Chelsea 3 – 5 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

I can’t quite recall but somewhere on the internet there was this discussion about the game that mentioned the possibility of Arsenal winning by outscoring Chelsea. Did you also read it? πŸ˜‰

What a game! Amazing. That’s how football should be. Both teams started with a very positive intent and carried on in exactly the same manner for the duration of the game irrespective of the scoreline changes. It was as beautiful as a work of art and more thrilling than anything Hollywood has to offer. Although Chelsea fans would probably prefer a comparison with a horror flick.

Both starting line-ups were fairly predictable and the systems very similar variants of the 4-3-3.

The opening minutes were frantic and Chelsea started strongly. The Gunners were caught by an number of runs in behind that appeared pre-planned even for a team that would normally look to make such runs. Ashley Cole was in acres of space around the Arsenal box twice within the opening five minutes while Sturridge too got into a dangerous position at the other flank.

The Blues couldn’t make it count as their final ball lacked quality and the Arsenal central defenders did a good job of tracking the runs. Arsenal full backs were looking terrible but the keyword there is ‘looking’. It was more a structural problem than an individual one albeit exacerbated by some mistakes.

The best chance of the opening minutes was created by Walcott after he skipped past Cole and delivered an inch perfect ball. Gervinho failed to hit the target from six yards. A minute or so later Theo put in another great cross but Van Persie couldn’t guide the bouncing ball towards goal.

In keeping with the dizzying pace and pulsating nature of the game, Lampard scored at the other end after a good cross from Mata. It seemed to me that Mertesacker was caught a bit out of position as he moved towards the near post and wasn’t able to get his head on the ball.

Chelsea continued finding space in the wide areas and created a number of other half chances. Sturridge missed a gilt-edged opportunity around the half-hour mark.

The Gunners were there or thereabouts in the attacking areas despite Chelsea dominating 69 percent possession in that period. Soon after, Van Persie eased the ball into the open net to equalize. The chance was created by an excellent run by Gervinho but more importantly via Ramsey’s delightful turn and through-ball.

Arsenal conceded a corner in the final minute before half-time. Many Gooners would have had that sinking feeling in the pit of their stomachs as Lampard sent the ball into a fairly regular area that the central defenders should dominate. Once again Mertesacker was just a bit off and allowed Terry to attack ball. Chelsea went in ahead at the break and few would have argued it wasn’t deserved.

I would love to know what Wenger said during the break. Arsenal came out with greater desire and confidence in the second half but more importantly the team was a lot more cohesive. An early leveller helped.

Three minutes into the second half Santos, who’d been extremely poor in the first half, scored after excellent work by Djourou on the right and a quick, accurate pass from Song.

There was no letting up though, as Szczesny came out of his area and fouled Cole who would probably have been clean through. The ref gave a yellow card as Koscielny was getting back towards the goal but a red would not have been unprecedented. I thought in general the ref was consistently lenient towards the physical aspects in a game that was feisty but never dirty.

With 55 minutes on the clock, Theo put Arsenal ahead with a wonderful, and somewhat comical, solo goal. The English winger came in from the right and appeared to fall after tripping himself. Cole stopped playing and raised his arms to claim innocence in the matter. Ivanovic and Terry switched off as they too probably looked at the ref. The ball remained near Walcott’s feet who got up and moved past the defenders in a flash, with quick footwork, before hammering it past Cech who was again beaten on the near post.

Subsequently, Arsenal dropped deeper and looked a lot more solid in defence as the wide players supported the fullbacks better. I thought it possible that Wenger would have instructed his speed merchants to look for gaps left by the Chelsea fullbacks which would have led to a more open game in the first half on both ends of the pitch. After taking the lead Arsenal looked a lot more assured and the full backs were fairly composed. Santos made a number of excellent tackles all through the second half.

Chelsea got the equalizer after Lukaku fouled Santos. The ref let play carry on as he’d done all day. Mata got into space in front of the defence and his strike probably benefitted from a deflection off Song’s desperate lunge.

Buy now Chelsea had brought on a number of attacking players and were looking for the winner. Arsenal had always been on the edge of breaking through on the counter.

