As we have come to expect, Arsenal made their customary bright start: decisive passing between Fabrégas and Arshavin, driving runs from Diaby and strong tackles from Song all of which sent a combination of pride and adrenalin rushing to my brain, finally giving me the confidence to venture out from behind the sofa where I had been hiding all afternoon and allow myself to imagine that today, just maybe, this could be our day. As you are aware, this false dawn lasted all of seven minutes before Arsenal managed to locate their foot, take aim and shoot themselves in it.
Chelsea sent in a corner, Terry headed it back across the area for Drogba to bundle it home. The commentators on Sky tried to blame Song; well, perhaps he could have done better but the real culprit, as I see it, was Clichy who had walked over, waving his arms in a mental hospital kind of way, to the other post which Nasri was protecting, why Clichy thought that that post needed two players to protect it is beyond me. If Chelsea had done the same thing we would have laughed but it wasn’t Chelsea, it was Arsenal, the club that I love and yet again we were undone by schoolboy defending.
Not happy with just shooting ourselves in the one foot we then, just ten minutes later, shot ourselves in the other and again it was Clichy who was culpable: one of our attacks broke down high up the pitch, the ball found its way to Drogba who charged down the right wing free from any interference from our left back who was busy getting muddled up around the centre circle with Vermaelen; Drogba cut in, easily going past the late arriving Clichy before hitting the ball as hard as he could past the helpless Almunia.
Two chances for Chelsea and two goals, by contrast, the two real chances that fell to us turned out to be “if only moments”, the first in the form of a twenty yard cross field pass from Fabrégas, so magnificent that the only thing that it lacked when it arrived to Arshavin was a silk cushion to gently land on, this was probably the most inviting opportunity to come the Russian’s way in ages and it deserved to be clinically dispatched past Chech; but; as I said; it turned out to be an “if only moment” and the shot was comfortably saved.
The second chance fell to Nasri who found himself one on one with the keeper, the first and only time that Wengerball worked, that’s to say we finally managed to pass our way around their defence to create a guilt edged opportunity but unfortunately the Frenchman hesitated and the chance evaporated along with our title hopes.
Wenger may continue to say that we are still in the title race and he is, of course, right to maintain that mantra in public; I mean, what would we think of him if he threw in the towel before it was a mathematical certainty? It has to be said that we tried to make a fist of the game and I suppose simply losing this week is a slight improvement on the humiliation we suffered last week……I know, I know, I’m desperate but there is surely only a hand full of die hard supporters who are still clinging to the idea that we were eleven points behind Chelsea when we lost to them at the Emirates and we managed to claw ourselves back into the title race.
Well what else am I going to do on a Saturday afternoon? Next up Liverpool and then it is easy fixtures all the way to the end of the season; every winning run has to start somewhere.