A double from Robin Van Persie inside three minutes gave Arsenal the win at Stamford Bridge, who before then didn’t look too threatening to close the gap between their rivals. You can see the goals here.
The Dutchman scored a controversial first when coming back from an offside position to blast a shot into the top right hand corner. However a Chelsea side without Drogba and Essien, and you may even say Jose Mourinho never looked like they had the same resilience to close the game down under the Portuguese tactician.
Anelka and Deco open up space for Bosingwa
Luis Felipe Scolari made an unexpected change by playing Deco on the right and Kalou on the left hand side in place of Malouda. Kalou was detailed to make the diagonal run inside to support Anelka while on the right Deco would drift inside to give Bosingwa space. However it was Anelka that really gave Bosingwa the freedom.
The French striker moved into the unoccupied space late, forcing Clichy to play closer to his central defenders giving the full back the freedom of the right flank. Nasri was also forced inside by Deco to add to the deficiency. Chelsea were able to play the ball in and out from the flanks with ease and the same could have been said for the left hand side as Kalou drifting in and Denilson also a bit central. Clichy was non existent as an attacking force in the first half but Chelsea could not make enough of their possession count and indeed the threat from the right to more goals than the own goal.
Bosingwa’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 it demanded a touch.
Arsenal indebted to Van Persie
Chelsea started the second half the more dominant but it was surprising to see Scolari tell the full backs to be more cautious. Transitions and the threat from the counter was clearly on the Brazilians mind but the tactic that made them so successful in the first period was now effectively thrown out of the window. Indeed Song being told by Wenger to shore up positionally and patrol the gap between midfield and defence helped Arsenal, as in the first half the Cameroon midfielder was all over the place.
The goal didn’t look threatening from Gunners but their seems to be a soft under belly in Chelsea at the moment. Arsenal got a bit of joy with the long ball, Ivanovic seeming the weak link in the air. The first was definitely offside the second Adebayor beating the Serbian in the air to play Van Persie in.
Some people say the withdrawal of Mikel took away the threat of the full backs because of the assurance he gives but it was Scolari’s cautiousness and the fact that they had gone two down before he was taken off meant they had to sacrifice someone. In fact Mikel and Ballack both gave assurance to the full back’s to bomb forward as Ballack was already playing deeper and could cover and/or take advantage of the gaps left behind. The over reliance on the full backs showing Chelsea’s weakness and the fact that Lampard was the most creative player left on the pitch. He is more of a player who links the ball rather than playmaking and makes runs into the box while Deco or Ballack are playmakers, the former playing deeper.
So what have we learnt about Arsenal? Well not much except Arsenal are good enough but it’s playing against the smaller clubs that they need to win more. Also we are less dominant in possession against the bigger clubs than in the past few years. (Sorry about the delay putting this up)