The fourth goal for the Gunners though, was a result of a terrible pass from Malouda and an untimely slip by Terry near the centre circle. Van Persie’s composure was commendable as we have seen plenty of players waste such opportunities.

With the home side going all out in search for the winner, Arsenal fashioned further chances and secured the game with Van Persie getting his hat-trick. Cech again looked culpable but I thought all the shots he missed were fiercely struck and/or well-placed. The final one swerved just enough to miss the strong part of his hand and went in skinning the fingertips.

I liked the way Arsenal kept the ball and didn’t hoof it every time the opponents put them under pressure. It can get better but they are clearly making an effort. I also appreciated the way central defenders in particular tracked the runs of the attacking players. In the past we have seen Arsenal players stand with their hands up when opponents broke in behind but in this game they stuck to the runners and covered for the mistakes of their teammates.

While Chelsea were undoubtedly the better side in the first half, there can be no arguments against the result as the Gunners bossed the game after the break. In individual moments of significance, the Gunners showed better composure and quality. That was ultimately the difference between two very attacking sides.

Individual Performances:

Szczesny: Another shaky game from the youngster. Couldn’t have done much for any of the goals but his decision making wasn’t very good and flapped at a few balls into the box. But one might also say he did enough to push the balls away from danger areas.

Djourou: Space behind him was exploited time and again. It was more an issue of coordination and tactical clarity as he wasn’t beaten in one-v-one’s but was caught out positionally. Looked assured in possession and moved the ball well. Big part in the second goal. Not sure why he was subbed. Hope it’s not another injury concern.

Mertesacker: Made a number of crucial interceptions/tackles and won a lot in the air. But he was culpable for both goals and will have to do much better to dominate his area of the pitch.

Koscielny: Absolutely magnificent. Another world class effort from the Frenchman. Joint MotM in my book. Read the game better than anyone else on the pitch, decision making was spot on, got his foot in at vital moments time and again.

Santos: Seemingly a game of two halves for the Brazilian. Struggled when exposed in large spaces or when the opponents got a chance to run at him. But his tackling technique is unusual and rather effective. Did much better once he got some support. Well-timed run and good execution for the goal.

I thought the defence looked very poor but the individuals didn’t make that many mistakes. Certainly higher rated and better valued opponents made more. As I have said for close to two years, when a team plays with an attacking mindset, defenders are exposed and suffer. That doesn’t make them bad players. Nevertheless, there is more than sufficient room for improvement at the back tactically and in terms of decision making, attacking the ball, etc.

Song: Very impressive in the defensive areas, particularly in the second half. Made a good assist for the second goal after a number of disappointing attacking passes in the first half. His tenacity was integral to the relatively solid second half.

Ramsey: Joint MotM with Koscielny. Didn’t have many headline worthy moments but overall contribution was exceptional. The assist for the first goal was sumptuous. Work rate was unquestionable. Showed a great deal of intelligence on the ball. Can do even better but on the right upward curve.

Arteta: Another player who worked his socks off with an appreciable defensive shift. Played some very promising passes as well when the forward players got into space. Picked up an assist for the final goal, is that his first for Arsenal?

I thought the midfield was caught in a no-man’s land in the first half as the pressing wasn’t cohesive which allowed balls in behind rather easily. Once the team dropped deeper in the second half they helped the defence look compact.

All three played a part in sustaining possession under pressure, the importance of which cannot be overstated. All three also got an assist each.

Walcott: Another excellent effort from Theo. He is lethal when the opponents give him a bit of space. Cole used to dominate battles against Walcott when he used to play deeper and with supporting players but was ripped to shreds in an open game. Put in a number of dangerous balls, scored a fantastic goal, worked hard on the flank.

RvP: Immense. On another day he would have walked away with the match ball and the MotM. His movement and positioning is a pure delight. Finishing was top notch.

Gervinho: Excellent movement and good awareness for the assist. Missed a great chance and misplaced some passes, especially in the first half. Was always threatening when he got a chance to run at the defenders.

The attackers showed their quality as they got space to manoeuvre. Both teams missed some opportunities but Arsenal’s front three made the decisive contribution.

Subs: Jenkinson was fairly solid in the few minutes he got. Rosicky looked good on the ball and put in an energetic shift. Vermaelen didn’t have much to do.

