Five reasons why Arsenal lost against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
Written by Chris on October 4, 2010 18:45
As I wrote yesterday in the ratings article, there is a lot of positive to take away from the Chelsea defeat, especially the determination and tenacity of our players.
But ultimately, it will go down as a defeat. I tried to understand what more we could have done to maybe get at least a draw from such an important game and I ended up with a list of five things which well, it may not be the Kill Bill list in terms of importance but it’s my humble attempt to highlight some small issues in yesterday’s display.
1. No service for Chamakh
Many were those who tipped Marouane to shine against Chelsea, namely Nigel Winterburn who before the game was saying how when Arsenal get in good positions in wide areas, they should not be afraid to play a 50-50 ball into the box for the big man to attack.
If my memory serves me right – and mind you, nine times out of ten it doesn’t – the only cross I remember for Marouane was the first minute deliver from the right by Bacary. Actually there was another one in the last part of the game but I mean, it’s not enough when you have such a good player in the air.
Samir Nasri and Andrey Arshavin failed to do that – the Frenchman was very lively but as I said yesterday he never looked like causing any damage to the Chelsea backline. Whilst Andrey, he was better as he was immediately going for goal when having possession but still didn’t turn provider to Chamakh.
In a way, that is why I believe Tomas Rosicky would have been a better option from the start. The last time Tomas scored in the Premier League was a long time ago and it seems he is fully aware of that as he is working more and more for the team. Against Partizan he delivered an exquisite cross to Marouane’s head and that is just what we needed yesterday.
Regardless from which point of view you look at it, an excuse, a curse or just the way things are in football, missing key players is a factor.
The only problem here, however, is that if you believe we will have a long run with all our players fit, you’re wrong my friend. I’m no fitness expert but there must be something in the way Arsenal players train that is simply not working as expected. I don’t remember reaching October with two key players – Robin and Nick – yet to kick a ball(can’t consider Robin’s contribution at Blackburn as worth mentioning) and with the scary vision of another International break coming up!
But having said that, we missed Cesc Fabregas, the player who most of all I consider irreplaceable in our squad. He is the only one who can turn a poor result into a positive one in less than a minute, with his assists, with his goals, with his vision. Andrey can be as influential as Cesc but sometimes I feel he’s not ready to be a leader for Arsenal.
3. Shaky Backline
Yet again we find ourselves asking questions about our backline which is a shame because it seems one of the five at the back – as I’m including the goalkeeper to the set – always has to make mistakes which could or do cost us dearly. On a day in which Lukasz was superb, Sebastien Squillaci was guilty of some shocking defending or shall I say lapse in concentration which you simply cannot afford to have.
Thomas Vermaelen was missing, granted, but Thomas featured against Chelsea and against Drogba last season and he struggled as much as Sebastien and Laurent to control him. And no, it’s not because every centre back in the World would struggle against the physical strength of the Ivorian, he was properly blocked when Chelsea played Inter Milan – twice – in the Champions League.
4. Chelsea are a better team
Why be scared of admitting the obvious? We have to give credit to the Blues, they are a very strong team both physically and as a squad and I wouldn’t be surprised if they win the title for a second consecutive time.
What would have happened if we had a 100% fit squad to choose from is something which we don’t know and will never know but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that we would have surely won the game. It would have been a nice battle and I hope we can see that one day, but it would have still been a very difficult task to take away three points from the Bridge.
5. The all so-important Plan B
Andrey Arshavin is a big headache for any manager in the game of football. He starts slowly, you consider the option of replacing him but ten seconds later there he is getting past his marker hitting a beautiful right-footed effort with which you almost take the lead.
Samir Nasri is the same. You know that at any time he can invent something special, like the Porto goal or the brace against West Brom but then comes the end of the game and you realise that both of them – for a reason(Cech) or another(below par performance) – failed to make magic happen.
To go back to Tomas Rosicky I believe he had to replace either Andrey or Samir when he came on and that’s because if the players who are supposed to create are not creating you simply cannot wait forever hoping for that touch of magic which sometimes never happens.
Another thing which I didn’t like was the introduction of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas with ten minutes to go, for two reasons.
Jay was yet to kick a ball in an Arsenal jersey this season yet it seems he was supposed to turn water into wine, in ten minutes, away from home, against Chelsea. I love JET, I was hugely impressed with his contribution in pre-season but if he was going to be a late sub against Chelsea, some action against Spurs in the Carling Cup or WBA in the Premier League(where he would have surely fought more than some players who eventually played) would have made sense.
In a way his introduction seemed to be a panic move just like the introduction of Carlos Vela for Koscielny against West Brom.
And speaking of the Mexican, why wasn’t he involved earlier in the game? Is it because he’s too weak for the Chelsea backline? Or he’s simply not good enough? But in that case, why was he never loaned out? Even Jay is now ahead of him in the pecking order as we slowly move on to a third consecutive season in which he was never properly used by Wenger.
With Robin, Nicklas and Theo injured you would expect him to enjoy a run in the regular side, but instead we keep on asking what this 21-year old can bring to Arsenal. Shame.
No, my looking forward analysis is not a reason why we lost at Chelsea, it’s just my way of concluding by saying how we are now seven points adrift of the Blues as we move onto another International break.
We will be back on October 16 when we face Birmingham first and Shakhtar Donetsk then at the Emirates. And then it’s Manchester City, in what already seems to be our last hope to still be in for a shout in the title race.
Enjoy the International break and let’s hope to see all our players return in one piece. Until next time, take care.