Naïve, suicidal, kamikaze, gung-ho – these were just some of the words that were being used to describe our football against Arsenal. I won’t give you a list of the words I used as they are more easily attributable to Gordon Ramsey with tourettes, but I’m sure you get the picture. I wonder what Roman thought? We’ve always been led to believe that he wants attacking expansive football – well welcome to the pleasure dome eh?
With hindsight of course, when you have calmed down, you realise that it was just one of those games that could have gone either way – there were enough chances within the first ten minutes alone for both teams to be 2 goals to the good. What’s so utterly depressing about the whole thing though, is that this is one of the worst Arsenal sides for decades – we even made Walcott look like a world beater by giving him acres of space.
We tried to out Arsenal Arsenal – and that was never going to work. We have been successful against them recently through sheer power – bullying them out of their normal game – yet we abandoned a winning method to play our most experimental tactics of the season – it made no sense. They couldn’t believe their luck.
That result reinforced their come back from a shocking opening to the season and gave them confidence and belief – way to go Chelsea! No wonder they celebrated like they’d just won the European Cup.
Speaking of celebrations – the “odd” celebration by Van Persie – now to say it was “nazi-esque” would be putting it mildly. I have no doubt that Van Persie is not a Nazi and that what he was actually attempting was some sort of badly conceived celebration, BUT if that had been John Terry the sky would have fallen in by now. I am saying no more on the “racist row that threatens to blow football apart” as too much has already been said by too many on something that was allegedly heard by no one.
Sorry one more observation – it seems that there are sections of the press and, judging by what I have seen, thousands of “football fans”, who will not be satisfied until John Terry the individual is completely destroyed. The hatred and bile levelled at this man (let’s try & forget he is a Chelsea player for a moment) is the worst that I think I have ever seen – worse even than when Beckham was the object of national outrage. This goes beyond banter and rivalry – it is a sustained campaign of hatred which seems to be continuously fed by newspaper articles, social media and sadly what looks like an agenda from certain footballers themselves. When did football get this malicious and vitriolic? When did the people who follow football become involved in virtual hate mobs?
But let’s get back to the football because as depressing an afternoon that it was, it is still preferable than discussing the aforementioned affair.
Szczesny should have been sent off – I know that, he knows that – most fair minded people know that – but of course, the usual rules of association football do not apply when Chelsea Football Club is involved. Would it have made much difference – yes I think so, but we need to chalk that one up to ANOTHER one of those things that are meant to even themselves up at the end of the season.
We do need to remember that we are a team going through a transition – and that will almost guarantee you days like last Saturday, but the team as it is now is not suited to pushing so high up – one mistake and your defenders are stranded – and there were plenty of mistakes on both sides.
The thing that worries me most is the thinking that we could outplay Arsenal using these tactics – it’s exceptionally naïve and one thing you don’t want your manager to be accused of is naivety. It was especially foolhardy given last week’s result against QPR – we needed to avoid defeat against Arsenal first and foremost, but instead he adopted this high risk strategy – I’m not really sure what he was thinking.
You cannot rely on out-scoring the opposition in this league – a solid defence has to be the foundation of any side in the Premiership – this is exactly one of the reasons Arsenal have been so barren for so long. I hope that AVB does not have the same streak of stubbornness on this subject that Wenger does. Only time will tell.
With Liverpool too going through a renaissance, it will be interesting to see whether AVB decides to stick with the tactics we witnessed last weekend. Hopefully that was a lesson that only needed learning once – three games lost this early on in the season does not bode well for any title aspirations that any of us had. But I guess if these mistakes were going to be made, better now than later. Come on Chelsea!