Wenger: He was aware Chelsea were going to be very expansive and set his team out to exploit that. It wasn’t as efficient in the first half as one would like but got it right after the break. Deserves immense credit for believing in the players and motivating them despite such negative circumstances. Just like Coyle in midweek, wasn’t AVB another manager who was deemed better than Wenger?

Wonder what the ChelseaΒ  chairman will have to say about that. Will probably pass the buck I guess. At this point I must also say AVB deserves some time and the freedom to buy players he wants. I really liked the way Chelsea played. He needs more experience at this level to fine tune the details but the basics and attitude are there.

Arsenal are slowly and surely moving up with improved performances, better understanding, and indubitable spirit and determination. If you haven’t seen it already, do watch this speech that Arsene gave at the AGM.


37 Responses to Chelsea 3 – 5 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. Tim says:

    A magnificent game for the neutrals and, of course, for us. It would be churlish to focus too much on our first half deficiencies – we all know what they were. But what a great team performance in the second half. Robin may have got three goals, but this was about as far removed from a one-man show as you could get. And the next time people start questioning this team’s character, just remind them of this game. Twice behind, the second time on the stroke of half-time. Pegged back to 3-3 with just 10 minutes left. And yet who looked the stronger in the closing stages?

    No doubt Hansen will find something to moan about on Match of the Day tonight though!

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2011/10/29/high-five-for-arsenal-as-van-persie-shreds-chelseas-defence/

    • santori says:

      Hansen will probably go with the ” still not good enough for top 4 maybe top 6 because defending remains unconvincing ” trite.

      Then what about Chelsea or United?

      He’s bollox he is.

  2. ishan says:

    Ramsey didnt exactly give the assist but it was a delightful trhough ball to Gervinho nonetheless. Also appreciate the way he stayed up aafter Cole intruded him in the penalty area..

  3. VanTheManPersie says:

    THIS IS A DAY TO CELEBRATE…rather than look at our defeciencies…
    sure we can crucify mertesacker,santos and djourou…but not today…
    yes its all the familiar but that tells us there’s mroe to come…we have ppl comign abck who will strenghten us…cant say the same about chelsea’s defense…this is what changng coaches and the style of play drasticallyc an do to a club…
    ne one remember sam alardyce;s bolton? its time we think about adding chelsea to that list…after mourinho was disacrded to embrace a flambouyant approach they have had problems…u just felt they JT and company are not comfortable playing a high line that AVB wants them to play…the personel are not comofrtable with thsi style of play….its liek asking the old arsenal defense to play defensively.. too many personel among chelsea are used to playign the old way…remember the same could hapen to us..even worse if some ppl get theri wish and arsene leaves…only he can get hte best out of the personel we have at the moment… I feel AVB wants chelsea to play certain way which is not workign out…a similar story to the one at OT for chelsea…

    This was a day when the forward lien made the difference against to sides defending woefully…fair to say we held the edge…in form RVP over torres who looks a shadow of the player he was…
    Great effort by walcott too..not just the goal but the voer all play…will help him earn a good contract…competition for places or just playing against cashley cole….there’s somethng that rbought the best out of him…
    a word about arteta who for me was the only player on the pitch who did the basics right..i just remember oen occasion where he lost the ball..generally kept the play moving and provided defensive cover….just what we needed..
    Ramsey will only get better…some lung busting runs …

    This also shows that even in good or bad times…there are ot many teams that will get away when they try to outscore arsenal in an open game…discount the 8-2…we had many key players missing then..

