Arsenal vs Chelsea (0-1) Game week 23rd
After both the team dropped points last week, they approached the game positively trying to win with limited caution. In the first half, Chelsea started well, enjoyed more possession then they’d have expected against an opponent like Arsenal and made most of it by drawing the first blood in 23rd minute, thanks to Diego Costa’s goal.
Though in the Second half, Arsenal were on top as they created a few chances to equalise, however, were unsuccessful in the attempt to convert those into a goal. After the introduction of Alexis Sanchez Gunners looked more threatening as they launched a flurry of attacks, to test Chelsea defense but Terry and company stayed organized to hold onto their one-goal lead.
From neutral point of view it was an entertaining game to watch, both team played attractive football and the way Arsenal played 2nd half it didn’t look like they were one man down. Let’s look into talking points of the match.
For the Blues undoubtedly, Fabregas stands out. The Spaniard who played in a deeper role, looked sharp with ball, distribution was good, dictated the pace of the game for Chelsea and defensively he did well to support Matic and Mikel against Arsenal’s quick sharp passes.
Alexis Sanchez who came in 2nd half was more direct and with his tricky game against the likes of Ivanovic and Mikel he was a threat throughout the game. But the Chilean alone couldn’t penetrate through Chelsea’s defensive wall.
For Arsenal, Mertesacker was of course the worst player, making a bad decision being the last man to make a slide tackle on Costa which got him a send off but after his dismissal, Flamini didn’t perform as it was expected from him. The French midfielder was at fault for the Costa’s Goal, had he not made that unnecessary movement and stayed in center with Costa he’d have cleared the ball with ease. And later he missed a few good chances to get Arsenal an equalizer.
For the West Londoner’s, Mikel who looked nervy at the start took time to settle in and his weakness was exposed by Walcott on Alexis when they went past him easily. While defending in their own box Mikel did well but on counter with space around him, he looked more like a standing stick. He also misplaced few passes, gave away possession cheaply and didn’t provide much support offensively.
Mertesacker being sent off by Mark Clattenburg was a big decision he made and it very much affected the game, hurting Arsenal psychologically. The lack of leadership in his absence was clearly visible. Another big decision which Clattenburg made was to not give Chelsea penalty after Koscielny pushed Fabregas off with no intent of playing the ball and the intent is enough to commit a foul. He also made a few bad decisions in giving away yellow cards easily.
Perhaps taking off Giroud, their in form player out was the wrong move. The Frenchman would have provided more physical aspect in the box and can hold the ball to wait for support to arrive. In dying moments when Arsenal had all the momentum and had Chelsea pinned in their own box, Giroud could have been the target man for the crosses.
Chelsea lined up in 4-2-3-1, with MM, Matic and Mikel in center and Pedro left out.
Arsenal lined up in 4-3-3, with Campbell and Walcott on the wings.
Arsenal hasn’t won against Chelsea since 2011-12 in BPL i.e. Chelsea is undefeated against Gunners for last 8 matches in BPL.
Azpilicueta has made his 150th app for Chelsea and 100th in BPL.
Matic has made his 100th app for Chelsea.
Walcott has handed the arm band today to mark his 10 years journey with Arsenal.
We can expect change in Arsenal’s back four and expect Koscielny to step up, lead the side and tighten team’s defense. With Alexis back on board, Arsenal would be more threatening and might have slightly boosted their chance against in form Saints.
Chelsea who are still on 13th have a long way to go, away from relegation battle but a top 4 spot is still unlikely. They have 15 matches to cover up 14 points gap to achieve the Champions League berth. With players like Costa and Fabregas back to form, Hazard recovered from injury. Also Champions league and FA Cup games coming up, it’d interesting to see where they go from here!