Questions were being asked before this one, largely from Arsene Wenger on whether or not we miss Didier Drogba. Well Arsene, the answer is ‘maybe, but we can still beat you without him’.
In fact, Didier Drogba wasn’t the only player we managed without because Frank Lampard, whose absence was only notable because our midfield seemed to have a lot more about it, must be reflecting on what he saw with some concern right now. Not that I would only be picking out Mikel and Ramires for special mentions after that game though because it was a genuine team performance with good games all round really. In the wake of a week dominated by the FA doing their best to wedge a spanner firmly in Chelsea’s works, our players responded with the sort of performance that suggests this team has got enough in its toolbox to rise above all that and get the job done.
After an opening 20 minutes where we were pretty dominant and Arsenal’s only threat from distance ended with Diaby doing more damage to himself than the Chelsea goal, Fernando Torres opened the scoring. Juan Mata’s free-kick flew just too high for Luiz to get his curly head on the end of it but Torres managed to stick his foot far enough around Koscielny to hit it in the top corner. And the Spaniard, who was as up for a game as we’ve seen him, might have had a penalty off Koscielny moments later (albeit a soft one) when he clearly felt more contact than the linesman could see.
Gutting then, to concede before the break and however good the turn and shot from Gervinho was, we really shouldn’t have been giving any Arsenal player the time or space to do that.
Arsenal were buoyed by that goal going into the second half, although not for long because courtesy of some dodgy Arsenal defending and a lovely free-kick from the brilliantly refreshed looking Juan Mata, Koscielny ended up all over the place in front of goal and the ball ended up in the back of the net. Petr Cech was up to anything Arsenal put his way after that, which was probably just as well at times although in all honesty, Chelsea had enough calm and assurity about them to see the game out and take three points away from the Emirates.
Overall then, a great team performance with everyone to a man standing up to be counted. Impressive or what??
ARSENAL: Mannone, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Diaby (Oxlade-Chamberlain 17), Arteta, Ramsey (Walcott 66), Cazorla, Podolski (Giroud 66), Gervinho.
Unused subs Martinez, Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Djourou.
CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz (Cahill 81), Terry, Cole, Mikel, Ramires, Oscar (Moses 73), Hazard, Mata (Bertrand 84), Torres.
Unused subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Lampard, Azpilicueta.
ARSENAL: Gervinho 42.
CHELSEA: Torres 20, Mata 53