    Just when u thought how can this get better last weekend…this weekend makes u wonder how unpredictable this beautiful game really is…

  4. leke says:

    Excellent write-up once again…..even though our deficiencies as a team are known to us..it’s better we focus on d positives…grt workrate,grt team effort n a grt result….we can only savour tnis moments as arsenal faithfuls knowin fully well that more wld definitely come
    Up Gunners

  5. sameep says:

    “Buy now Chelsea” had brought on a number of attacking players……

    is that a message to Chelsea from you Desi or an adjective or just a slip of finger on keyboard πŸ˜‰

    I don’t mind any πŸ™‚

    • desigunner says:

      Ha ha! Too many errors in the post today it seems. Lacking composure in front of the keyboard some would say. πŸ˜›

      • VanTheManPersie says:

        its pretty obvious what this win has done for the club..i thought the stoke review was earlier than usual by your standards…but this time you just couldnt wait to share the good news:) Just looking the players at the end celebrating with the away fans…I hope this will go some way to repair what the same fans had to witness in a few away games earlier in the season

  6. Nyambati says:

    A great response, I think Ramsey was fantastic, koscielny has of late spoken loud that he is the one to partner TV5, Walcott can be our ‘messi’ and santos is a winger and not full back.

  7. OBA says:

    Yet another great analysis. Not always
    A perfect game, yet a glorious win in such
    A place as chealsea. Its time Wenger should
    Make the players work their socks off more.
    We need to keep the momemtum going.
    Another win over Marseil & WBA is much needed

  8. Kanai says:

    What we are seeing is a settling arsenal team that will be better with the return of jack, diaby and sagna.

  9. raj says:

    In the first half defence was poor, but that’s because players were familiar with their makeshift roles. Djourou, was not doing his work properly, and was easily exposed by Cole. In the second half he got his act together, and was working as a right back. Santos also improved in his defensive duties. They were more solid at the back, only the blind ref let a clear foul off for Chelsea, which was why they scored. I have seen Arsenal’s games so far, when I saw them in the second half, I didn’t think Chelsea would score. I so glad that we got the lead back, as i was thinking another bad ref decision costing us the game. When the Chelsea manager said last week the ref was biased, as he saw one side fouls and not the others. I have felt like that for a lot of Arsenals games this season so far. I saw the ref giving free kicks and yellow cards for fouls Arsenal did, but not the opposition. But this was a good solid performance by Arsenal Today, It reminded me of the unbeatables. Performances like this again and again, and may we may win all 4 trophies.

  10. FoolishgooNer says:

    Yes I read that too! Somewhere….. ?. High scoring it was….. Theo played proper RB second half which helped Johan and invited Cashley Cole then he indeed ripped him to shred…. I love that game plan ( not over extending our full backs) Both goals were Per not communicating and Santos not attacking the ball ( he got to get better at that)…. The third was a foul (NBA boxing out rebound style) Ref was fair fairly… Lol. Gervinho/Ramsey/Arteta where everywhere…. Helping Santos and providing runs and assists for the captain. Song slappy at times but crusial as usuall.. Kolcheny MOTM for me… He had torres in his back pocket..,, Over all a shout out…. I will take thank you very much..,, in Stanford bridge so much for the away form… Jenkins/Vermealen/Rosicky should start mid week. Hope we stay healthy I want full squad against Man city… CC November 29.

  11. Steve says:

    How come koscielnys so good all of sudden looks world class as for the lercher dismal bring back the verminater.as for rvp best in the world

    • VanTheManPersie says:

      merteacker did read the game well apart from the two instances…everyone of the back four suffers from lapses in conc ..one minute they are brilliant the next mintue they do something kos did against bmngham..admit he’s on astrong run now…everyone needs to still improve and continue the hard work…but thats the good part…eveyone would agree arsenal is no where near their best andnwe beat chelsea 3-5…what does that tell you…am happy not just because we won but because we can easily do better than this…finger’s crossed for RVP

    • cupsui says:

      He is not good all of a sudden, he is a great player, i have been saying it since his arrival, yes its definitely his best run of form, but he was very good in the 2nd half of last year and now he is showing why wenger and arsenal scouts hunted him so hard. For me he is one of the best in the league…all the attributes, great leap, incredible reader of the game, great pace and acceleration that really help him, determination, self confidence (which has grown a lot) and timing of the tackle is impeccable!!
      I’m getting that #6 on my shirt! he da man!

  12. Rejoice says:

    Desi, when I read your pre-match analysis this morning, I said I was hoping for a great display and good result-that’s what happened. I told everyone in my office and at the mechanic this morning that Chelsea would fall to the guns at the bridge. That was the only mentality I had till the final whistle.

    unfortunately, I followed the game on goal.com, cause I couldn’t watch it.

    i celebrated this victory as if we had just won the champions league-the trophy I want us to win the most.

