In what turned out to be perhaps the craziest match of the season, the Gunners announced to the world that they are back from oblivion. A hat-trick from their Dutch captain ensured that they maintained a recent good run of form.

The big news for the Gunners was the availability of Vermaelen before the match. The Belgium International made his comeback after a long injury lay-off, in the match against Bolton in the Carling Cup. He was substituted in the 80th minute and limped off the field, fueling speculations about a fresh injury. Wenger came out before this game and said that he is available for the match but might not be fully fit for such a big game. He started in the bench, while Djourou played at the right back. Jenkinson was expected to undergo a late fitness test before the match. He made it to the bench as well.

For Chelsea, there were few surprised selection. While Bosingwa was back after serving his one match ban in the Carling cup, Ivanovic was picked ahead of Luiz. Another surprising selection was that of Mikel ahead of Meireles. The Portuguese man has been in good form this season, but only made it to the bench this time around.

First Half

The game started off in a nervy note for Arsenal as Cole made one of his trademark runs into the box and squared off a pass to Torres who poked it wide from 12 yards out. Martesacker just about did enough to put the Spaniard off. It is just a sign of things to come. Both the defenses looked under pressure from the opening minutes and it was only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken.

In the 11th minute of the match, Walcott broke forward after a Frank Lampard free-kick hit the wall. He left Ashley Cole for dead and was through. The winger picked up an un-marked Gervinho, who quite incredibly missed from 8 yards out. Arsenal were made to pay for this, as in the 14th minute, Chelsea took the lead through Frank Lampard. Mata winked past Santos on the left and sent in cross to the far post. Lampard and Torres were queuing up there as no Arsenal defenders were in sight. Lampard headed home from close range, 1-0 to the home side!

The old war horse opened the flood gates

 

Comical defending continued at both ends as the half progressed and if not for some poor finishing the score could have very well been in double digits at the end of the match. The midfield of both the teams wasn’t performing any better as both gave the ball away far too many times. In the 26th minute, after Mertasacker cleared a cross from Fernando Torres, the ball reached Mata who played in Frank Lampard, who centered the ball to Cole. Cole tried a shot from 25 yards out, but it was straight at Szczesny, who latched on to the ball gratefully.

Chelsea were enjoying a good spell and looked likely to score again. In the 28th minute, Sturridge could have and should have doubled the lead for the home side. The young striker was through on goal after Lampard hit a wonderful lofted pass 40 yards out. Sturridge found himself in a one-on-one situation 10 yards from the goal, he took a deep breath, calmed himself down and then shot wide! It was a poor miss.

Like the Gunners earlier, Chelsea paid heavily for that miss. Arsenal drew level in the 36th minute through their captain. It was a wonderful goal, with ‘Arsenal’ written all over it. They literally walked the ball into the net. After a long spell of possession, Arteta played in Ramsey on the right. The Walesman played a perfect through ball for Gervinho, who waited for Cech to commit and then squared the ball to Van Persie, who had an open net to shoot at. He didn’t disappoint, it is perhaps the easiest goal he has scored so far this season.

Chelsea replied back almost immediately after this. Santos, who was having a torrid time in the left back position, lost Ramires far too easily, but thankfully for Arsenal, Sturridge was in an offside position when he scored and the goal was disallowed. The respite didn’t last long though, more atrocious defending from the Gunners as they let a Frank Lampard corner to bounce 8 yards out from goal. John Terry was at the right place at the right time and side footed the ball into the net, minutes before the half time whistle. Mertesacker was the culprit there as he let his man get away far too easily. It was a big blow for Arsenal to concede just before the half time.

Second Half

Both the teams started the second half from where they left off in the first half. Some more amateurish defending, it is hard to find a match where two top teams like this have defended so poorly.

It didn’t take long for Arsenal to be on level terms, as perhaps their worst performer so far in the match, Santos scored in the 49th minute. Alex Song set the left back free, as Sturridge failed to track back on the left. The Brazilian drilled the ball past Cech to drag the Gunners back into the match. The mayhem continued as in the very next minute Szczesny raced off the line to block Cole, who was clear on the left. The Polish international fouled Cole, who went rolling to the ground, but luckily for Arsenal the foul was outside the box and enough players were back which prevented it from being a straight red or penalty. From the resultant free-kick, Torres tested Szczesny, who did well to parry the shot wide.

Arsenal quite unbelievably took the lead for the first time in the 56th minute of the match. It is perhaps the toughest goal to describe in history of the game. Walcott went on a run in the right hand side, as he neared the penalty box he was crowded out by two Chelsea player, Walcott went to the ground, but quite inexplicably didn’t lose the ball. The ball remained glued to his fit, as he got up once again and somehow managed to get past a shocked Ivanovic. The winger fired past Cech through the near post to give Arsenal the lead.

Theo scored a bizarre goal

 

Malouda replaced Sturridge in the 61st minute. It was a terrible afternoon for the English striker. Ramires was replaced by Lukaku in the 72nd minute. Gervinho, after a fairly quiet showing in the first half, came to life in the second half. Bosingwa could hardly handle his man, whose direct running caused a lot of problem in the Chelsea defense. Carl Jenkinson, made his comeback from injury as he replaced Djourou in the 75th minute. Chelsea made another change as Mikel was taken off for Meireles. Few moments later Van Persie and Ivanovic got involved in a brawl, there was some pushing and scrubbing of the ball, the referee was left with little choice but to yellow card them both.Ai?? Rosicky came on for Walcott, as the match headed towards it final minutes.

