Footballing premonitions scare the pants off of me, mainly because when the world gives me an indication that something good is going to happen, the exact opposite then usually happens.
While some might like seeing a huge bunch of Arsenal supporters before a big game, it gives me jitters. I definitely do not eat Italian food on the same day Arsenal are playing a Juventus or Inter Milan in the Champions League. Just seeing a man wearing red and looking chirpy on a match day can tip me over the metaphorical edge.
But there I was in what I considered to be a fairly neutral pub in America—where they prefer their football with a quarterback—when I saw Arsenal supporters everywhere. Groups of young Arsenal fans, families of Arsenal supporters, Arsenal supporters accompanied by bored girlfriends: you name it. And on the day Arsenal played Chelsea, what could be worse?
Somewhat predictably, Didier Drogba scored the first. He didn’t quite hit it through the eye of the needle, but it was a goal one needed to see in order to make sense of. The second, by the Brazilian defender Alex, was a real sucker punch—the type of goal that many goalkeepers couldn’t keep out.
Arsenal had dominated the second half and, save for a little killer instinct, could have gotten what would have been a deserved equaliser, but after the goal the game slowed down. Chelsea had won.
So what can Arsenal take away from this loss?
The first positive is that not many teams come to Stamford Bridge and do as well as Arsenal did against Chelsea Sunday. Even after Chelsea scored, an Arsenal of yesteryear may have let their heads drop and allowed Chelsea to rampage over them. This wasn’t the case, Fabianski and the defence were mostly solid, especially considering it was the first real test of the new centre back pairing of Koscielny and Squillaci.
Arsenal kept playing their passing game and were close on several occasions to breaking through the resilient Chelsea defence. Had Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh been more fluid in their forward play together, the outcome could have been very different. But it's early days for that partnership. Just think if Theo Walcott, Robin Van Persie, and Cesc Fabregas had been playing.
The second positive is that it is another difficult stadium that Arsene Wenger can tick off his list for this season. Starting the season at Anfield wasn’t ideal, but none of the teams sitting higher in the Premier League can say they have those games under their belt.
What Arsenal need to remember is that Didier Drogba is not an invincible being. He may have an outstanding scoring record against Arsenal, but not this Arsenal.
Drogba was able to outplay the likes of Senderos, but he had a far more difficult time against Koscielny and Squillaci. Hopefully he won't score next time, which might remove this "He always scores against Arsenal" stigma, which does wonders for Drogba, but is awful for Arsenal.
PS. Following on from my article last week, where I largely ignored what happened in the match and instead focused on saying that everything would be okay after the loss against West Bromwich Albion – feel free to read it here – this was its follow up, and may become part of a bad series, we’ll see.