 minutes and then 2-0 down at half time is painful especially when Chelsea had done nothing to deserve the lead. It was more a case of self inflected than it was anything else and we always seem to do things like this in big games, remember United earlier this season? 1-0 up, an own goal and a penalty? Exactly.

We put Walcott on for Song at half time – and went more attacking. We seemed to have a different tactic for the second half which seemed to involve crossing the ball more – the only problem being we would never really beat Chelsea in the air, so not really a wise tactic. We saw Vela come on for Eduardo and Rosicky for Nasri, but much of the same, and no end product. No real goals threats. Well, except the disallowed goal, which was disallowed because Eddie challenged Cech…? Hmm, exactly. Watching the replay I could see why it was disallowed, but from where I was sitting, it really did feel like the ref was on their side totally. But having spoken to other people, apparently he was as biased as I thought he was.

Arsene thought otherwise, he had a dig at the ref (we’ll touch on that in a minute). As the game continued, we went forward and forward and started leaving holes at the back. Chelsea started to have more possession and a free kick on the edge of the area was dispatched by Drogba to make it 3-0. Painful and annoying. The title is a fair distance away now, 11 points is a lot. Chelsea were efficient but I do think the 3-0 was fortunate and very flattering.

Let’s hear from Arsene…

On the score as a reflection of the game…

“The score is a very unfair reflection of the game, but it is the score and we cannot change it now. I believe that Chelsea had absolutely everything for them today and we can only deal with that now and respond in our next game. Because first shot on goal, they scored. Second cross, they score. And after it was difficult. After, it was a turning point by the referee that I personally believe is not a serious decision. Very unfair. How can he see Eduardo kicking Cech when it was a Chelsea player who stops him from controlling the ball? The 2-1 was a very important goal in this kind of game, and that was a big mistake by the referee.”

On the opinions of the TV specialists…

“I am used to definite conclusions from people who see the score and have great knowledge. But I believe, let people talk and let’s play tomorrow and go back to training and practice. And that’s always what you get in an excessive world. I personally believe from what I’ve seen, that was not the case. I never had the impression that we could not win this game we were quite on top for a lot of the game.”

On Chelsea’s physical strength…

“They are strong players, yes, physically strong players. But that is an impression as well. When a team is 2-0 up and just defending their half and play is on the break, it’s too easy to have that impression. I don’t share that point of view. I think they lost many balls today, where we couldn’t take advantage and made many technical mistakes where we couldn’t take advantage, and that has nothing to do with the physical impact of the game.”

On Chelsea’s title chances…

“I believe at the moment they are in a very strong position, but this team, for me, they can drop points. I’m convinced of that. That’s an impression I have.”

On Chelsea’s 11-point lead over Arsenal…

“Yeah, we are 11 points behind Chelsea. At the moment our title chase has gotten a big blow. Before we speak about ‘title’, we have to win games and you could see that the damage done at Sunderland was deeper, confidence-wise, than it should have been.”

On his impressions of how Arsenal played…

“If you come on Tuesday, I will give you an analysis of the game, physically, technically, and you will be surprised. But I cannot stop you from having your own conclusions. Because when Drogba pushes one away or Ivanovic makes three fouls and pushes people away against Villa, he looks much stronger. But you would be surprised if you see the final analysis of the game, they have an advantage in the impact, but that didn’t make them win the game today. In the play today, you will see them 60 percent behind the ball, and that has nothing to do with physical impact.”

On the potential penalty for Carlos Vela…

“I don’t know. On the penalty I think it was at least a foul on the edge of the box. If he gives a foul to Drogba when he scored, he cannot say it was not a foul on Vela. I just think that on the goal, he made a massive mistake, because you cannot say that one of our players kicked the ball out the hands of Cech. That means he has seen it, or he has not seen it. He can’t be wrong on the foul, but you cannot say to me that he saw Eduardo kicking the ball out of Cech when it’s not true. You see in the replay that Eduardo doesn’t even intervene. [The referee said] dangerous play, Eduardo kicked the ball out of Cech’s hand. ”

On the referee’s match experience…

“I do not want to talk too much about the referee. I think we make mistakes, and I just think the referee got the turning point of a game wrong. When you start a game in the second half and you are 2-1 instead of 2-0, it’s psychologically different. And he got that decision wrong. That does not mean that we don’t need to look at ourselves and ask why we conceded the goals.”

On possibly buying players in January…

“I believe I would rather have all of our players back. I am not in a mood tonight to say straight away after the game that I would buy players. We have to deal with the disappointment, and respond to that massive disappointment we had today and try to win our next game. It’s as simple as that.”

