Monday, 4 October 2010

Where it all mattered Arsenal failed: the final third

I was very hopeful going into this game that we'd take something from it. It seems like wishful thinking now, considering our record against Chelsea in the past few seasons.

But I really thought the Arsene Wenger class of 2011 would do better than those of previous years. After all we didn't have the players at the heart of the central defence who had been bewitched by Didier Drogba. 

Koscielny and Squillaci dealt with the Ivorian for much of the first half without incident. But he's a player who cannot be underestimated and so it proved prior to half time when he got his name on the score sheet (13 in 13 against us - some record).
Could Koscielny pushed Droga wider so the angle to goal were more acute? Possibly. But Droga had half a yard on the central defender and for all his good work handling the Chelsea forward line, Koscielny doesn't yet seem to have that upper body strength to have pushed the striker wide.

Plus the shot, beating Fabianski at his near post, was guided in off the goal frame. I'm not sure really there was much which could have been done.

The game had started so brightly for us and we should have taken the lead with Marouane Chamakh's header inside the opening minute - had his effort been on target.

It might have been had it not been deflected for a corner. To which the ball is played in to the centre of the goal where Koscielny is waiting ready to score.

However the Frenchman had mistimed his run and can only place the ball over the bar from a few yards out.

Arsenal's pressing game had worked well. I thought we had the better of them in midfield and it showed when we were snapping into tackles and winning the ball back.

The one area we seemed to slightly let ourselves down in was winning the second ball. Too often it seemed to fall to a Chelsea player rather than find its way to a red shirt.

I thought that Alex Song might have been playing too far up the pitch at times, leaving Jack Wilshere and the defence exposed. Our new formation with two midfielders starting from a deeper position allows for more cover when we are protecting our back four.

What it doesn't allow for is a player to wander up the pitch and leave those behind him with a stampede from the opposition midfield.

Heading towards the break I felt a goalless draw was perhaps harsh on us considering Chelsea hadn't even tested Fabianski and then along pops Drogba and we all know the rest.

Arsenal bossed the opening of the second half. We had an incredibly good spell with the ball and in between the two boxes were the better of the two teams.

It comes down to the final third though were we continue to let ourselves down. Perhaps had Robin Van Persie been playing we would have had a player who could do what we wanted Chamakh, Arshavin and Nasri to do and put a shot on target (just three between them).

And that's where the difference lay between the two teams.

Chelsea had two goals from their seven shots on target. Arsenal failed to score from their four attempts on target at getting the ball past Petr Cech.

More clinical and we may have had a different game on our hands. But unless this Arsenal side becomes more ruthless, we'll be in this position again this season. Being the better team and losing the match.


  1. Arsenal flatter to deceive. They play five-a-side-style football in a small area of the pitch and it doesn't work. Elsewhere on the field, they are ordinary in the extreme. That small area, a band about twenty yards deep in the third quarter of the pitch is where they play their five-a-side flicks and short passes and if it's not working for them there, they have nothing else to offer. Hence, they win nothing year after year.
    Arsenal fans deceive themselves too. They are watching football fit for a small indoor arena, with small goals and boards to bounce the ball off. It really is quite pitiful. And Wenger gets the credit for that.

  2. why am I not seeing a praise for Fabianski for doing all the rest of the savings besides the goals (on which he could have done not much).....really he was outstanding for me......

  3. I don't believe we are that far off to be honest wrightanswer. Chelsea were missing Lampard, but we were missing the spine of our team: Vermaelen, Fabregas and Van Persie.

    We will win something this year. I'm sure of that.

    And I agree with you Ethiopian Scientific and Academic Network Google group, Fabianski had a good game.