Arsene Wenger's Stubbornness Paved the Route for Arsenal Defeat to Chelsea

Mr XSenior Writer IOctober 6, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01:  Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal reacts during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Arsenal FC and Galatasaray AS at Emirates Stadium on October 1, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

The strangest thing about Chelsea's and Jose Mourinho's win over Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal team is that it went exactly as predicted. The match was almost a perfect example of how to win a game as if painting by numbers. But it begs the question: Surely Wenger must have been able to predict this too?

In the run up to the game, almost every football writer, pundit and analyst predicted a Chelsea win. In fact, the dogs on the street could have told you the Blues were red hot favorites to heap yet another defeat on their north London-based rivals.

Arsenal were best priced at 17-4 to win at Stamford Bridge according to Oddschecker. Considering the Gunners were, just seven games ago, tipped as title contenders, along with Chelsea and Manchester City, this was a massive price. The irony in this price is that the Gunners conceded 17 and scored just four against the Blues, City and Liverpool, all teams in the top four, last season.

In truth, the 17-4 odds were incredibly generous. 

Heading into the game, a quick look at the facts would have told you Chelsea were unlikely to lose. In 11 games against each other, Wenger has never beaten Mourinho and the Blues have not lost to the Gunners since 2011, a run of six games. During that run, Chelsea have scored 12 and conceded just two. This, of course, includes the 6-0 mauling at Stamford Bridge last March.

Ask anyone to describe a Mourinho team and pragmatism, efficiency and organisation are sure to be mentioned. The same cannot be said of any Wenger team over the last decade.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05:  Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates scoring their second goal with Cesar Azpilicueta and Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on October 4, 2014 in Lo
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Chelsea's current team possesses the best defensive unit in the Premier League, a midfield packed with skill, speed, guile, tenacity and the most lethal centre forward in England in Diego Costa. They are the ultimate Premier League predator and can beat teams in a multitude of fashions. 

The Blues can trade blows in end-to-end contests, play rope-a-dope and sucker you in before unleashing devastating counter attacks or drag you out into the deep waters and punish you relentlessly before pulling you under.

Mourinho is a master at choosing the correct system of battle for the correct occasion.

Arsenal, on the other hand, only know one way to play. 

The point here is that everyone knew how Chelsea would approach this game, what their game-plan would be and how they would go about trying to beat Arsenal.

Everyone, that is, except Arsene Wenger, apparently. 

Let us not get bogged down by Le Prof pushing Jose and showing how passionate and how wronged he feels his team were or by the two men acting like children and refusing to shake hands after a playground squabble.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05:  Managers Arsene Wenger of Arsenal and Jose Mourinho manager of Chelsea clash during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on October 4, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Bot
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

This is misdirection at its very best. Wenger knows that Mourinho has his card and this was little more than a pantomime for the crowd.

It takes away from the real point at hand.

Why the Gunners boss chose not to make some slight adjustments to his setup is beyond words.

Chelsea are the team to beat this season, but they are not invulnerable. Discipline is key and cheap fouls should not be given away. Are you reading this Laurent Koscielny? The Blues leave gaps behind their full-backs when attacking and this space can be exploited in counter-attacking situations. Mobility in defense is also an issue.

Arsenal never really tried to expose Branislav Ivanovic or Cesar Azpilicueta on the flanks and, most certainly, never moved John Terry from his defensive high-ground at center-half.

If anything, they capitulated in midfield like everyone thought they would and showed their former captain, Cesc Fabregas, why Chelsea was the right move this summer.

Like General Melchett in Blackadder, sending his troops over the top to guaranteed defeat, Wenger is guilty of doing the same and sticking to the same tired old tactics. Melchett, among his many fabulous quotes, once said:

"If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through."

It would seem as if Arsene is of the same mindset when it comes to tactics and especially when it comes to playing Chelsea and Jose Mourinho.

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