On Didier Drogba’s performances against Arsenal…

“He’s a good player. It’s funny because he doesn’t do a lot, but he’s efficient in what he does. You would be surprised by the number of balls he touched today. Jimmy Greaves was a great player, you still remember him. And Drogba is a great player, nobody can deny that. He’s very efficient. I think as well, at the moment he’s in a period where he kicks the ball and it goes in because you cannot tell me he wanted to kick the ball where he kicked the ball on the cross. He’s a good free-kick taker, but on the first goal, at the moment he has complete confidence and he doesn’t wonder ‘will I score or not?’. He just goes for it and he did very well. It’s a great goal, the first one, but it’s a goal of a striker in complete confidence.”

On Chelsea taking three points at Emirates Stadium…

“I feel today that the initiative they had to go home with 3-0… it’s well paid.”

On the idea that the title race is over…

“I do not think it’s over. I think we are fighters and we have to show that in the next game. The problem we have at the moment that we face is that people will not believe in us, so we have to make sure that lack of belief does not diminish our belief. And that’s where we have to be mentally stronger than we were until now. Because until now, we had some credit that we earned at the start of the season from the specialists, and then we a lose a game. And now it will be harder.”

Personally, we’ve got a decent defence, a decent midfield, but from this time last season, we’re without the departed Adebayor and the injured Bendtner, Van Persie and Diaby and that means we lack height. The players we are playing are all lacking match practice – Denilson, Walcott, Nasri, Rosicky, Eduardo and Vela haven’t played for ages and need games to get fitness. We can recover, but it’s a tough one. I kind of feel that I write a similar article at the end of each November, but it looks like it’s down to the 3 cups if we’re going to win a trophy this season.

And that starts with Man City away on Wednesday in the Carling Cup, which will see our youngsters take on the mighty Man City. We’ll see how many competitions we are in on Thursday, as it will be a tough game for the kids. In the FA Cup we’ve got West Ham away – which is arguably the hardest of all the third rounders….

Okay, time to think positively….

Actually, I’ll start tomorrow. Til then.

  • Debs

    Yeah, thank God November is gone. It’s just so unfortunate that it took arguably our most important player with it (until May when the season’s probably done and dusted). I hope it’s the end of our bad luck with injuries though…

  • Leeroy.N2

    It is a very unlucky month for us. Here’s to better days and for the Young Gunners to do us proud. Come on you Gunners!!!

  • Fabrez

    New month, new beginning! I avoided critising Edu and Vela bcuz they weren’t the reason we lost…granted in retrospect I think they would both be a bit personally let down by their own performances. Hmm…will Edu learn that role as quickly as RvP did? We’ll have to wait and see. Hope he does it even sooner!

  • Berth

    dev spot on on Edus form but i dont particularly agree with Wengers ranting of poor refreeing. And of Drogba, i feel its rather of fear on our part that he always gets the better of us.. The own goal shows how scared we were of Drogs. Even at that my major worry was not Edu or Vela or Drogba. My concern was on Arshavin and his form.

  • vj

    man we really need to buy someone eddie is really bad, we needa a big striker eddie cant play on his qwn up there, also arshavin was poor there still seems to be a sesnse to saddness and dissapointment in his play he needs to bulk up and concentrate on helping us now there needs to be a rally call this week especially from cesc, hopefully our youngsters can do it against city, wenger forgot to mention our game in hand, so 8 points off, that is easily recoveralble, we need to concentrate now and string f to six more wins again

  • zizou

    This may not be the time to let the team down..But the team surely let the fans down….hope they will recover soon and still there will be something to hope for from the season..

  • Berth

    Lets try 4-4-2 with Edu and B25 when he returns; seems the best bet for a win a potential way for Edu to recover his form hopefully.

  • Sam

    It’s not a good sign when we can’t score in 2 straight EPL games. I’m afraid December may be as tough as November, starting with Man City (who beat us with our regular 11), Stoke (remember last year?) & a partly-rejuvinated Liverpool.

  • Damn_Gallas

    The following is taken from a match report in the Timesonline.co.uk today.It’s only part of the report , just a part I felt was especially relevant , but it’s an excellent report and has lots more of the same .
    To any impartial observer the impression of men against boys was irresistible. Wenger said that we will be surprised when he produces his physical and technical analysis of the game, but for now consider the following statistics: the average age of the Arsenal starting line-up was 25 years, five months — three years younger than Chelsea; the average height of the Arsenal team was one metre 73 centimetres (5ft 8in), 5 centimetres shorter than Chelsea; the average weight of the Arsenal team was 73 kilograms, 10kg lighter than Chelsea.

