What I learnt from Chelsea v Arsenal
Defending isn’t Chelsea’s or Arsenal’s strong point
Bad defending has been everywhere in the Premier League this season, it’s like some sort of virus. In the first half Chelsea gave Arsenal two guilt edge chances to score, first Gervinho miscued then Van Persie missed from close range and for the Arsenal goal Terry and Ivanovic were so flat footed it was unreal. Even Cech got in on the act moving so slowly for both the 2nd and 3rd Arsenal goals and the backpass and slip by Terry for the 4th was embarrassing.
Not to be outdone Arsenal and Santos in particular (who had a terrible game his goal apart) bent over any time any Chelsea player had the ball. On the other side Djourou was constantly on the back foot in the first half particularly and gave Ashley Cole far too much space and time. As for Per Mertersacker, for someone who is 6’7 he is remarkably poor in the air he was dragged all over the shop for Terry’s goal. I imagine he plays like Peter Crouch would if he was a centre back. Awkwardly. Funny thing is, that come the Euro 2012 tournament you know he’ll have a blinder as Germany trounce England in the Quarter Finals. Again.
If either want to reach their ambitions this season (League for Chelsea, 4th for Arsenal) then they will need to get their defence in order. Quickly.
Robin Van Persie has never been more important to Arsenal
This is an obvious one, without Van Persie Arsenal will not finish in the top four, simple as that really. His hattrick today was helped by defensive mistakes but he took them all fantastically well. He is on the hottest form of his life. How Arsenal keep the man of glass fit I don’t know, but they need to.
Mata is getting on with his business
I wasn’t sure about Mata before he signed, but then I wasn’t sure about David Silva either…
When Mata got on the ball today he was fantastic in the first half especially, he was left one minute and central the next. Comfortable on the ball, smart with his passes and great assist for the first goal (though Santos may as well of lubed up, the way he defended against him). Is he as good as Silva? No, I don’t think so but he is a player than Chelsea needed. He lacked a bit of stamina in the second half it seemed but still when he got on the ball he made things happen. In the second half he drifted and Chelsea didn’t get him on the ball enough, no surprise that this was when Chelsea struggled most. His goal was superb, you knew it was in as soon as he hit it.
Lampard still has something to give but maybe only for 45minutes
He scored a great goal, one that has Lampard written all over it. Running from deep past the forward and getting a goal. But his distribution stood out for me, midway through the first half his first time pass around on the spin for Sturridge to get on to (and miss) was sublime. He may not be everyones cup of tea but with pace of Sturridge, Mata’s class and Rameries legs around him he is still very effective.
Arteta didn’t turn up. Again
2 years ago Arteta was a fantastic player, he stroked the ball around and dominated the midfield for Everton. Injuries have taken their toll on his legs and he’s still not fully fit, add to that the standard in the centre of midfield in the Premier League has risen to new levels and Arteta has been left behind. He was played very deep today perhaps as a deep laying playmaker, but he made 60 successful passes today only 4 of those reached the Chelsea defensive third and none were in the area.
When Arsenal signed Arteta fans and players were crowing that he was the missing piece and a good addition to replace Nasri or Febregas. I was much more skeptical and the way he has played since he arrived hasn’t changed my view at all. Privately Wenger was skeptical himself about Arteta and Mertersacker, seems his gut is still making the right noises, the problem is he isn’t following it anymore.
- You: Chelsea v Arsenal | Scott Murray (guardian.co.uk)
- Chelsea vs Arsenal: First XI’s Analysed – Who’s Better? (football-talk.co.uk)