Matias Miranda Vaira
The gunners came into this weekend looking to finally end their win drought against Chelsea in the BPL. Arsenal’s last victory against them came all the way back in September of 2012. Before the match, I was extremely excited and a bit afraid as, despite Chelsea losing their last game to Liverpool, they are an extremely strong side. With League villain Diego Costa scoring week in and week out and defensive midfielder Kante playing very well, the starting lineup that played against Hull also started this game. This is probably the strongest team at the moment.
The game started off extremely well for Arsenal as any possession Chelsea had was almost immediately stopped by Coquelin. After 10 minutes a back pass came to Cahill, who tried to turn away from a sprinting Sanchez, but immediately gave up the ball. Sanchez sprinted towards goal and calmly chipped the keeper putting the Gunners in the lead. They weren’t done yet though as 3 minutes later, some beautiful quick passes led to Bellerin coming through on the edge of the 6- yard box. He slid the ball across onto the path of Walcott who calmly put the ball in the back of the net. 5 minutes before the half, Ozil and Sanchez were on the counter talk, with Ozil looking to send the Chilean through. Ozil ended up sending Sanchez through but instead of going for goal he chipped the ball through for Ozil to calmly volley by the keeper, now making the score 3-0. Arsenal was dominating Chelsea who looked lost, flat footed and in disarray. Courtois looked like a nervous wreck, Ivanovic was not able to handle Iwobi’s power and pace, the midfield was overrun, and shot constantly being over hit. Showing that last week’s loss to Liverpool wasn’t just a fluke, the only player that showed any effort was Diego Costa who was constantly trying to make a play but was either left completely alone with the ball or shut down by Koscielny and Mustafi. Arsenal, on the other hand, looked alive, oozing with creativity, they played with heart and desire, something the squad was capable of but is known for inconsistently showing. The only negative for the gunners was that Coquelin had to be taken off after hurting his knee while making a last ditch tackle on Kante. But it wasn’t doom and gloom as Xhaka was brought on and the filled the hole left by Coquelin.
The second half wasn’t as eventful as the first, but the gunners continued to dominate. Chelsea’s frustration was clearly being shown through Costa, as no matter what he did, Koscielny or Mustafi were constantly on top of him. He was constantly push tackled, to the point where Costa got fed up with the abuse and ran up to Koscielny and started to scream at him. Even before watching the game, I knew this match-up of Koscielny VS Costa was going to be extremely dirty and full of passion. The recent matches between the two London clubs have been full of cards and dirty tackles especially between these two players. But Koscielny kept his cool throughout the match. The only time Chelsea looked threatening was a through ball to Batshuayi, who forced Cech to make an extremely good save. Besides that play Chelsea never really looked like scoring. This match was exactly like the match almost a year ago, where Arsenal put 3 past Manchester United in the first half. The win was a huge confidence boost as the team was able to overcome their demons, and finally beat their London rivals in a regular season game. Also making manager Arsene Wenger’s 20th Anniversary one to remember.