    None of this would be relevant if the statistics were not backed up by the evidence on the pitch
    but when it comes down to matches such as this, a powerful, aggressive, experienced team are more likely to be flattered by the result than an inexperienced, lightweight team. It really is no coincidence.
    Oh that Arsene would read it and think – but we know he won’t , don’t we ?

  • fredric

    So pissed off with it I’m not even sure I should be writing here !
    Wenger knows what it takes to win what is arguably the toughest league in the world – because he’s already won it ! It can’t have escaped his attention that he didn’t win it with kids and midgets – however skillful they are. Where is the “bite” at the back , the “steel” in the middle and the “triggerman” up front? Where is the height and the muscle ? It’s not at Arsenal folks .Just one example – how is it that Robert Pires is still playing top class football at Villa Real, what , 4 years , after Arsene would only offer him a 1 year contract ?
    Why was there no interest in Shay Given , at 7 million , when he was on offer – definitely one of the 2 best keepers in the Premier League ? Given is a bully in goal ,the bully we haven’t got , forever shouting and encouraging his team and marshalling his defence . He’s also a superb shot stopper .Why do these things pass Wenger by ? Because he’s indulging his dream , trying to win the league or Champions League , with a bunch of kids . If he wants to play fantasy football there’s plenty of national dailies out there who run that sort of competition – but he needs to wake up and smell the coffee folks , because he’s playing with the fans money and , worse still , the fans expectations and emotions . He has a duty to the gooners – not his own dreams .I have been one of his biggest fans but it’s slipping away bit by bit . He’s in danger of destroying his own reputation too because it’s going on 5 years since we put anything in the trophy cabinet and thats too long .He needs to ask himself how many trophy winning teams Fergie (spit) has built at ManU in the last 20 odd years and how he has built them . He’s bought experience and blended it with a sprinkling of youth ,that’s how !And it’s worked .Wengers new way , and it is a new way , isn’t working and he needs to have big enough balls to admit that and see the reality of the situation .

  • Kuka

    …we can sit and talk tactics, criticize players and even possible buy new ones. I am not sure that will change the fact that Chelsea outplayed us. I fear that we as Arsenal are getting into this habit of not giving credit to our opponents even when we know deep down that they did us in. In a away, we then become bitter-loosers to a game. I just wish that we starting with Wenger would pay credit to a team that played really well, came with a game plan and it worked. Blaming the ref, saying that Drogba did not do much and also arguing that the result does not reflect the game is shameful. Not shameful on Chelsea, but shameful on Arsenal.

  • Yemi

    I do not agree with u kuka, chelseaa did not bring much to the gam BUT they did what had to be done. We played, they scored. We were physically outplayed (hieght and strenght), Our problem wa that we were not taking chances. No shots form outside the box. It would and was difficult driving in to a defense that had terry, carvalho. It is also true that drog did not do much. How many times did he actually touch the ball? But he did what had to be done. SHOOT into the F..king net. while we were trying to drive in. Minimal number of shots from our attackers. We played better but we NEVER looked dangerous.

  • Kuka

    @ Yemi – We are offcourse entitled our opinions, but I would never even for once state that we deserved to win the game last evening. We did deserve to win the game at Old Trafford and probably deserved a draw at Man City – but yestarday…..NO WE DID NOT. Chelsea came with a plan (whatever plan it was), and it worked. They shook us off the ball, had their players do what they came to do on the pitch and won the game. Other than Vam’s own goal – which was sheer bad luck – the other two goals were top-top class. All am saying is, let us learn to give worthy opponents credit. It will probably make us reflect on our mistakes better. Otherwise, we walk away thinking we lost because of luck, fate and the referee – which is no where close to the truth —-

  • kodjo

    Rehash from my earlier comments…

    We have to accept that we got beaten by a better team with the right tactics. it also didnt help missing our top strikers. all in all wenger has lessons to learn ..he has built this team and there are obviuos dificiencies with this team when it comes to playing certain teams…wenger has to find the right personnnel especially for such a long season.

