Are we therd yet?

Yawn…plenty of happenings soccer-wide but none that concern Arsenal much. Oh yeah, Man U are now champions again. Arsenal held the Blues to a 1-1 draw and they were pretty blue about it.  Mourinho asked the fans to hold their chins up and Terry cried ( Cesc denied having anything to do with it). I came pretty close to crying when I saw Arsenal’s second half display. They played weird football with Cesc giving the ball away politely when a Blue asked for it. Our defending was not great shakes technically, but they harried Chelsea enough to keep them from scoring the second. Earlier in the first half, we played a neither-here-nor-there game. Baptista was his usual impotent self and Addy didn’t set the Grove on fire either. Finally, though, Baptista makes it into the box, and is dragged down by a man 75% his size. Bouhlarouz brought him down in the box and earned himself the send-off and you could see Jose’s chin try to stay up in defiance. Gilberto scores the penalty, a sight which seems too common all season, sending Cech the wrong way.

And we lead. With 11 men against 10. We pressured them but couldn’t get the match-sealing goal. And after Jose’s pep talk, they come on in the second half and keep forcing us back. Small wonder then that a beautiful SWP cross flies across and Essien gets a glancing header in. Pure beauty. It doesn’t end there, however. Joe Cole smashes a rocket past Lehmann, getting disallowed for offside. Kalou gets the ball at his feet after some pathetic defending and launches it straight at Lehmann, who palms it over. Lampard tries for the long-range deflection goal but Lehmann easily turns it around the post. Man of the match, Jens Lehmann. Cue a parting shot from Eboue that whistles past Cech and onto the bar, and then the whistle, and the Chelsea league season is over.

Normally a Chelsea draw would be very pleasing, but you’ve to remember that they didn’t have Sheva, Ballack, and the long ball lover Drogba. And they were a man down! Essien was playing his heart out, defense to midfield to offense. He’s the only Blues player I really admire; skill and work rate. Arsenal should have crushed them but didn’t. I guess the priorities made the difference; one side trying to save its title  and the other vying for 3rd place. Not even close. I guess Addy nailed it when he said they would’ve preferred being on the other side of the situation. A season without any silverware, and that’s gotta hurt. The only light I see is that we beat the other Three more than they beat us, and especially Man U both times in the league and at the FA Cup.

We’re dangerous. But we’re dangerous to ourselves as to the other teams, and we’ve tripped over our laces far too many times this season. The deciding fixture is against Portsmouth, while Liverpool play relegated Charlton. Given that we need more points than the Reds, we’re fourth unless we can beat them by a +2 margin over Liverpool. A chance, but a chance nonetheless.


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