    Forget the defensive mistakes today. If a bad defense let in 3, what would you call a defense that let in 5 from a bad defending team?

    Good enough, the next 4 games look winnable-WB, Norwich etc.

    This is the sweetest victory of the season so far for me. Wonder what the critics would say?

  13. Saanil says:

    Am I dreaming?? Or did Arsenal just went to Stamford Bridge and scored 5 goals to hand Chelsea their 2nd consecutive defeat? Ohh it is the latter. I think Arsenal fans have never been so happy for the past 2 years. After the terrible start to the season, Arsenal have somewhat retained their position in the league! As far as the game is concerned it was a terrible display of Defence all around. Mertesacker was the culprit for the two initial goals. The 3rd goal – well Mata was given too much time on the ball and he superbly shot the ball into the top left corner. RVP continues to be in sublime goal scoring form. I could not have imagined a win like this even with Nasri and Fabregas playing. Well of course Terry helped us a lot in this match. This season is really bizarre – Arsenal losing 8-2 at OT, ManUtd losing 6-1 to City at OT, Arsenal defeating Chelsea 5-3 at Stamford. I am sure all Arsenal fans were expecting a draw to be the best result for Arsenal in today’s match. I know we won but still want to highlight areas of improvement for Arsenal:

    1. DEFENSE – We won today because Chelsea’s defence was equally bad. Mertasacker needs to be more careful in set pieces. Koscielny is super strong at the back covering for others too. Santos was terrible in the 1st half but his strike in the 2nd half was a good way to make up for the mistake. I am still not convinced of his defending though he is very good going forward. We need Sagna back immediately. Djourou was uncomfortable in that position and Ashely Cole made good advantage of this in the first 15 minutes. Mertesacker is not that bad. He just needs more games. Remember that he comes from a different league! Remember Koscialny last season? Everyone was making fun of him in the initial matches saying he was trash – but look how he is playing now! All Mertasecker needs is more time. Now the problem is Vermalaen has come back. We can play either Kocs-Merta pair or the Kosc-Vermalean pair. Vermalaen needs more games to regain his match fitness. I would prefer Vermalaen to play with Kocielny – Faster, can head balls better, already has PL experience. Mertesacker can play in Carling cup/FA cup along with Djourou. If any of our first choice defender is injured Mertesacker can replace him.

    2. ATTACK – Yes RVP scored 3 but we still need to improve our attacking. Players not attacking when given the opportunity and always looking for the ultimate pass. Arsenal taking corners is a waste of time – I think they have not managed to score even once from a corner – not a good thing. A player like Mertesacker can be a great asset in such situations but Arsenal has not taken advantage of his height. Time and again the right backs cross the ball in the box and there is no one to head those. Playing long balls is one aspect Arsenal is lacking. But as far as I know Wenger he will do nothing to strengthen this aspect of football because according to him it is not attractive football. Walcott scored a great goal but he can be more threatening. He should use his biggest USP, his pace, more effectively.

    3. MID-FIELD – Ramsey had a mixed game today. He lost possession on a number of occasions but was good going forward too. But he has to show consistency. Song was exceptional for me today – was impactful in going forward but helped the defenders too. Arteta could have come on the score sheet had RVP made a pass to him in front of the goal which did not happen. (I am not sure if many people noticed it). I am just waiting for Wilshere to return.

    4. GOALKEEPER – I am not talking about Scheszy but about Fabiasnki. Fabianski is just not good enough. He never looks confident and always looks like will make a mistake. Wenger has to get rid of him in January and bring someone who can be a worthy replacement for Sceszny who has been rock solid this season. Remember that if Sceszny gets injured Arsenal will be doomed with Fabiasnki as a goalkeeper. Wenger are you listening?

    I was angry when Jenkinson was brought one in place of Djourou. I know Djourou was not that good in the 1st half but he was getting better in the 2nd half was beginning to settling in. Plus Jenkinson is too young to play in these situations. Since Benayoun was restricted to be played in this match, Rosicky was the next best substitute. This week again was a great week for Arsenal fans. Wenger has to make sure we continue with this momentum of ours.

