by Nayan Yalavarthy
It was a big game for Arsenal, as they needed all 3 points to have any chance of beating Chelsea to the League title but it wasn’t to be as the Stamford Bridge held off to a goalless draw, which meant that they can now be crowned Champions as early as next weekend. Here is the match report.
Wenger hoped to get 13th time lucky against Mourinho and made 3 changes to the team that played Reading in the FA Cup Semifinal with both full-backs Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal returning to the starting line-up with David Ospina replacing Szczesny in the goal.
The game started off brightly for the Gunners as they kept the ball and passed around with Chelsea looking comfortable in giving Arsenal the possession. Around the 10 minute mark, Oscar went down too easily inside the box to a challenge from Bellerin which was considered fair by referee Michael Oliver, who had other big decisions to make in the day.
In the 17th minute, former Arsenal player who vowed to never join Chelsea sent a long ball to Oscar who escaped the offside trap, found himself one-on-one against Ospina and dinked it over the incoming keeper, only to be headed away for a corner by Bellerin. The Colombian keeper took Oscar down in the act and Mourinho was shouting for a penalty like my 4 year old cousin does for an ice cream, however Michael Oliver was no ice cream truck owner.
It was a good decision from the referee because the tackle came after the the shot and even if the play was stopped, they would’ve complained that the ball was going towards goal. Even if they were awarded a penalty and miss it, they would’ve still complained the ball was heading towards the goal. I mean, it’s Chelsea and Mourinho, what more can you expect?
Few minutes later Fabregas thought the Arsenal D-box to be a swimming pool and Santi Cazorla as his diving pad, as he went down too easily right in front of the Ref only to be shown a yellow card. We kept the ball ticking and Sanchez received the ball right on the edge of the box from where he has scored plenty of goals this season, but shot wide this time. The Blues best chance came late in the half when Willian found Ramires in a defence splitting pass who tried to roll it along only to be read and saved by Ospina.
We ended the first half on a brighter note by creating a menace in the box only for Ozil to shoot straight at Courtois. The Gunners lost the attacking intent they had in the first half after the break and were rarely threatening with the final pass proving to be too heavy on a couple of occasions.
With 20 minutes left, an Arsenal corner was gloved away by Courtois which found the wrong man in the box, Per Mertesacker, who could only shoot it wide. Wenger then substituted Danny Welbeck for Francis Coquelin in a bold move as he was doing a fine job protecting the back four. It clearly showed that Wenger had immense belief in the team to pull off a win. Bellerin was constantly putting in amazing crosses only for the Gunners to shoot haywire.
Walcott then came on for Olivier Giroud in the 84th minute, but it felt that the passion the Englishman once had for Arsenal is slowly fading away. The best chance for the best team of London came in the injury time when Alexis found Monreal overlapping on the left flank who zipped a great cross in, however either of Ozil or Welbeck couldn’t bury it into the back of the net.
The game ended in a draw, as John Terry was seen rejoicing and even sweared at the Arsenal ans which was disrespectful to say the least, that too from somebody with that much experience in the beautiful game.
We lacked quality in finishing as a few good chances went begging and we were also really bad from set pieces, as our corners and free kicks seemed to find Courtois’ hands or Chelsea heads. Today, we played to win the game and Chelsea played to win the league and that difference was enough to result in a stalemate. So the title is over and it will be a fight for second place us now, with City breathing down our neck, but I think we can pull it off and that coupled with retaining the Cup should be considered a good end to the season,
How did you rate Arsenal’s performance against Chelsea?