Gunners-Blues: 10 Conclusions Following Arsenal's Defeat to Chelsea

John SmithCorrespondent INovember 30, 2009

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29:  William Gallas of Arsenal challenges Didier Drogba of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on November 29, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

That wasn't very nice to watch. Not one bit.

Chelsea beat Arsenal for the second game in a row by three goals on its own pitch.

I've read lots of blogs, articles, posts, comments, and some essays about the magnificent performance of Chelski FC and their fantastic demolition of the Youthful yet Naive Arsenal FC.


Chelsea were mechanical and their structured, almost rehearsed, approach to the game was effective but certainly not explosive. Nor was it worthy of the amount of tortuous and ridiculous praise being posted on the world wide web this Monday Nov. 30, 2009.

They were good, but I don't think you can write Arsenal's title hopes off on that performance. 

So what can you do in light of their 0-3 loss to the blue bastards?

Cry? Yes. Weep? Of course. Swear? Strongly encouraged. Renounce your love for all things Arsenal including liking it Up the Arse? Certainly not.

Look, some things were evident to me yesterday that I think should be highlighted to ALL Arsenal fans in light of our awful loss. I'm going to do a little cheesy top 10 today, because I would rather just numerically list my misery rather than construct a sensible, fluid piece of poetic Internet bloggitry.


Conclusions to be drawn from Arsenal's loss against Chelsea FC

1. Armand Traore will be a good left back, but he is not yet defensively capable and was probably lucky not to be have been punished more for his poor positioning.


2. Eduardo da Silva is not ready to play the Centre Forward role for Arsenal. I would give him a one out of 10 yesterday. He needs to learn to turn and shoot. He tried to walk the ball past world class defenders on numerous occasions in the game against Chelsea.

Da Silva's pace was non-existent; John Terry chased him down. However, the most shocking thing about his performance was his touch. This player is supposed to ooze class and we Gunners (including myself) have raved about his classy touch, brilliant finishing ability, and his deft approach to the game.

He didn't show that versus Chelsea. On current form my assessment that Eduardo is a player of equal ability or talent to Berbatov is wrong. Eddie is not quick, strong, or tall enough, and he has not yet developed the distribution skills to play in Arsenal's fluid system.


3. Theo Walcott needs minutes. He was rough again. He reverted back to his old style of meandering wing play and failed to show any of his blistering pace or desire to beat his man and whip a low ball in across the box. I really like Theo.

I know people are unsure about him, but I think he's got the touch, finishing ability, and marvellous speed to be a top quality winger or striker. My first choice Arsenal 11 has him on the RW. However, he needs to start playing games to have a positive impact on the performance of Arsenal.


4. Gallas and Vermaelen are very good players. They coped with Drogba and Anelka commendably, and Didier scored a goal and Vermaelen had an OG. I think Bacary Sagna and Almunia are more culpable for the Drogba and OG respectively.

Sagna failed to deal with either of Ashley's crosses. If you get beat in that area, dangerous balls are going to be put in against you.


5. Gallas and Vermaelen are not John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho. I'm happier with our centrebacks than I have been since Sol Campbell and Toure were machines for the Gunners in our lead up to the CL Final in 2006.

Both are classy players with good pace and a wonderful ability to read the game. However they are not the rock solid defensive partnership that we need.

I know that defending is done by the entire team, and sometimes because of our probing possession game our CB's get caught man against man on the counter attack and consistently have to break up play. But how many times did we see Nasri or Arshavin put a ball into the box and Ricky or Terry just gobble it up?

Even when we got in behind their full backs, they just calmly swatted the ball away and let Didier or Nico try and do something special. Chelsea have been masters of the art of defending for years, and I think it starts with England's Captain and Ricky C (whom I think is the most underrated CB in the world).


6 . Song is one of our most important players. His withdrawal was a mistake yesterday. In theory, Denilson can provide a more attacking threat with his quick passing, long distance shooting—albeit a newly discovered talent—and ability to retain possession.

However, Song is not just a workhorse; he doesn't just tackle and give the ball five yards. Against Sunderland and Villarreal last season he showed his remarkable ability to turn on the jets and burst through the middle of the park, some speedy penetration was needed yesterday and dare I say it "I wish Diaby had been playing."


7. Rosicky has wonderful vision, and should definitely be put in the centre of the park with pacey forwards when we need a goal. He played sensual through ball after sensual through ball following his arrival playing perfectly weighted balls into the space for our pacey forwards to run on to.


8. Carlos Vela should play. In the short amount of time he was on the pitch he was FAR better than Eduardo. His pace was exciting, his touch an exponential improvement on the Croatians´ and his movement should not go unnoticed.