    • cupsui says:

      i dont know if you noticed but we just beat chelsea 5-3…you are allowed to be happy and if you’re disappointed with that attack you’ll never be happy!!

    • CaveGun says:

      Maybe you could coach some day. On Jenkinson, how best do you want a player like him to gain experience in big games? When u don’t play him? I thought he handled the pressure well. Chelsea didn’t attack well enough to trouble him. To be honest, they looked clueless up front.
      About crosses, i can’t recall as many crosses from the lads into the Blues’ box. We scored all 5 by passing the ball, on the ground into the net.
      Let’s dwell on positives. You first win a game in your head, you need to have the mental strength to pull yourself to fight and the boys showed. Its incredible, coming back twice at Stamford Bridge and taking the lead twice too. The boys showed good resolve. Some seasons back we would have given up at 2-1 or 3-3. Please I appreciate your 2 cents but lets not becloud the excellent result with negativity.
      Thanks

  14. ifeanyi says:

    Legroove i read yur immidiate past post after the match, yur confidence was terrible as you termed a win for arsenal a dream, gud to see dreams come through beyond words

  15. Finnish Hit says:

    Most commentry everywhere seems to comment that the defenses were “bad”. But I think the offense on both sides was excellent. Magnificent individual skills displayed for goals number 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8.

  16. kezie says:

    Preffered team for champions league

    Sczensy
    Jenkinson, Djourou, Vermalean, Santos
    Song, Arteta
    Benayoun Arshavin Rosicky
    Chamackh

  17. irish gooner says:

    ANOTHER GOOD WALCOTT performance is a bit rich,,,he was ok

    • Alex says:

      you kidding? Walcott put in a fantastic shift!! it will certainly go a long way to silence the criticism from the last few appearances.

      • santori says:

        This is the Walcott that we want to see.

        Some excellent deliveries and commitment going forward, no arm waving, particularly when he was tripped up, which resulted in the goal.

        Fantastic!

  18. Ajinkya says:

    Walcott always steps up against Chelsea, He wasup against them last time, he did it again., and needs to continue with such performances. Koscielny is massive in big games. Per was a bit off in the first half but was still winning balls. He must not be denied credit, we have been defensively superior since he has arrived. He is good at positioning and just needs to attack the ball more.
    Did Song laugh when Terry went down?

    • cupsui says:

      i laughed!!

      i’m really glab for theo cause he showed his class, just needs to pick up the consistency, i think wenger is starting to work out when best to ustilise walcott, arsharvin and co. this was definitely theo’s type of game!!
      It has been disappointing to see theo get so slammed on the blogs, and he always does because too many buy the tabloid rubbish, sure he had a few off games but he didn’t get any service in those matches either, today he did and look!
      p.s. RvP you are a god!
      p.p.s. its been amazing over the last month (post internationals) watching ramsey grow in confidence, this is a HUGE HUGE asset! he is truely the most creative player we have and his potential is growing again, looks like he is starting to finally get over the mental side of his leg break!!

  19. santori says:

    Two poor mistakes on our part and one half decent goal by Chelsea but in the end it did not Mata as their defense was absolutely Terryble.:D

    I agree with Desi that Ramsey was crucial. I said earlier pre-match that a lot will depend on Ramsey having a massive game. Absolutely chuffed that he is heading in the right direction.

    This is a team that will only start to get stronger. You can see what it’s done for confidence particularly at the end with the celebration.

    Massive win for us (with Vermaelen and Jack yet to fully return)

    I think 4th place (minimum) by Xmas is not a tall order.

    Good to see the fight in this team.

    How excellent is RVP? What an asset. If we can beat Chelsea on home soil in this manner with the ‘shite’ team that we have, we can beat anyone in this league.

  20. BarDel says:

    Love the attitude coming out of the team! Huge win! I haven’t had this same feeling of pride and confidence in the team since the 2-1 victory against Barca earlier this year.

    Big credit goes to the manager. His speech at the AGM was class.

    In Arsene I most definitely trust!

  21. As always God is right again πŸ™‚

  22. zaragooner says:

    God is watching football!!!

  23. zaragooner says:

    i mean God is back watching football..gah..

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