Arsenal came back from a goal down to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, courtesy of a Robin Van Persie double (59 + 62 mins). An own goal from Johan Djourou (31 mins) put Arsenal behind before the Dutchman’s brace in a space of three minutes.
Arsene Wenger made one unexpected change to the squad bringing in Djourou for Silvestre due to the Frenchman’s lesser speed and mobility in a 4-4-2 formation, Denilson and Nasri on the flanks. Scolari also sprang another surprise as he opted for Kalou and Deco on the wings with Ballack moving to the centre, Malouda dropped from the line-up.
Arsenal started nervously and a good block from Sagna denying a Kalou opportunity. However Arsenal had the first real chance, an Adebayor cross half cleared to Nasri and his shot was parried by Cech almost to the feet of Gallas who would have had an open goal. Chelsea were cranking up the pressure and looked to spring Anleka and Kalou behind the Arsenal backline a number of times with their movement.
The goal came on the half hour mark in an unfortunate and careless circumstance; Almunia catching a corner bit his quick throw out to Nasri was intercepted by Bosingwa who played a great ball across the face of goal which was inadvertently poked in by Djourou. It was a deserved contribution for the full back who’s ball in the ‘corridor of uncertainty’ gave Djourou no option but to stretch for the ball. It could have maybe found it’s way to Anelka or Gallas but such was the quality of the delivery.
Chelsea Tactics First Half
Tactically Chelsea were superior to Arsenal in the first half; Kalou penning Clichy inside by making diagonal runs from the touchline in to support Anelka. This frees up space for Bosingwa to run into while the Chelsea midfielders profit from gaps left behind. Also Nasri and Denilson contributed to this defficiency by playing too narrow allow the space on the flank. Chelsea were able to play the ball in and out from the flanks with ease but their inability to find real penetration their downfall and one that payed in the second half. Song and Fabregas to high up at times and the former not patrolling the area behind the midfield and defence well enough but was better in the second.
Van Persie Double
The start of the second half saw Chelsea in a more withdrawn play as the full backs were more cautious and soon enough were made to pay. Bosingwa adjudged to have played Van Persie onside from a Denilson pass and the Dutchman emphatically put away with his right into the top corner. Replays showed he was margianlly offside however the referee quick to point out Bosingwa was playing him on. The second came from a high free kick knocked down by Adebayor and Van Persie could turn and shoot past the fingertips of Cech. The goals didn’t look so likely to come but Chelsea don’t look as strong as under Mourinho or even Grant defensively.
Chelsea failed to threaten in the second half as Arsenal sured up in defense and midfield and were it not for some misjudged and misplaced passed and heavy touch there may have been another goal for the Gunners.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Ashley Cole, Mikel (Malouda), Deco (Stoch), Ballack, Lampard, Kalou, Anelka.
Subs not used: Hilario, Bridge, Ferreira, Mineiro, Alex
Arsenal (4-4-2): Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Djourou, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas, Song Billong, Nasri, Adebayor (Bendtner), Van Persie.
Subs not used: Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Silvestre, Wilshere, Gibbs
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral).