What a match Part II

Well, the Arsenal boys did us proud this day. They had Chelsea outgunned for the most part. But for the offside goal by Drogba we would have been looking at extra time or even a shootout and who knows? Chelsea are known grinders though and the Gunners defense had looked a bit shaky.

First off, though, Chelsea did a good job. Not the best they could have done, but they were overwhelmed from the start by the aggressive, attacking play of the young ‘uns. Maybe they had expected a more laid back approach from the underdogs, but Arsenal was gunning for goals from the start and got it with young Theo Walcott. The 17 year old finally got his first keeper scalp with a superb strike from point blank range past one of the best keepers in the world, Cech diving the wrong way. Cheers for the whole offensive unit though, they had a superb passing game going on and were camped out in the Chelsea half for the 10 minutes it took to the 1st goal.

Chelsea’s defense looked porous for the first half as well, and it was only Ricardo Carvalho’s defending that prevented Baptista and his cohorts from overpowering Cech. He deserves all the accolades for superb tackle after tackle denying Arsenal their rightful strikes at goal. Walcott had beaten him for the first goal, but he was rock solid for the rest of the match. After the first goal, though, Cech played his part well, and managed to stave off the strikes with several good saves.

Then came Drogba’s answering goal, but he was undeniably offside and the linesman must have been plain blind then. He was running circles around Senderos throughout the match , so that was a matter of time. Almunia tried his best and I don’t fault him too much for letting the strike by. Arsenal managed to keep up the pressure throughout the first half though.

The second half was a different story with Chelsea getting back some of their offensive power with a few attempts at goal. Lampard tried his usual 25-yard strike off deflections and managed to hit the crossbar for his efforts. Shevchenko too laid eggs with his strikes; he has looked impotent throughout. There was only one real danger, Drogba, and he proved why he’s one of the best strikers around with a picture-perfect header from a picture-perfect cross from Arjen Robben, who had come on as a substitute. I believe Arsenal were rather lax and left Drogba to just Senderos. Mistake ; you never leave a striker who is in capital form to just one defender, and one who wasn’t having the best of days!

After that, Arsenal tried hard for their traditional comeback goal pair but never quite managed to pull it off.Frustration, and Toure scuffled with Mikel as the latter tugged on his shirt. Cesc and Lampard became involved, and it was left to the rest of the players and even the managers came on to the field to sort out matters. The media has made it out to be an all out melee, which it was not. In the ensuing confusion, Eboue pushed Bridge back and Bridge went down like he had been hit with a tire iron; then put on a pathetic display. Eboue’s stupidity was in attempting any contact. Cue Mr. Blind Lineman who didn’t think Drogba was offside on the first, now tells the ref that Adebayor who was playing peacemaker is responsible and he gets red carded. He made his case worse, refusing to leave the field.

An otherwise bad end to a really great match. Bad because Adebayor, Eboue and Toure may well get three match bans or more. Otherwise, the young ‘uns played really well and showed their mettle. Cesc said afterwards that other teams would do well to fear them, and he’s right.

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