Chelsea v Arsenal Fallout: Defensive blues blight Chelsea

For all the bluster about the rickety Arsenal defence going into Saturday’s game against the Gunners, Andre Villas Boas and his men would have done well to take a little glance in the mirror before they walked out onto the Stamford Bridge turf and committed defensive suicide.

Of course the symbol of Chelsea’s trouble at the back will be John Terry.  As the stricken Blues skipper lay face down on the turf while the irrepressible Robin Van Persie sauntered through to score the fourth goal and nudge the game in his sides favour.

There can be little doubt that Villas Boas has yet to come to terms with the job in hand. With ten games gone in the Premier League it would be churlish to judge him on his efforts so far, but the former Porto man who has a reputation for thoughtful introspection and forward thinking appeared a little rattled in his post-match interview as he wrestles to leave his mark on the side and get them pulling together. There is certainly an uneasy feeling around Stamford Bridge at the moment.

Chelsea’s defensive concerns are perhaps not as pronounced as the game would have you believe.  15 goals shipped so far in 10 games; not outstanding but by no means a crisis.  Where the problem arises is when you consider the defensive stability that has been ingrained in the club from the days of Mourinho – the Blues conceded just 15 goals overall in his first season in charge, a number that Villas Boas has met already.

And it is not just the amount of goals conceded at the back but the manner in which they are being shipped. David Luiz showed the eccentricities that mark him out as a special player can also be his downfall against QPR while against Arsenal both Terry and Branislav Ivanovic were forced to sprint back and make defensive blocks on a regular basis when Arsenal broke from defence; there is little chance Mourinho, Hiddink or any of Villa-Boas’ predecessors would be so gung-ho in allowing football shirts to swarm forward when it comes to defending.

There was of course a major defining factor in the game, and that was Van Persie.  In a game like this there was equally as much of a chance of Chelsea taking three points such was the chaotic lack of structure that is the trademark of the Premier League, and the discussion could have be surrounding how resilient Chelsea had been in holding off a rampant Arsenal side.

But the Dutchman was the difference in a wobbling, lunging game that required an element of composure to claim three points – something Villas Boas alluded to after the game.

Be that as it may, the issues at the back will persist. The calibre of player Chelsea have at the back is undoubted but defending is as much a confidence game as anything else, and Villas Boas must mould his back four into a cohesive unit, building from the back upwards to create a title challenging side.

The tools are there, and he has already proved himself an astute thinker, but there is still plenty of work for Villas Boas to do yet, and first and foremost he must ensure he does not build his house upon the sand.


Written by TCB reader Pete South


8 Responses to “Chelsea v Arsenal Fallout: Defensive blues blight Chelsea”

  1. To be honest our coach is the cost that made us to lose the match against Arsenal, he suppose to start Merriles and Anelka Ahead of Sturriage and lampard and he made anothe mistake by using bonsinkwa at the right back, and again he change Remires and make our midfield open thats why Arsenal trash us,
    this is what he suppose to use in that match.
    Peter C.
    Ashley Cole 3 Terry 5 Ivanovic 2

    Alex 6 Remeou 4
    Merriles 8
    Remires 10,
    Mata 11 Anelka 7,
    Torres 9
    If that our coach use this formation against Arsenal we would have beating them with far better. we i know is a young Guy i believe that he will lean from his mistake and stop using Bonsinkwa, Malouda and lampard, i believe that this Guy Remeou Has planty of Talent to introduce in that defensive midfield give him chance and let Mikel miss some match so that when next he has opportunity to play he will mean his business. Up Blues

  2. The solution is simple, Terry and Ivanovic should NOT play against the likes of United , Spurs and Arsenal he can’t handle their speed even my 10 year old can out run Terry. For me Luiz and Kalas are suited to the new style that AVB is trying to implement. AVB should also sharpen Torres if we press up higher our stikers must take every chance and score. Kalas and Luiz are very quick they can catch the likes of Van Persie. Kalas can stop any one when it comes to 1 on 1. AVB should also try 4-2-3-1 formation, best line up for me is: Atleast for the next season:

    or 4-2-3-1
    or 4-4-2

  3. Lets buy more players Man city have bought more than us its not fair when we bought more than anyone else we were good

  4. Don’t like Bosingwa. Put Ivanovic back at RB, or buy a better one eg. van der Wiel.
    Merieles should have started instead of Mikel.
    Romeu might be great but I wouldn’t be giving him a start in a London Derby, perhaps against Blackburn next week.

    I like AVB, he didn’t have his best game but I think the players should take the responsibility of the weekends result. Malouda’s pass and Terry’s lack of movement is appauling. I was angry at the goal conceded against WBA (Shane Long) and Alex’s defence on that occasion. Apparently lessons haven’t been learnt.

  5. All professional players should basically be able to play every week…whether against Arsenal….or Doncaster Rovers…
    In football you get results like this….you can’t win them all, you cannot be brilliant all the time, but consistency is the key and the result following this game will be more of a marker on how AVB is doing??
    Wait until Man Citeh get a similar they will and possibly the egos will be dented….but it is how they react that counts!
    On a personal note…I have never been a great lover of Terry…he can be and has shown how clumsy he can be on and off the field and earns far too much money for me….thus putting him on a pedestal to be shot at….but I am sure…he does not really care as long as his money is in the bank every week….changed days from the likes of Micky Droy and John Bumstead….who really played for the club!

  6. Please Mr. Dalglish, can we have Stevie Clarke back, please?

  7. So hard to see which players are the thorns. They all have great games then apauling ones. Seems like every team is evolving and were in a rut. We just need consistency. And learn this new style that no one knew better than us in 09/10.

  8. I hope the players learn from their mistakes ,they were too casual in defending,they lacked confidence and pace of tracking the arsenal attacking trio.IMO there were only two chelsea players that performed to perfection,lamps and Mata.we can’t be rotating the squad at all times,we need to stick to a starting 11 that is consistent before we rotate.Chelsea should be flexible in their tactics especially trying to employ the high line defence.there is the need to be selective of whether to use the high line depending on the opposition.Bosingwa is woeful at defending for me…he leads attackers all the time into our penalty area after being turned left right and front and back.he has no clue want to do when defending.I hope this us a good baptism for AVB. As some of his decisions against arsenal backfired,bringing malouda did help matters,(woeful pass to terry)taking Mikel off and conceding 2 goals.lukaku lacked confidence and didn’t do shit either.chelsea must learn and field consistent performers.