Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea
Emirates Stadium, London
January 4th, 2018
The good Arsenal turned up today, and not the bad one that showed up at West Ham, Southampton, or West Brom.
I genuinely suspected it might, and I tweeted such pre-match. I don’t know, maybe it was a hunch, but a correct one nonetheless.
Chelsea look strong. but i'm feeling the same as i did in the Cup final. i just feel the "good Arsenal" will turn up tonight.
At the lest, i don't think we will lose.
— marblehallstv (@Marblehalls_TV) January 3, 2018
We showed the intensity that we had vs. our good friends in the Borough of Haringey, and in parts vs. Liverpool, and for most of the game vs. Man United.
A draw was possibly a fair result, as both teams played well, but I’m sorry we drew. With better finishing, and less mistakes at the back, we could have won this, and quite readily.
In both halves, it was end to end stuff. In the first half, Sanchez stood out for us, and had an excellent chance to score, though Courtois got a vital touch to the ball which hit both posts.
Morata should have scored for them, and overall missed a few sitters. Hazard went close for them also, and did Cesc. Though I will talk about our former mid a little later.
The second half was more of the same, with Morata again, Ozil, Lacazette, and Sanchez all going close. However, super Jack scored to beat Courtois, though our self-destruct complex kicked in again. If Arsenal was a living person, it would be a therapist’s dream.
Bellerin appeared to kick Hazard’s foot, and it was a penalty. Was it soft? Well no, since it was a foul, per the laws of the game. The Belgian scored, and cue the “Cech never saves penalties” cries.
They went in front with a low drive from Alonso, yet his compatriot and our boy Bellerin scored a late equaliser.
A fair result, since we both matched each other well.
Wow. That was another top game, akin to the Liverpool game in many ways. And none of the sideways shuffle we’ve seen in recent weeks. Boring, boring Arsenal? Not likely.
Our pressing, passing, attacking, and width were all top, and had we played this way at WBA, West Ham, and Soton, it would have been three wins all the way. And we’d be far higher in the league, for sure.
The defence was OK, but only OK. Morata had key chances due to defensive lapses, but Cech overall was strong.
Both midfields were weak, and this was due in my mind to mutual pressing and tackling. Our former boy Cesc and current boy Jack both got yellows, which signify the combative nature of the game.
We and Chelsea are on a similar level; though it’s evident they are better-coached and less prone to errors. They won’t retain the league, but it shows how good we can be, provided we lessen the inanity and sustain our attacking threats.
Cech (8) was strong, though should have saved the penalty.
Bellerin (8) had his best game for a while, and provided telling width in key times. His equaliser was well-taken, and he’s borderline man of the match.
Mustafi (6), Chambers (6), and Holding (6), were OK, but only OK. They all made important blocks, but made some individual and collective errors.
Maitland-Niles…wow. He handled Hazard well, and we have some player in the making. (8)
Jack (9) was great, and Xhaka (7) was OK too, as both nullified their numerically stronger midfield.
Ozil (9) was top and Alexis (8) also. Lacazette was muted somewhat, but then he had some good chances here and there (7).
Welbeck and Theo didn’t really have much time to affect the game (5 apiece).
Wenger (8) got it right tactically, but then this performance needs to be consistently executed. If it can be, then we would be going places. Next to City? Who knows? But we still, in my opinion, play the best football in the league. Tonight proved it.
Other notable mentions:
– Ozil – he’s improving greatly, and he showed the energy, drive, and impetus. He even put his foot in, which is something he needs to sustain.
– Alexis – apparently he doesn’t give a shit, but he didn’t show it tonight.
– Wenger – his tactics were fine, but it was a penalty. Kicking a player is a foul, period.
– Chelsea fans were signing “One team in London”…….only one team in London has won 30 major trophies, the most of any team in the city. And they don’t play in blue…they don’t play in white either. But it’s good that we have a mutual enemy, which greatly envies both of our global statures. As a clue to what I’m referring to, think “Kane calendar year….”
– Cesc – I heard some boos, but come on, he left years ago. And we had the choice to buy him back, but we didn’t. He still values Arsenal, and Wenger, and let it be. I’d take him back in a heartbeat, and he played well today, let’s admit that.
– With the proper tactical discipline and coaching, we have everything in place to succeed at the highest levels. We’re like a Ferrari that will kick arse, but is badly tuned, not cleaned, has a faulty transmission, and a bad exhaust. And has done for years. We only need a good mechanic to sort these issues out. Tonight will cause more frustration, since we should have won, but also denotes our potential.
Man of the match
I’ve doubted him, in a prior article on this site. But I can accept when I am wrong, and if he’s not in the England squad, then Mr. Southgate has some serious explaining to do. I’ll drive him to Russia myself (and not to the airport, but literally drive to Russia….)