Sometimes I wish I was a betting man, because Drogba scoring against Arsenal is now, it seems, pretty much a forgone conclusion.
It was no surprise then, that in the 39th minute, up stepped our super striker to do it again, and deflate Arsene Wengers pre-match bravado that this would be the year they beat us.
Every season it’s the same, it’s becoming as iconic as Liverpool’s ‘we’ll win it next year’ in terms of the seasons ridiculous statements, but it all adds to the enjoyment of beating them, again.
It could have all been so different though, thankfully Arsenal read the script, spurning chances left right and centre. As early as the first minute they could have taken the lead, a Sagna cross to Chamakh saw the Moroccan head wide. Then Koscielny headed over soon after.
Arsenal continued to play their tappity tap football, mostly in front of our defensive lines although they were getting joy out of our fullbacks, with the Arsenal wingers and full backs often doubling up on either Ashley or Ivanovic. Arshavin had one shot that Cech was at full stretch to tip to safety.
Chelsea though, stood firm. With Cech claiming anything near him, Terry and Alex holding their lines and positions well, and Essien and Ramires covering every blade of grass and Drogba winning most balls against Squillaci & Koscielny.
With Arsenal pressing us it left openings at the back for a Chelsea counter attack. It came as no surprise then that it was our Ivorian battering ram that opened the scoring in the 39th minute, and the goal was a thing of beauty.
Ramires won the inside the Arsenal half, played a one-two with Mikel, and played a delightful pass to Ashley, who knocked a first time ball into the area. Drogba got on the end of the ball and somehow managed to knock it in, almost mid-pirouette, hitting the ball with his heel to put it past Fabianski at his near post.
The second half started as the first had finished, an absorbing encounter with chances for each team, and it was again with Arsenal pressing that we could have doubled our lead.
Squillaci pondered on the ball in his own half and Anelka stole the ball, beat him for pace and then rounded the Arsenal keeper perfectly, only to see his shot roll just wide of the post. Ashley Cole managed to score in the 69th minute, but it was incorrectly ruled out for offside.
Arsenal again had chances with Rosicky and Chamakh missing opportunities, as did Chelsea who seemed to always be offside during each attack, a combination of good defending by our visitors, and odd decisions by the linesman.
It wasn’t until the 85th minute that the game was put beyond doubt. Alex and Drogba stood over a free kick, and whilst the Arsenal wall was being readied, Malouda took up a space too. As Alex ran towards the ball, Malouda ducked and Alex rammed the ball at where his head had just been, straight into the top corner. Stamford Bridge erupted.
Essien had the chance to make it three shortly after, but Fabianski got at him early and smothered his shot, and Malouda had a shot that the Arsenal keeper also blocked, in the end 2-0 was a fair reflection of the match.
Drogba spoke of his Arsenal record post match; “It is difficult for me to explain, I think I might be at the right place at the right time. Of course there will be a game when I won’t score against Arsenal and I don’t mind if I don’t score against them and I score other goals against other teams.”
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic (Ferreira 72), Alex, Terry (c), Cole; Essien, Mikel (Sturridge 88), Ramires (Zhirkov 82); Anelka, Drogba, Malouda.
Scorers Drogba 39, Alex 85.
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