Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal | Why don’t we start matches properly?

Despite a much improved second half in which the team actually looked like a top four side, we still ended up empty handed due to the woeful 45 minutes that preceded it.

Chelsea should’ve been out of sight as the halftime whistle blew but wasted many good positions that their quick passing game earned them. Wenger fielded Diaby and Coquelin in midfield — I assume to break up the rapid attacks expertly engineered by Mata, Hazard and Oscar — but it didn’t work at all as we were left exposed time and time again.

In fact the two Frenchmen played a big part in the Chelsea goals. First of all Coquelin overran the ball and hurriedly passed it straight to Azpilicueta, whose lobbed pass found Mata in oceans of space to make it 1-0. Coquelin was fouled immediately after he gave it away and the ref should’ve blown for a free kick — we were unlucky there and I can only assume the ref thought the ball had already been lost. It was the wrong decision and it cost us, but nevertheless Coquelin’s slack pass was typical of the carelessness with which we played those opening 45 minutes.

Lampard scores against Arsenal

It’s snow easy for Chelsea (sorry)

It doesn’t get much more careless than Diaby’s dallying for the second goal though. Caught in possession just inside his own half, Chelsea broke at pace and Ramires bought a penalty by tempting Szczesny out and then falling over him. Lampard made it 2-0 after 16 minutes and it was a miracle we made it to halftime still in the game as the Blues swarmed around our box without adding to their lead.

Ironically we’d had the best chance of the game just before the opening goal when Giroud shot wide after a good pass from Walcott, but apart from a long range Cazorla effort we offered nothing else.

The second half was much improved though as Arsenal suddenly found a hunger from somewhere. They harried and hassled whenever a blue shirt had possession and exploited Chelsea’s nervousness following their midweek capitulation to Southampton. We created a few good chances and finally took one when Walcott latched onto Cazorla’s through ball and finished neatly with over half an hour to go.

However, we couldn’t find the equaliser and were almost caught on the break when substitute Ba rounded Szczesny only for Vermaelen to kick his shot off the line. Thank goodness Benitez played the out of sorts Torres otherwise Ba could’ve had the game wrapped up long before that.

So another league defeat and the big question is why couldn’t we play like that in the first half? It’s not the first time we’ve been sloppy in the opening 45 minutes. This is, I think, a fair summation of our most recent games:

Chelsea — woeful first half, very good second half
Swansea (Cup replay) — poor first half, very good second half
Man City — woeful first half, ok second half
Swansea (Cup) — poor first half, ok second half
Southampton — woeful first half, woeful second half
Newcastle — poor first half, good second half

There’s a definite pattern there and it’s something that’s happened quite a lot all season. Quite why we’re never turned on from the first whistle baffles and frustrates me and is ultimately down to the manager.

Another thing down to Wenger which cost us today was the squad depth. Replacing Arteta with Diaby and/or Coquelin just isn’t good enough and it’s no coincidence they were at fault for the goals. I watched the Spurs game afterwards and who had they brought in to replace the injured Sandro? Scott Parker — a quality, experienced pro. They are now seven points clear (although we have West Ham to play midweek) and their better squad and superior consistency will see them finish above us. Wenger will not buy and we will not qualify for the Champions League, it’s as simple as that.

I’m also concerned about the improving Liverpool who visit the Emirates in 10 days and are now level on points. The Sturridge-Suarez partnership looks promising and they will give us a tough game. And I haven’t even mentioned consistent Everton who have a three point advantage over us! All of this makes Wednesday’s match against West Ham a must win, but it all depends on which Arsenal turn up — the first half team or the second.

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  1. ytwokay

    The problem with Arsenal is that the two backs ( left back and right back) goes onto the attack and does not fall back in time…this means the two Centre backs gets drawn out of position all the time…Arsenal needs a solid tackler like Vierra in the middle…they are to scared to tackle properly…bring back Tony Adams and Co out of retirement and they will do a better job…

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  2. Hamish McSpud

    It’s a really good question that goes back to early season, remember going 4 down at Reading and 1 down to Man Utd in the first 5 mins. What is said or isn’t said before they go out onto the pitch, it’s really frustrating to see it happening time and time again.
    BTW – let’s face it, we are not going to get into the top 4 this year because AFC look an average team and there is no one person (like RVP) who consistently score now. This team needs investment, NOW.
    The formation is all wrong as well, the wide Chelsea players had acres of space in fromt of the full backs because we were playing 4-2-3-1. In the first half we sat back and didn’t have any BITE. We need a CF like Cavani and if there is any possibility of getting him for £30m we should bite their hands off, that’s only £6m more than what we sold RVP for. Also, again if we can, get Nani from Man Utd. Also a decent CH would help and a DM. Not much, but lets face it, if we ever want to challenge again for the title we need to be much much better than that.

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  3. Goonertostay

    I think all gooners need to be concerned. We have a squad full of technically skilled, over pampered, weak minded cowards. These are the same individuals who grace twitter and other social media telling anyone who’d listen that they want to win silverware! Well guys I’m sorry to burst your bubbles but at this moment in time, like the last 7 years, you don’t have a cat in hells chance. With the exception of master Jack, you haven’t got the balls. Now whose fault this is I’m not sure, is it the coaching, the manager or your overweight bank accounts? The only person talking on the pitch today was master Jack! You ask of your loyal supporters to get behind you each week. But sadly guys that is getting more and more difficult each game. Arsenal football club is a big club and used to have high expectations. These like the guts of the players is woefully waning. Gooners are asked to pay some of the highest seat prices in the world, bearing in mind the average wage (not lowest) is circa £26k (that is per annum not week guys) – so that’s approximately 5% to buy a ticket, the expectation is that we should be graced by a winning mentality on the pitch. I have no doubt in my mind that you wouldn’t pay £40 to come and watch me pretending to be a top class footballer, so why should we? You gave up the right to be hero worshipped when you gave up the fight. Perhaps you should all pay a visit to master jacks dads house maybe he could explain a few facts of life to you. Perhaps the best signing we could do is to get Paul McKenna! You owe it to us, Arsenal football club and yourselves to get together and find a resolution. Just stop feeding lies, lies and more damn lies!

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  4. WengerOut

    Sir Alex Ferguson “If you look at our away programme we have been to Everton, been to Liverpool, been to Chelsea, been to Manchester City, been to Tottenham,” he said.
    “We have been to all the top teams away from home. We must be pleased at the outcome of that because we have had some fantastic results.”

    Says it all really

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  5. Hamish McSpud

    and also, what was Arshavin doing on the pitch, his attempt to beat a Chelsea and get to the by line was laughable – is that all we can do to change things!!?? Sad but he has over stayed his welcome by a good year.

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  6. Goonertostay

    The only difference between us and man utd is the mentality! Last season we had RVP the EPL top scorer but we still didn’t finish top or runners up for that matter. Yes we may be a couple of players short, but if we don’t have the mentality, it won’t make a jot of difference.

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    • Spectrum

      Goonertostay – The “only” difference ? United have Sir Alex. A real winner. We have Wenger. A real loser. Now, can you spot the REAL difference ?

      ” In Arsene we rust.”

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