As Chelsea ground out a result at the Emirates, they inched closer to the inevitable 5th league title. With Arsene Wenger unable to find a way through Chelsea’s mean defence led by the master of the art John Terry.
Let us take a look at what we could learn from the London derby:
Jose Mourinho proves his mettle, yet again!
With Chelsea leading second placed Arsenal by 10 points before the match, Jose Mourinho knew that not losing at the Emirates would be as good as a win. The onus to attack was on Arsenal, who were on home turf. Moreover they had been playing quite well recently, with 8 straight wins in the Premier League.
However, rarely did they threaten the Chelsea goal, and Thiabaut Courtois was a spectator for most of the 90 minutes. A solitary shot from Ozil, which was straight at Courtois, was all that the goalkeeper had to deal with in the first half. Even without a forward, it was Chelsea who came the closest to scoring, as Willian played in Ramires, who failed to beat Ospina in a one-on-one situation. Besides, Oscar almost scored before suffering a brutal shove by Ospina, worthy of a penalty and a red card. Later in the second half, Arsenal dominated possession as expected, but Chelsea’s disciplined approach made penetration almost impossible.
At the end of the day, Chelsea left the Emirates with a draw, maintaining the 10 point lead over Arsenal, with the trophy almost in the bag.
John Terry should have been nominated for the PFA Player of the Year
The Chelsea Captain John Terry, who has played all of the 33 matches in the league, again led by example at the Emirates. Dominating Olivier Giroud for as long as he played, and then Welbeck. Terry won all of his aerial duels, and then some.
The veteran made as many as 13 important clearances, and kept Arsenal at bay, restricting them to passes outside the box and shots from range. The 34 year old defender dominated the Arsenal forwards, much like he did all season, and it looks as if he is improving as he ages on. His performances have been rewarded by Chelsea in the form of a one-year extension, and after the man of the match performance, it looks only unfair that he was overlooked for the PFA Player of the Year award nominations.
Oscar needs to regain form
As we saw last season, Oscar started this season in brilliant form too. Scoring fantastic goals against Palace, Villa and QPR. However, somewhere during mid-season, Oscar seems to lose his form. Against Arsenal, he led the line in the absence of a striker, but failed to test Ospina. Finally when he did, he was clattered, and suffered a concussion, and was replaced by Drogba at half time.
Quite often in recent past, we have seen him go missing in matches, with his influence not significant. Rarely has he completed 90 minutes of a match all season, and this is worrying. There had been rumours of Oscar being sold at the end of the season, and while Mourinho rubbished those rumours before Chelsea’s match against United, Oscar needs to realize that he may find himself on the bench next season as the arrival of a new midfielder looks inevitable, if he is not sold that is.
Cahill’s rough patch is over
Gary Cahill took a lot of battering from fans and the media, when he had a slight dip in form during the winter months. Especially during the 5-3 loss against Tottenham at White Hart Lane and the FA Cup loss against Bradford, fans turned on Cahill.
Jose Mourinho had dropped him, playing 20 year old Zouma instead. However, when Cahill was recalled to the line up against Spurs in the Capital One Cup Final, he coped with Kane just fine. And since then, he hasn’t looked back. Against Arsenal, Cahill made 8 clearances, and a match saving block from Cazorla. He negated the threats of Ramsey and Giroud, helping captain John Terry throughout the match.
Cahill has given some good defensive displays this season, and this was one of them.
No penalties, again!
This is becoming a cliche. A Chelsea player goes down in the box, the whole stadium knows it is a penalty, and then the referee does NOT point to the spot. And it was no different this time. 3 clear penalties not given again. First Oscar was pulled back by Hector Bellerin just inside the box on 7 minutes, and it was not given. On 15 minutes, Oscar tried to loop a ball over Ospina’s head, after a superb ball over the top from Fabregas, and was clattered head on by the goalkeeper, with the ball nowhere near him.
Oscar suffered a concussion as found out later. It should have been a stone cold penalty, but again Michael Oliver waved it away. The most outrageous decision was yet to come. Fabregas was clipped inside the box by Santi Cazorla right in front of referee Michael Oliver. Instead of pointing to the spot, Oliver booked Fabregas for diving.
This just shows that Jose Mourinho’s complains do have substance. It will not cost him the league title though.
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Edited By: Ojas