Since April 10th we have lost 5 and drawn 3 games away from home, a dismal and painful run of games that has seen our defence and confidence take knock after knock.
The abject display in August at Old Trafford saw a very humbling score line result in cries for Wenger to walk now, before we fell apart at the seams was the cry of the naysayer’s. Then at Ewood Park we saw the worst team in the premiership, come from behind and beat us, the wheels were well and truly off………
So yesterday, we tipped up at Chelsea, our recent Nemesis, who seemed to always get a result against us, especially at the Bridge even when we play well. Our actual recent form though had given us a little belief back, with 7 wins out of 8games in all competitions.
The defence has been slowly improving, the team were slowly coming together and at the sharp end, the boy wonder had been on fire, so why couldn’t we get a result……….?
Trust me or do one……..
Well after the first 5mins, there were so many reasons why we couldn’t get a result; I lost count of how many times, Chelsea just seemed to stroll through and around our defence, Chelsea had 3 or 4 gilt edged chances to take the lead, better crosses and they might have been out of sight.
Mixed in between there was some moments for Arsenal, when Ramsey had broke into Chelsea’s area and dragged the ball back, but no one was up with play. Then another clearance by BFG fell to Theo and a one-two with Ramsey, saw Theo away but he failed to get the ball down, another bad at the office loomed……..?
The attacks continue with Sturridge been afforded far too much room, but from been on the back foot, Ramsey intercepted a weak ball in from Lampard, he strode out of the box and lift a chip pass into Arteta, who headed it back to Ramsey, who took it on his chest and then volleyed a delightful ball out wide right to Theo…….who pushed it
passed Cashley and then sprinted round the other side of him and left him in his wake, Cole has more chance of getting Cheryl back than catching Theo……
Theo looked up, stepped forward and delivered a sublime ball across the area, as Ivanovic stretched out but couldn’t get the ball, Gervinho, somehow did a Torres….a woeful miss from 5yds.
Moments later, Santos cut in from the left and laid the ball to Song, who moved it onto Theo, a couple of light touches, a look up and a even more sublime pass arching in over the Chelsea defence, curling to the far post, Van Persie came in, but the ball raised just that little too high and he couldn’t keep it below the crossbar. Two very good chances to take the lead.
The Chelsea fans couldn’t help themselves as they berated our Boy Wonder, for missing the chance, he who laughs last………………..!
Anyway, normal service resumed, we miss, opposition score, how predictable was that, as John “Colour Impaired” Terry, sent a ball out wide to Juan Mata, who turned back on Santos and delivered a ball not to dissimilar to Theo’s, but in came Fatboy just behind 6ft 6” BFG who must have thought he was in a limbo competition, as he got under the cross allowing Fatboy to head pass Sir Chez……..
Arsenal improved slightly, but the game was still ebbing and flowing unpredictably, as players from both sides, made mistakes and gave cheap balls away, but there were no real clear cut chances…….But the worrying thing was that Arsenal’s back door was seeing more action than George Michaels…….
A superb pass from fatboy, put Sturridge away, as he allowed the ball to drop and run forward, he arched his body and for some reason hit the ball with the outside of his foot and away from the goal and Sir Chez, that would have been difficult to come back from……….
The midfield of Arteta, Song and most notably Ramsey were working very hard to sustain a footing in the game. Santos in from the left into Gervinho, who lost the ball, fell back to Santos, who fed Ramsey an inside turn, Gervinho had got up and run into the area, a great pass from the Welsh Wizard found Gervinho, the touch was heavy and the ball ran towards the on coming Cech, but just as you thought Gervinho would clip it into Cech’s body, he slid it to the grateful Robin, who just calmly stroked the ball with his left peg into the empty net……1-1 game on…….36mins.
Moments later Ramires completely sold Santos, into the box and across the area for Sturridge to stab home, but the young forward had strayed offside, tight but a good call by the assistant referee. So nearly we conceded after scoring, frustrating weakness.
On 41, Robin took a free kick just outside the Chelsea area, could he? No it wasn’t to be as we drifted to half time with Robin’s effort curling just over…….
But, hold it, Chelsea get a late corner, Fatboy delivers a ball into the mix, Terry, out muscles the BFG, (is that F for friendly?), and knocks the ball limping into the goal, Arteta had moved from the post, less said. Half time, 2-1 to Chelsea.
We had looked dangerous going forward, but in defence, we had the look of an Essex girl on a night out, carefree and not bothered who got in behind……….
The only player who defensively was sharp was Koscielny, who reputation is growing…..
Second half; more defensive qualities were needed, surely?
Why bother, as we came flying out the traps, first Van Persie and then Ramsey had early opportunities to get us level.
On 49 minutes, Djourou impressed me with his strength and desire to keep the ball; he came inside and got the ball to Song, with a little help from a Lampard tackle. Song, who reversed stepped back across the ball and then picked Chelsea defence apart with a gem of a pass, through to the left where Santos, took the ball in his stride, one touch in front and then drilled it with his left foot across Cech, 2-2…..Get in there….
To celebrate Santos then decided to show the Brazilian Version of the “No dad Samba two step”, maybe he wants to go on Strictly Come Dancing? Who cares, finally we have a left back who knows where the net is…….
Almost immediately, Arsenal tried to let Chelsea back into the game, a looping ball up and over our back line, saw Cashley bear down on the area, an out rushing Szczesny leaped out of his area and sent Cole into a spin, a yellow and a free kick. Should it have been red? Well even our young pole tweeted after the game (not a bright idea) that he wasn’t sure how he stayed on the pitch. For me, it was an either way call, but the referee chose luckily for us only a yellow.
