Premier League was back this weekend when the 4th placed Gooners traveled to Stamford Bridge to line up against the leaders Chelsea in the hope of managing atleast a point, possibly to keep their 4th place dream alive. Both teams were undefeated so far in the league which turned it into a much anticipated battle amongst fans and neutrals alike.
Jose Mourinho made 1 change from his mid-week side that traveled to Lisbon with Azpilicueta replacing Luis at left-back. Schurrle, meanwhile, retained his place.
Here’s the initial reaction to the match:
-There was a 15 minute delay from the scheduled kick-off time due to some security issues with the traveling Arsenal fans.
The match started with Chelsea in their regular 4-2-3-1 formation while the visitors surprisingly lined up in an unusually cautious 4-3-3 with Flamini in the middle and Cazorla and Wilshere the CM’s alongside him. It’s not everyday that you see Wenger being cautious, but after that demolition last season you can’t blame him.
– It was certainly a better start from Arsenal compared to last time around, nothing threatening going forward but still not conceding in the first 15 minutes was an achievement for the Gooners.
With a packed midfield, none of the teams found it easier to create a clear cut chance in the opening few minutes.
It was a tense start when there was a war of words between Mourinho and Wenger on the touchline in the 20th minute after a rash tackle from Cahill on Sanchez saw both the managers furious with each other. The officials had to intervene to cool down the matter.
While on the other side, Courtois had to be substituted in the 24th minute for Petr Cech after he was injured from earlier collision with Sanchez.
-Blues won their first penalty this season in the 27th minute when Koscielny fouled Hazard in the box. Eden Hazard converted the resulting penalty by calmly putting it in the right corner, sending the blues 1-0 up. It was a sensational, dancing run from our little Belgian which saw him go past Cazorla and Chambers before Koscielny stuck his leg out to bring him down in the box earning a yellow card in the process. Typical Eden Hazard stuff.
-Arsenal had their first real scoring chance in the 30th minute when Wilshere picked the ball on the edge of the box but his poor first touch saw Cech come out and collect the ball easily.
The game died down a bit after the Hazard goal with Chelsea firmly in control of possession and the proceedings while Arsenal never looked threatening on the attack. Wenger for some reason looked furious with the officials on the touchline demanding a booking for every challenge on his team.
-The first half ended with the Blues leading 1-0 courtesy of a Hazard’s brilliance. It was a fairly tense and testy fixture so far which saw some rash tackles, injuries and a penalty. We even got to see some words being exchanged by the managers on the touchline. But a moment of brilliance from Hazard was the difference between the two sides till now. Given the circumstances, a feisty second half was expected between the two teams.
-The second half started with no changes from either manager. Arsenal started the half with some intent by putting pressure on the Blues’ defense through Cazorla and Sanchez from our right hand side.
But the Blues gradually grew into the game by controlling the possession in midfield through their good passing and superior physical play. Meanwhile, when Arsenal had the ball, the Blues dropped deep and counter-attacked at will, looking all too comfortable in the process.
-Arsenal had a controversial penalty shout in the 63rd minute when the ball seemed to have clipped Fabregas’s hand from a Wilshere shot in the box but the referee decided against it. Needless to say, a penalty would have been a harsh decision there.
Meanwhile another wasteful game for Schurrle ended in the 69th minute when he was substituted for Mikel. The change saw Fabregas having the license to roam further up the pitch while Mikel sat alongside Matic in the defensive midfield.
-Arsenal did have a decent spell of possession around the 70th minute but they were unable to create any resulting goalscoring chances with a good defensive team effort from the Blues.
A special mention to Oscar though, who was literally all over the pitch as usual, making vital tackles and interceptions everywhere. Honestly, I haven’t seen any no.10 in the world being this good defensively. One hell of a player our Brazilian!
-The move we all had been waiting for though came in the 78th minute when COSTA SCORED FROM A FABREGAS ASSIST.
Honestly, I have been waiting for this goal since they both joined Chelsea. Fabregas played a superb pass over the top for Costa to run on to, and the striker made no mistake running behind the so called best defensive pair of the Premier League and finishing it over Szczesny. 2-0 Chelsea! Game over, Arsenal!
-Willian came on for the brilliant Oscar in the 88th minute to close off the game in the last few minutes. The game ended with a 2-0 win for the Blues and it was no doubt a deserved win for us. We controlled major parts of the game, defending collectively and scoring from the chances we created.
The win sees us 9 points above Arsenal in the league table and 5 points ahead of second placed Manchester City, en route to our first league title in 4 years.
And, oh yeah, to top it off, Mourinho’s unbeaten run against Wenger continues!
Edited By: Girish Bhangre
An ardent Chelsea fan, passionate about football, movies and TV shows. If not for the hindrance of real life, you would find him arguing/discussing these subjects at length. Chelsea FC, his friends and his soon-to-be wife form a huge part of his life. Everything else takes a backseat. KTBFFH!!!