    remember when we played spurs redknapp setup his team the same way as chelsea putting 10 men behind the ball… man utd also adopted the same tactic when we played them difference is that terry and cavalho did not make the mistakes that bassong and co made…then again you could argue that our top strikers were available and hurried them into those mistakes hence the2 quick goals…in yesterdays match the roles were reversed..conceding 2 goals before half time…i can bet you that the blue print for playing arsenal has been laid out by man utd, teams that have powerful athletic players will always sit back flood the midfield with 5 players which is not new in itself …what has changed is that these teams will counter attack us on either wing or diagonally across the field with 3 players all the time see drogba, anelka & lampard

    with man utd see giggs, rooney & valencia…speedy players (partly accounts for rooneys penalty against us)though almuna was so daft that he got drawn into commiting the foul

    unfortunately for spurs they had crouch, keane & jenas not exactly the kind of players to make that tactic work albeit spurs varied it with the long ball to crouch and then jenas or keane could strike from range…this tactic worked last seaon in the 4-4 drawn game

    i thougth prior to conceding the goals if arsenal had an out and out striker we could have nicked a goal…Edu’s first touch was so bad …that the split advantage we had in the final third just vanished as soon as he touched the ball

    Moving forward…

    i hope wenger is listening to me…put your money where it belongs…take a gamble on carlton cole…he is the only striker in the league who can make a difference in our team

    the players have to learn to play the game with grit and with simplicity …there are a lot of teams that we can pass off the park but when it comes to other teams the players have to take collective and individual responsibility to vary the game…i saw countless times when theo could have played a pass quick and simple…and vela on the attack could have been direct…its time to take a look at jay simpson…the no frills and direct approach is critical in games such yesterday’s…

  • Berth

    crab Simpson, no experience too. You lots talk like u ve coached before. Kuka i understand your point but pls lets not draw too much emphasis on this game to the point of draging other matches. Stoke are coming to the emirate and not the other way. The only worry is Mancity and then Edu and Arshavin particularly; am not sure he understands how much the team needs his maturity and experience. Then Edu should raise his game to that level. One more thing, yemi sport on for the lack of outside shots. Isnt that what we know Nasri, Arshavin, Rosicky and to a lesser extent Fab and Denilson. One should take initiaive and others should follow suit.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Looking at the league table I am starting to worry a little about our top 4 finish this season. If we continue to be as toothless upfront as yesterday I fear the likes of Sp*rs and Liverpool will finish above us.

    I know that you will all probably moan about me doubting us but I can’t help it.

    I would put Rosicky ahead of Arshavin at the minute as he showed a hunger fair greater than the russian has so far this season.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    *far

  • kodjo

    Berth…

    you do not have to be a coach to analyse games…i dare you to take a dispassionate view of the games that arsenal have lost and you will see a similar pattern on the way teams attack us….even at sundeland you had bent, richardson & a third player always on the wings and diagonally…look my frind it works…i can bet you aston villa will attack us the same way..agbonlahor, carew & ashley young

    on simpson he is the most direct striker we have has he been given opportunites in the first team no…what he may lack in flair he makes up for his direct and bustling style currently non of our strikers have that…the closest we have is sanchez-watt wenger himself has described him as one who plays street smart soccer..that style no one can teach you…you either have it or you do not…that is what drogba has..it gets to a point were you have to fine tune your game ..

    it is not all about running around or trying flicks it is what you call direct efficiency..you cannot teach that cos you vary that style per the kind of defenders you play against…tell me if drogba played against gallas the same way as he did against senderos

  • Berth

    Forget Simpson and the tactic people use.

  • kodjo

    Well Berth …i take it that you are still smarting from yday’s defeat…to suggest that arsenal forget about the tacticS that other teams use against as is odd…whilst we supporters are not coaches, we observe, opine and make comments which makes this website fun.

    any coach or team worth the salt will always look at it’s strengths, weaknesses and the tactics of the opposing team…which is a wholistic approach, the players should have the intelligence during games to make adjustments as such…that is what they are being paid for.

    To disregard the fundamentals of this approach is tantamount to operational suicide…

    With regards to simpson i see you have no confidence in him…any explanations…stats?

  • JDD

    yesterday i may have been a bit harsh.today reflecting on the game i feel the major difference was the lack of strenght and height up front.i still think almunia could have done better.the performance was gd not great but not poor.i feel for eduardo he was scoring goals for fun before that injury now he looks a bit scared in the tackle its understandable.his first touch and decision making was poor but that was probly only his 3rd mayb 4th start of season so in time i feel he’l adapt to the new role and get the goals.

  • Shawn

    we need a striker in january . . . Edu and Vela are skillful players, finishers but they aren’t CF . . . Van p is out for five months so if we really want even a chance of making up 11 points we need a proper goal scoring CF

  • ars

    arsenal must win against stoke and liverpool and chelsea must lose to manchester cty and drop points against portsmouth.