In the 80th minute, Chelsea equalised, through a sumptuous goal from Mata. The young Spaniard got to the loose ball after Lukaku blocked off Santos in the left hand side. Mata drove towards the center and let fly a thunderbolt from 20 yards out, Szczesny had no chance at all. It was 3-3 with ten minutes to go. The drama wasn’t over though, more calamity defending meant Arsenal went ahead for the second time in the match. In the 85th minute, a back pass from Malouda some how caused Terry to slip and allowed Van Persie a clear run at the goal. The Dutchman couldn’t believe his luck as he received the ball, but recovered in time to round off Cech and score his second of the match. Fans present at the stadium could have forgotten that they were watching a match between two top English side, it was more like a match between Oxford United and Port Vale.

Arsenal made their last substitution after this as Vermaelen returned to Premier League action replacing Gervinho. Arsenal scored again in the 92nd minute, it was a wonderful counter attack. Mata’s shot was blocked by two defenders, and Arsenal broke forward in numbers, it was four on two. Arteta moved forward with the ball from his half and then passed it on to Van Persie on the left channel. The Dutchman tried his luck, and his wicked shot beat Cech, who could only manage a finger on the ball. The Gunners finally managed to win a match away from home this season, and what a win it was.

Things we learned from this match –

  • Arsenal and Chelsea’s defending showed why Manchester City is likely to run away with the title this season.
  • Santos is great going forward, but equally terrible while defending.
  • Mertesacker will not make it to the starting line-up in Premier League matches when Vermaelen and Koscielny are fit.
  • Coming to Koscielny, he was the best defender on the park, he is the real deal.
  • Sturridge might not make it to the England Squad after all.
  • John Terry is starting to lose it both on and off the pitch.
  • Chelsea have to start looking for a replacement for Cech.
  • And finally, Wenger by all means has to extend Van Persie’s contract, even if that means breaking the bank.

Captain Vantastic!!

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8 Responses to “Chelsea 3 – 5 Arsenal – Post Mortem”

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  1. Usuck says:

    Holy shit!
    Are u serious dude, what a bunch of crap.
    A lot of bullshit conclusions from one single game.
    Do u really think Chelsea need to replace Chech because of a poor performance?
    And by the way Santos was proper the 2. half.
    U got some point but 2 much bullshit on this article.

  2. Naman says:

    Great match report.

  3. Vishal says:

    Hi,
    Goos description.
    But some points whose inclusion would have made it more complete
    1. When terry scored Arteta was standing behind the goalkeeper and came there from the near post !!
    2. Santos was reincarnated in the second half, even defending wise. In the first half, they were always breaking in from his side

  4. inder says:

    a Neutral’s point of view:
    1)Defending on both sides was terrible.especially considering what I’ve learnt to expect in English football. It is a little shocking that Chelsea were worse than Arsenal(if one were to take reputation into account.
    2)Tactically, I don’t think either side got it wrong(as opposed to the general opinion on twitter etc by Arsenal fans) but I guess the winner writed the books as he/she wishes.
    3)AvB did,however, make a few mistakes like you mentioned above in the choice of players starting. I would have thought Raul meireles would start and isn’t David Luiz faster? not to mention more suited to this new pass and move style of football that Chelsea are playing.(Being a Barca fan, I have to admit I was thoroughly impressed that both teams played good football)
    4)Considering that Arsenal have been playing great football for a while, I get this feeling that that was partially the reason that they edged Chelsea out of the game but I think it’s safe to assume the Blues will improve by next season with AvB.
    5)Although he made mistakes in selection. I have to admit AvB has the guts to make the right changes when required. Unforunately for him, his defense flopped and his offence wasn’t sharp enough.
    6)Daniel Sturridge in my opinion …flopped..BIG…again as a Barca fan..i kept seeing moments on the wing when all it required was a simple pass to the middle to get the ball into a dangerous position. If they want to play this kind of football, he has to be faster(in passing) and less selfish.
    7)Santos was terrible in the first half..but made up by scoring…all in all though..i have to agree that petr czech conceded two goals that could have been stopped(arguably).
    nice piece btw:) Cheers!

    • inder says:

      sorry for the typos…:)
      *writes

    • Aditya Sharma says:

      I think the reason he went with Ivanovic over Luis is that he needed one defender (other than Terry) to properly mark van Persie, and defensively even I would peg Ivanovic to be slightly superior to the inexperienced Luis .. Though of course, even Ivanovic turned out to be no match for the Dutchman

  5. Aditya Sharma says:

    If someone wants to know why people watch football, you should show them this match. Even beyond the goals, it was one of the most hard-hitting, nail-biting, full-throttle matches I’ve seen in a while..
    I think you’re being really harsh on some of the players. Cech wasn’t that bad in my opinion, and the Van Persie goal was more Malouda’s fault than Terry’s. Oh and how can you miss out Malouda, possibly the worst substitution AVB made. That guy (malouda, not AVB) is truly useless..
    I agree with you on that Mertesacker is not a top-level player. For someone his size, he neither dominates the attackers, nor does he consistently win headers. How the hell has this guy been in the German national side for so many years?

  6. Donna Van Oss says:

    Nice summary Amlan,yes the defense was comically insipid thru much of the match and the R.V.P. /Ivanovic tiff was adorable!…Still it was a hugely fun match to watch bodes while for some Gooner sucess despite loosing Fabregas”we Barca fans are now thrilled to have him”… MEOW on the Terry swipe:)