A loss. A loss to a title rival. A loss at home. All in all a bad day in the office. I’ll try not to too negative, but how flat was that performance? Resting the first XI was supposed to re-invigorate the team and keep them fresh, but instead, they all seemed off. Second to the ball, devoid of ideas, sloppy, lazy. If we play anyone in that frame of mind, we’ll lose. An early injury to Diaby didn’t help – Ramsey and Arteta in the middle for the most part of the game didn’t quite work. Gervinho was just confused. Our line up was…
Jenkinson – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Gibbs
Arteta – Diaby
Ramsey – Cazorla – Podolski
In the match programme, Vermaelen said: “A win today would send out a statement that we’re in very good form.”. So, what does a loss at home mean? Now, I’m not going to slate the team, it’s been a positive-ish start to the season, but I don’t think Chelsea played particularly well and for that reason, it really felt like we gave them the game. When we needed to up the pace and try other things, we couldn’t. It actually felt like we were captain-less The first goal was for Chelsea and it came through some poor defending from Koscielny, who despite being grabbed all over by Torres, was too focused on the player and not his position or the ball. Torres flicked it in 1-0 to Chelsea. After conceding, we stepped it up a gear and Gervinho got one back just before half time with a good turn and finish.
The second game became a battle of chess, Chelsea not scared of us at all and happy to play and defend, but another defensive mistake let to another Chelsea goal. Arteta losing the ball in midfield, Vermaelen giving away a free kick and then Kos and Mannone somehow allowing the free kick to go directly into the goal – it was one of those cross come “end in net” goals. At 2-1 down, we didn’t seem to have the fight to go and try and get the winner, it all seemed a bit too lethargic. Diaby’s early injury and his replacement with Ramsey, really did unbalance the team, and it felt that we never really recovered from that.
Lessons we learnt today:
- Gervinho should play on the wing, not up front
- Giroud needs to start scoring
- Oxlade isn’t quite ready for the deep lying central midfield role
- Diaby will miss a chunk of the season with niggling injuries
- Walcott’s lost his spark on the right wing, doesn’t seem too interested
Arsene spoke generally about the game and was disappointed about the way we conceded the goals today:
I feel we played against a good team, but we gave the game away. They had three shots on target and scored two goals, from soft set-pieces. Defensively we were just not at the level you have to be in a game like that, which is where we were punished today. For the rest, we have shown quality and spirit but we have to show more personality and authority on the goals we conceded.
And on Mertersacker’s exclusion he said:
That is a decision which was based on the opposition we played. You can say it was a wrong one maybe, but I believe [that statement] is a lowering the quality of the players who played, they are internationals.
If you do not play Koscielny or Vermaelen and cannot win the game, you will ask me the same question
We’ll see what happens on Wednesday, but I’d expect Kos & Vermaelen to play again and I would expect Giroud to be given the 90 minutes.
Adios for now… here’s hoping for some positive results for us in the other games…