Three points were a must. For both sides but with the most unpopular man in West London coming under increasing pressure after a run of poor results at home and United already almost out of sight, a win would go a long way to shoring up our Champions League spot and restore some confidence to the team. Things could hardly have started any better. Dominating possession and pressing Arsenal all over the pitch. Mata gave us an early lead after a superb piece of control and a wonderful and a cheeky finish. Arsene Wenger cried foul when Coquelin was pulled to the ground by Ramires in the build-up but the fact is Arsenal weren’t at the races for 45 minutes. To be fair to them, they had a decent chance before Mata gave Chelsea the lead but Giroud missed the simplest opportunity. How different the game might have looked if a certain Dutchman were still on their payroll!! A hattrick is of the list then..pheww!!!
Lampard scored his 195th goal for the club from the penalty spot after Ramires was brought down in the box by Szchezny. Replays may have showed Ramires made sure he went over Szczesny’s outstretched limb but live it looked a stonewall penalty and once given the goalkeeper should’ve been sent off. One fortunate decision each but 2-0 to Chelsea.
The atmosphere inside the ground was brilliant throughout the first half and with Ramires and Lampard completely dominating the midfield Hazard, Oscar and Mata had ample opportunity to keep the Stamford Bridge faithful happy. Vermaelen had Torres in his pocket but that wouldn’t have surprised anyone that hasn’t been in a coma for the last three years. He’s been in more pockets than a Romanian gypsy operating in the West End. It really does seem that while some supporters are critical of the booing of Torres we can all agree the fact that he’s finished.
I actually felt quite relaxed at half-time. It was bloody short-lived though as we were out-fought, outplayed and second to everything after the break. Mata had a poor second half. Hazard and Oscar were unable to influence the game. Lampard, who had showed great drive in the first half faded. Ramires put in a huge shift but when you’re under pressure and struggling to retain the ball Obi Mikel’s simple passing and upper-body strength are probably what’s required. Unfortunately he’s on a different continent.
Rafa will never be popular but he is the subject of much debate. If he’s responsible for the poor displays isn’t he as responsible for the good ones goes the argument. That’s a logical position. It makes sense but what really characterizes his tenure is inconsistency. From the sublime, to the ridiculous and back again. Beat Stoke 4-0 away. Lose 1-0 to QPR at home. Yesterday’s game was a microcosm of that form. That’s my problem with Benitez so far. Sure at times the players haven’t been good enough but we know they can be good enough.
Yesterday wasn’t really a day for moaning though. We best Arsenal. Gained a little ground on United. Kept pace with City and extended our advantage over the other teams seeking to secure a Champions League spot for next season.
“Robin Van Persie, he left cos you’re shit!” ringed around Stamford Bridge.
GOOD NEWS FINALLY:
Ashley Cole has agreed an improved deal that will see the Chelsea left-back put pen to paper on a one year contract extension which will reportedly make the England man the best paid defender in world football according to the Daily Mail.
The 32 year old will earn £200k a-week and the deal will be announced before Chelsea’s Capital One Cup semi-final return leg with Swansea City this week. This source rightly points out the merit of offering the former Arsenal man such a deal over the costly search for a replacement this summer.
Cole’s current deal was set to end this summer and as is Chelsea’s policy with new deals for players over the age of 30, only a rolling one year deal was made available to the talented full-back. Ashley Cole is into his seventh season at Stamford Bridge and has racked up 284 appearances over that period, winning a host of honours including a Premier League title, four FA Cup triumphs and last season’s Champions League success to boot.
- Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal: Match report, pictures and video highlights (thesun.co.uk)
- Chelsea v Arsenal: live (telegraph.co.uk)
- You: Chelsea: Why Ramires Was the Difference Maker for Chelsea (bleacherreport.com)
- Blue steel: Mata and Lampard fire Chelsea to victory as they survive late Arsenal onslaught (mirror.co.uk)
- Chelsea vs. Arsenal Tactical Analysis: Blues hold off Gunners second half charge (soccerwithoutlimits.com)