Chelsea 3 – 1 Arsenal
Is it all over now? A gap of 12 points between the league leaders and the good guys is surely too big to overcome, isn’t it? Of course it isn’t. All of the Chavs’ remaining 14 PL games are potential slip ups and sooner or later they will go through a bad spell. It will happen. The thing is though, Arsenal do not look like a team that will find back their spirit, confidence and obvious class anytime soon.
What is there to say about yesterday’s game? We started with good intentions but lacked the intensity and belief to really hurt the Chavs. They sat back and absorbed our pressure with relative ease and were just waiting for an opportunity to kill us on the break. Wenger had opted for the young ones Bellerin, Ox and Iwobi when he had more experienced options to pick from, especially in defence and attack. He also opted for the warm/cold Walcott on the right and for Alexis as our CF. This should have meant lots of movement and speed in our attacking play, but they and Ozil did not gel and were pretty toothless for large parts of the game. I dreaded this line-up before the match had started, but actually, I thought they did relatively well initially.
Then came Alonso’s assault on Bellerin that led to injury and a goal that never should have stood. 1-0 to the Chavs with hardly any effort made and even less now required. Just keep sitting back and play on the break – what a lovely gift to Stamford Bridge by Atkinson. We still tried but just lacked the intensity and belief to turn the game round. We started the second half without much new confidence, purpose or ideas and soon the game was over. Chelsea’s very own Manneke P*s decided to go on a run and beat our midfield, defence and goalkeeper with a mazy run that humiliated us and sealed the faith of our team in the game, and possibly for the remainder of the season. What followed after that I don’t want to talk about, even though Giroud did well to score a consolation goal in extra time.
Something is missing in this team and I will write about this on another day.
The easiest thing to do now is to blame Wenger. But he cannot improve the quality of refereeing in the league; he cannot do the tackling for Coq and the blocking for Koz and Mustafi at the crucial moment; he also cannot do the passing and running for Alexis etc, etc. He also cannot be blamed for injuries and other reasons for unavailability of four big players in the pivotal DM positions: Ramsey, Santi, Elneny and Xhaka.
I am not saying Wenger goes without blame and, as I said above, I did not think the line up was strong enough to (have the confidence and quality) to beat the Chavs. But that is just my keyboard-hero opinion, which I can have from the comfort of my seat all day long. Opinions are as free and easy as trumps. I may have opinions but will never be delusional to think that I actually know better than the man who passionately and successfully led the team for 20+ years; and neither should you. I am also not saying that Arsene should stay or go, even though the idea of a new man at the helm is attractive right now. Managing successfully in the PL is very hard, just look at Klopp, Guardiola and Mourinho; Wenger is not doing worse than them but nobody wants to give him any credit any more.
The future is unclear, and we need to know what the club’s plans are regarding the team management position(s), so we can all get our head round what is likely to happen for the remainder of the season, and afterwards. But I also want our players to meet up and have a clear the air meeting, knock their heads together and take responsibility for a number of under par, uninspiring, unworthy of the shirt performances. I want them to vow to give everything to the fans AND their manager in the remaining 14 PL games and cup games and do the shirt proud – and to get as close as possible to the Chavs. And anybody who does not give us their blood and guts should sod off right now.
Next up Hull; let’s give them hell.