Our first away win of the season came at long last, and surprisingly this was accomplished at Stamford Bridge, and done with the help of RVP’s hat trick, which is no mean feat, according to Robin Van Persie himself. Kudos to the man for scoring 27 goals in 26 games this year already! Match reports are available here.
The game itself was a delight for the neutrals, with both teams attacking from the word go. It was end to end stuff, and it could have easily ended 3-3 at half time if not for the profligacy of both teams.
The first half was an example of everything wrong with Arsenal. Not killing off chances , poor defending and poor mental state was also present. For Lampard’s goal, Santos was committed too easily, and allowed Mata to skip past him and cross into the box. There, Mertesacker, who had a poor game yesterday, failed to mark Lampard properly, and also failed to head the ball away. His missed interception resulted in Lampard scoring a simple header into goal. 1-0 Chelsea.
We tried to fight back, and should have done it promptly, when Walcott played a good pass into Gervinho, but the Ivorian contrived to blast his shot wide from 5-7 yards out. Following that, even Van Persie himself was guilty of siding footing an effort over the bar despite being unmarked after being dealt a wonderful cross by Walcott. However the ball was slightly high, and harder to steer towards goal I guess, still you expect Van Persie to at least hit the target when he is open.
However, we finally made one shot count, when Ramsey (bless him) played a nicely weighted ball to Gervinho who managed to beat the offside trap, and the Ivorian unselfish play saw him pass the ball to Van Persie on his left. Van Persie being unmarked picked his place and slot the ball beyond Cech. 1-1 Arsenal.
Then again, our deficiency was there for everyone to see. Just before half time, Mertesacker failed to head away a corner into the box, and Terry’s weak header somehow managed to find it’s way over the line. Poor poor defending from our supposed aerial commander. 2-1 Chelsea.
So we went into the break trailing, some might say deservedly so. However, the team came out for the second half and it was a marked improvement.
We pressed immediately upon the restart, and Song made good work to pass the ball through to Santos, who skipped clear of Chelsea’s defense and finished past Cech. 2-2 Arsenal.
Usually when we score, we somehow seem contented to relax. Not this time. Out of nowhere, Walcott, who was supposedly fouled as he fell over outside the box with ball. However, referee gave nothing, and the ball bobbled behind the Chelsea defenders. As all the defenders stood rooted expecting a free kick or so, Walcott got up, and with lighting speed latched on to the ball and his finish beyond Cech oozed of composure and class. Brilliant goal, don’t think it was planned though. 3-2 Arsenal.
Now we have the lead, and perhaps its a testament of this not being the same old Chelsea, pressing on and making us crumble under pressure, that it was relatively comfortable for a while. We also must commend Koscielny, who had a good game, and marshalled the defense with aplomb and managing to keep Torres relatively quiet.Then Chelsea equalised. It was a beautiful goal really, as Santos was fouled / lost the ball, and Mata shot from outside the box to volley one over Szceszny. Better defending could have helped I supposed, but the finish was of quality. 3-3 Chelsea.
At this time, I was really down, I told Mrs B to get me more lager, and was prepared for the onslaught to come and watch Arsenal crumble as before. Surprise surprise, fate had other ideas in mind. Terry was supposed to receive a back pass, but slipped and RVP was on to the ball instantly. Behind enemy’s line, with only Cech rushing out to face him, our skipper calmly took the ball around Cech and slotted it into an empty net. GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL. I was delirious. I couldn’t believe it, this was to be our day! 4-3 Arsenal.
Chelsea pressed, and I was praying fervently for it to end already. But RVP had other ideas in mind, a Chelsea corner was cleared and Arsenal broke free, with 4 of our players up there. Arteta passed it to RVP, who raced down the left and this time took a shot just inside the top left corner of the box. Cech got his hands to the ball but the ferociousness of the shot saw it deflected only into the net. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL. 5-3! OH MY GOD! RVP! I LOVE YOU! I DO!
So it ended 5-3 to the Arsenal. After the match, Arsene says that the win was good, as it helped us clipped 3 points off CL spot contenders, and also gave us a good boost in confidence. You have to agree, and even though there were plenty of faults in the game, I would rather bask in our finest win of the season, and perhaps year, so far!
7 wins in our last 8, surely that bodes well for the team. However, I caution all fans to be grounded, as should be the team. We are rising, but it could all come down just as easily the minute we lose focus. Our real test, begins right now. It was a good win, and we can use that win against Chelsea as a platform to show the rest of the league that Arsenal means business.
Hopefully, the players understand what it means, with them running to the players and celebrating as though they won the title. It was nice to see, and could be reality if they keep up the wins ( I won’t say performance there were some poor showings yesterday ). 5-3. WE LOVE YOU ARSENAL! Next bring on Marseille! Anyway, please watch this video and enjoy the players reciprocating the fans love!
Szczesny – Made one good save against Lampard’s freekick, but could just have easily seen red for fouling Cole for the aforementioned free kick. Furthermore 3 goals conceded doesn’t speak well of a goalkeeper. 5.5 / 10
Djourou – Struggled in the beginning, and was tormented by Cole and Torres. However, gradually improved into the game. 6 / 10
Santos – Rubbish game, saved by his fine goal. Keeps losing the ball too easily, and was guilty of mistiming his challenges that it resulted in two goals twice. Shouldn’t be allowing players to skip past him so easily, especially at this level. 6 / 10
Mertesacker – Another poor player. Was guilty of two mis-timed headers, which resulted in the first two goal. However, I will give him credit for making superb tackles to shackle Lampard and Torres. 5.5 / 10
Koscielny – Growing hugely important. Marshalled the defense superbly, getting stuck it and keeping Torres quiet. Good reading of games to intercept balls and not letting anyone bullies him off the ball. Loving him as more games are played. 7 / 10
Arteta – He is a silent killer. He does his job effectively, getting ball, keeping it, and passing it to players who can make things happen. Passing completion rate was 94%, and is on his way to becoming our midfield general.7 / 10
Song – Good job in marking Mata, and keeping him quiet in the second half. Made good work to wriggle free and make a brilliant pass to Santos for the second goal. 7 / 10
Rambo – Gave a good account for himself. Made good runs, and passes are becomingly increasingly Cesc-like. Liked his energy and effort much. 7 / 10
Walcott – Surprisingly good game from the lad. His passing was good, and used his pace to good effect yesterday. Tracked back to help Djourou in defense at times too. His goal out from nothing was really exceptional, and credit must be given for his fine finishing. 8 / 10
Gervinho – Missed one good chance, but was all over the final third yesterday, causing Chelsea’s defense all sorts of problem. Good unselfish play when he provide RVP with the first goal. 7.5 / 10
RVP – I am running out of laxative to describe our captain. Hat trick, winning goal, RVP, period. Not a perfect 10 because of his stupid yellow card. 9 / 10
Jenkinson, Rosicky and Vermaelen all gets a 6 for effort and ensuring victory, but they had pretty much nothing to do having come on late.