Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that you weren’t good enough and it was one of those days for the Blues at the Emirates.
Chelsea have had some big results against Arsenal over the years and were expected to get the result again despite being on a terrible run for the past month, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be the case, as some horrible mistakes in quick succession put us three goals down. Although we got one back quickly a comeback never looked likely, a fact which hurt the most.
Nicolas Anelka was ruled out with a knee problem late on, but Carlo Ancelotti welcomed back Frank Lampard into his starting line up for this one, his first start in over 4 months. Arsenal welcomed back Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie into their starting line up for this London derby.
Both teams started with a similar 4-3-3 formation and looked to attack the full-backs. Chelsea started the game in a cautious manner as they tried to soak up the pressure and hit Arsenal on the break, something which has worked for us in the past.
However, when you are not playing well, things that worked for you in the past don’t really work.
Chelsea couldn’t get the opportunity to hit Arsenal on the break or rather the players weren’t able to capitalise on whatever little chances that came their way. The game lacked in clear cut chances and the closest Chelsea came was through Drogba, first with his shot from distance that went wide and then with his header which was deflected on by Djourou for a corner.
Arsenal were also restricted and were made to work hard but they got the reward when Song scored on the stroke of half-time as Chelsea defended really deep and invited Arsenal on much to the frustration of Carlo Ancelotti.
Arsenal deserved the lead at half-time and Chelsea were expected to change things around with Kalou and Malouda being ineffective up front. There was a change indeed, but it was Mikel, who went off and was replaced by Ramires, with Essien taking a more defensive role in centre midfield.
The second half has just begun when calamity hit Chelsea; two mistakes in space of two minutes wrecked any plans that the Blues had for a comeback. First, Essien, who was trying to regain the possession, made a block but unfortunately for him, the ball went straight into the direction of the on rushing Walcott, as Cole was caught off guard, he squared it off to Fabregas to score. Soon, it was 3-0, when Fabregas turned the provider for Walcott, as Malouda was caught in possession.
Chelsea got one back soon through Ivanovic, who headed in from a Drogba free-kick, and it looked like we would mount an unlikely comeback with half an hour still left with the game, but we never got going as an attacking force.
Our full-backs were nullified by Arsenal and we had to resort to long balls to Drogba, but there wasn’t much support for him up front and there in lied the predicament for the Blues.
This defeat condemned us to our worst ever run in 10 years and some might say our title defence now hangs by bare thread, as Utd can go 9 points clear if they get the result at St. Andrews, and the fact that we were 5 points clear in October makes it even more painful.
Next up for us is Bolton on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge, and considering our confidence levels, it’s a game in which three points are of paramount importance.
Carlo Ancleotti also conceded that his team were second-best on the day, after the game he said;
“The difference was the quality. Arsenal put more quality on the pitch than us. “They were able to play with the football. They played better than us.
“We didn’t play well. We’re in a difficult moment. We need to try and win the game against Bolton.
“We have to continue to work. We worked well these last two weeks. We didn’t have a good performance today but we’ll try in the next game.
“The table is not good but this is the reality. We have to wake up. Now we are sleeping.”
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech, Ferreira (Bosingwa 61), Ivanovic, Terry (c) Cole; Essien, Mikel (Ramires h-t), Lampard; Kalou, Drogba, Malouda (Kakuta 55).
Goal: Ivanovic 56.