By the time kick off arrived yesterday I was rather excited, I’d seen their line-up, noted ours and thought that we were in for a display akin to what we saw against Man City. Unfortunately it seemed as if the handbrake was on and no amount of shifting it would get it off. I know it seems like a trivial point, that it shouldn’t matter to professional footballers, but the fact is our last two home games have seen us line up right to left in the first half has got something to do with this. We never seem to fare well when we play that way. We lost to Wigan, we drew today and I remember being there for the 2 nil defeat at the hands of Villa a few seasons a few seasons ago when I remarked about how I wasn’t too confident to see us playing that way. It shouldn’t make a difference, but I genuinely think it does.
They rested a load of players and packed midfield, we were sloppy and sluggish and far more infuriating than I found us against Wigan although at times you could say that Chelsea rode their luck. It was strange to see them seemingly settle for a draw when they need points as badly as us, them for Champions League qualification, us to secure third. Perhaps they believe they can actually gain qualification by winning the Champions League. Let’s all take a moment to collectively LOL at that.
Both Robin and Kos hit the woodwork in the first half while Chelsea, like most teams against us lately, posed their biggest threat on the counter attack. We’ve got that whole vulnerable from our own corner thing going on again and it’s not a good look.
We had 13 shots, so did they and we managed to get five of those on target while they only had three. 27 crosses to their 21, 12 fouls to their 11, seven corners each, four blocks to their 3. Only possession wasn’t even distributed, us edging that 57% to 43%. It was a fairly even match if you just look at the stats, but we had the better chances to win it, notably the ones which fell to Robin.
But it wasn’t to be and we took a point which kept third place in our own hands. With Sp*rs losing at QPR we managed to increase our lead over them. Newcastle are within three points of us now with a game in hand, however their goal difference is so inferior to us it could be four points.
As the season draws to a close we lost Theo to a hamstring when he perhaps shouldn’t have been. He felt it tweak and when he came back on I don’t think there was an Arsenal fan around who didn’t foresee him pulling it properly which he promptly did and can now join Jack, Arteta and the rest on their summer holidays. It took Theo three minutes to go from a hamstring tweak to a hamstring pull. Not exactly the smartest three minutes in the history of the medical team.
“Theo has a serious hamstring” Wenger said post match “21 days. It will be tough to come back before the end of the season.”
Speaking about RvP’s chances which he missed throughout the game Wenger said “He played his 50th game of the season today and it wasn’t easy for him – he was completely on his own at some stages.” It spoke volumes that as we chased the goal we needed to win the game Wenger turned to Santos before Chamakh, RvP is very much on his own up there and with the midfield bogged down they couldn’t get close enough to him often enough. The news that Podolski is supposed to have said goodbye to his fans today hopefully means that his deal is almost done. Then again, we’re Arsenal, until I see him in that shirt on the official site, there is still plenty which could go wrong.
So, perhaps not the weekend we all wanted, but it could have been worse. There’s still work to be done and it’s Stoke up next. That always makes for a fun-filled and pleasant afternoon eh?