The resultant free kick was sent to the far post by fatboy, but our pole stretched his frame and tipped the ball around the goal, super save.
Arsenal seemed to be getting the upper hand in the middle with Arteta and Song pressing and Ramsey probing.
A long ball out from Szczesny, to Theo, who was bundled over by Cashley. start of a bizarre passage of play. A quick free kick by Robin into Theo, who drove forward, as he did, he stumbled and fell over, but somehow kept his momentum going, in the middle of 4 blue shirts he got up, jinked pass and powered into the area and drilled a shot to Cechs near left post, with some real venom. 3-2 up, to come back twice showed some real bottle and then to get in front, Arsenal were controlling the game now.
Theo, Simply Brilliant……..
A plethora of substitutions on both sides saw Lukaku and Dodgy Barnet on for Chelsea, with Rosicky and Jenkinson replacing Walcott and Djourou respectively. The game got a little scrappy, on 80mins Santos as he came out, gave the ball away, but as he went to atone for his mistake he was clearly blocked by Lukaku, the ball then broke for dodgy barnet and he fed Mata, who managed to unleash a thunderbolt, just before Song despairingly tried to block him, to Szczesny’s right side. 3-3 game truly back on………Subs too early? Should Walcott have stayed on? No time to think…..
Not quite as powerful as Essien’s drive a few seasons ago, but Mata’s just as damaging, as Chelsea seemed now to be in the ascendancy. Were we going to blow it, after all the effort in the 2nd half?
But on 85, an innocuous back pass from Malouda, to Terry, saw John Terry slip, or did he throw himself down in a very defeatist manner?, who cares, I am sure Wayne Bridge had a chuckle, as Robin Van Persie, ran onto the loose ball, as Cech came out he step round him and slotted in his second, what a game………..
John Terry Slipping Over……
+4mins of injury time and Chelsea threw the lot at us, please hold on you could the silent thoughts of every Arsenal fan, with Vermaelen now on, I felt safe, ok maybe still a tad nervous…
Malouda, then Mata kept putting the ball into the area, eventually Jenkinson headed it out, it bounce in front of Rosicky who bravely won the ball from dodgy barnets high foot with his head, Rosicky brought the ball out, moved it onto Arteta, he shifted it across to the left and Van Persie, who drove an unstoppable left foot swerving drive into Cech’s right hand side, 5-3 game over, the fans were in dream land………..
Boy Wonder settles the nerves
What a game, it had it all, finally away from home, the Arsenal boys had grabbed the 3points. Defensively it was a horror show at times, from both sides, but with some tricks from Robin, Theo, Aaron and GMan, saw the Arsenal fans treated to a result we have been deprived of by the feet of Drogba too many times…….
Ratings: (STC: Subject to Comments)
Sir Chez: 7: Still Raw at times, but he has that edge that sets him apart, some good saves, little chance with Mata’s shot, but he’ll be disappointed with the other two.
Djourou: 6: Quite truly dreadful first half as he was dragged around, but he improved in the 2nd half, having a good contribution to the 2nd goal.
BFG: 6.5: Was at fault for both Chelsea’s first half goals, but he did defend better in the 2nd half. Need to be stronger and more aggressive.
Kozzer: 9: Immense, read the game well, blocked, tackled and was everywhere, without him in the first half, I think they would have been out of sight.
Santos: 7: (that is a 5 for 1st half and 8 2nd half), Defending in the first half was comical, but he gained composure and got into the game, his goal was well taken and gave him confidence. The third goal although came from his mistake, he was fouled attempting to block the ball.
Arteta: 8: Thought his stature grew as the game wore on, did the simple things really well, gave little space, pressed and moved the ball quickly, slowly starting to feel at home.
Song: 8: Powerful and energetic, press and close down Chelsea midfield, some of his passing was sublime. Gave some needless balls away in first half, he is though very important to us.
Ramsey: 9: Super Welsh Wizard, truly a special player who gave his all today, his range of passing was fantastic, he has a great engine and never doubts himself.
Walcott: 9: Proved all those doubters wrong, showed he deserves to wear our shirt, capped a great display with a stunning goal, no football brain? Waddle talking Twaddle…
Boy Wonder:9: Captain’s performance, one on one there was only one winner, clinical and deadly from anywhere.
Gervinho: 7.5: Energetic and difficult to handle, makes things happen, missed a very easy chance, but worked his socks off, unselfish in laying off Robin.
Man of the Match: It could have gone to anyone of 4 today and others like Arteta gave a good account as well. 4 players got 9 off me, a truly fantastic team performance and as Robin said share the champagne between the team……If you were to push me to a choice, between the four 9’s, RVP, Koz, Theo and Aaron, I would go for Kozzer, at times he was on his own, but he held firm………..
Rosicky and Jenkinson :7: Little time but got upto speed quickly and helped see us to the line.
Vermaelen: Only on for minutes, great to have him back……….Best defender in the Premier League……..
The Manager: 8:
Big decision to leave TV on the bench, nearly bigger one to take Theo off, all came good in the game in the end, Wenger and his team deserved this bit of luck that has so far been missing this season, he has asked for the trust in him to remain, well after today, he has mine fully back, not that I lost faith………….
That could of gone either way at times yesterday and we still have a lot of work to do, but we have put ourselves right back in the mix, the team seem together and really up for it, lets really get behind them now and see where this crazy journey goes this season……. God I love being a Gooner, thanks Dad……..
Ps. Sorry if that was a tad long…………try writing that up in less!!
Written by Harry