9. Almunia is a No. 2 goalie. He is a backup keeper and nothing more. I have said numerous times that he was bought as a backup to Jens, and that's where he should stay. LadyArse says today that we should play Fabianksi or Mannone because at least they will improve and gain something for the match experience and I can't really agree.

Yesterday he made one very good, top quality save. However, he was out of position for two of our three goals, his distribution—both his kicking and his throws—left a lot to be desired. He generally just lacked confidence. I'm not a fan. I never will be.

Stick in the young guys, they might be out of position a bit but they will do no worse than Almunia. At least with their youth they have a chance to lose their poor habits. For me, Almunia is a lost cause and will never be a top-four keeper.


10. Arsenal was too small. This doesn't require any further explanation. Almunia, Song, and Silvestre on the bench are the only players over 6'0". And they took Song off at halftime. I'm a big fan of both Nick and Diaby, and I think they missed their physical presence sorely at times yesterday.


11. Andrei Arshavin switches off for long period of time. Yesterday, he lay on the ground petulantly, didn't track back enough, and when a pass was misplaced, he gave up on it.

I could see Arshavin was frustrated, perhaps because he was getting closed down very quickly which prevented him from testing Cech from distance with a blistering long shot; however, you aren't always going to be the best player on the pitch without trying although he is magnificently talented.

Arshavin is expected to fill the role that Ljungberg and Pires once occupied. Both of them had better work rate than Andrei. I know he's sad about the World Cup, but he needs to get his head straight.

I put money on him for Player of the Season at the beginning of the year, but that bet is now dead in the water.


Okay, I know I said I'd do 10 but I had to throw in the bit about Andrei, mainly because I've thrown away a tenner on him and his patchy form.

It's not all bad—we've some excellent players in our squad, but I think that we are short of couple of athletes. Arsene Wenger always built pacey teams which were filled with strength, but right now it's hard to look at our team and say, "Wow that guy is a beast. Did you see the way he held off the CB and roofed the ball in net (a la Torres)?"

Song is obviously a beast, and while Cesc, Denilson, and Ramsey are all getting stronger, its hard to compare them to Essien, Obi Mikel, and Lampard, or even Ballack.

I also felt just plain old sorry for our forwards yesterday. I mean, if you stand Andrei, Nasri, and Eduardo up against Ivanoic, Terry, and Carvalho, you'd be forgiven if you had a cheeky snicker.

I'm not saying you can´t win without size, but it certainly helps.

Arsenal maintained excellent possession, and their darting movement and quick interplay was easy on the eye. But how many times did you see our players running into three big blue shirts? The spaces were closed down quickly by the Titanic Chelsea and it was tough to see how Eduardo or Vela was going to wiggle his way around Terry with Mikel breathing down his neck.

However, how many times did Terry or Cech hoof the ball up the pitch to Anelka or Drogs? How many times was my heart in my throat praying that Thommy V or Alex Song would deal with it? Often Chelsea´s direct style into the channels for pacey big forwards to take on Traore or Denilson looked extremely threatening.

Can we beat Chelsea? Yes. I think Nick and or Robin would have changed that game yesterday. Furthermore, I think the referee made an absolutely horrendous decision. Petr Cech does not have control of the ball.

Eduardo's foot is not in a dangerous location. If you are going to give a free every time the keeper is closer to getting the ball you are going to have a free every time a player challenges the keeper for a header.

I mean does the keeper just have to judge the flight of the ball and if he calls "Keeper's got it" then you have to clear out? I watched that goal yesterday several times, and I actually had no idea what the referee had blown for.

Terrible. Just woeful.

It's a shame that we need to talk about an awful decision of the referee every single time there is a big match, and its a shame that these decisions have gone against Arsenal this season since Eduardo's dive against Celtic.

I think Vela also had a shout for a penalty when his right knee was clipped, at least a free on the edge of the box. Yes, he was going down a bit easily, but I don't think it's his obligation to get out of the way of the leg of the player. He certainly didn't go down as Rooney when he was awarded a penalty against us earlier this season.

Rooney's dive, Adebayor's stamp, and this disallowed goal against Chelsea have been three huge events which in my opinion have completely changed the course of the game.

Before Arsenal scored that goal and for about five minutes afterwards, they were spanking Chelsea. If that had gone in, the stadium starts going mental, the players start breathing down Chelsea's necks, and it's a different ball game.

You could see the deflation in our player's postures when Arshavin's effort was disallowed, and I'll admit that I wasn't able to get over that decision until about the 60th minute.

The observant folk will probably reckon that I'm still not over that decision. Well I´m not. It's a bad one and one you would certainly expect to get at home given—which although is not an argument supporting the merit of the decision, it does reflect the way football sometimes goes.


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