Monday, 21 September 2015
Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0
There was no sense of hypocrisy from a club that has never had its share of saints either. You only have to Google "Keown Van Nistelrooy" and see how Wenger celebrates the in-yer-face jumping of his defender by citing it as his most memorable moment of the rivalry between the two red sides. That, along with Cantona's kung-fu kick, Vieira and Keane's consistent red cards seem to be glorified in the media. No anti-heroes are allowed for any team that plays in blue and yet when Costa succeeds in winding up the opposition (having been yet again consistently fouled throughout the first half as defenders cannot cope with his speed or skill) it is easier to cite him as a villain.
This is the first time this season Chelsea has played anywhere close to how they were last year. Having not been Oscar's greatest fan in the past due to his minute frame, I have now realised how important he is not only with regards to deft touches helping our link up play - but also the amount of effort he puts in to track back and pressure attackers. This allows Fabregas to exploit more space. Hazard and Costa looked their most dangerous in months, and Zouma was simply magnificent. Conversely to Oscar, Zouma in the past struck me as a big lump - but how he shone in this game. One perfectly timed tackle in the first half has increased my confidence in him. Begovic looks an extremely good value second keeper. Even Ivanovic had a tremendous game.
The second half was a drab affair after Zouma's goal (thanks for playing him onside Arsenal). It was obvious that three points was all we wanted. Even Fabregas motioned to the ball boy not to be too hasty retrieving the ball. I understand the rationale behind this - so why did Costa then risk a second booking for a silly challenge on Oxlade-Chamberlain? This is inexcusable and he needs to know the time and place when to show his aggression. I cannot have a go at Arsenal's sordid past if I excuse Diego of every indiscretion without appearing hypocritical.
Wenger must be seething - but more strangely are the tactics he used. Walcott on his own up front? Thank you! Quite why he does not wish to risk Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right and have Giroud up front is beyond me. Thankfully their frugality worked in our favour and they never looked anywhere as dangerous as they did at Wembley. I did not even notice Sanchez was playing.
So back to playground spats between the two sides. Martinez found it amusing that Mourinho swore for not being allowed to talk to the press first so that the team could hurry back to Cobham - now, Jose passed the buck back to the media - he could not understand why Arsene was only a nice man when his team managed to actually win against Chelsea. The newswires will be happy though - something to write about apart from Liverpool's demise. Finally a win for Chelsea, and these last few days feel like a turning point in our season. And for all the decisions that have gone Arsenal's way in the past, it is time to end this piece in a very mature manner: Arsenal...