C-h-3-l-5-e-a (3) A-r-5-3-n-a-l (5): Captain Van-tastic burns the Bridge
If an AfricaMagic herbalist, a soothsayer or Pastor T.B. Joshua told me on Friday that Arsenal would run riot against Chelsea in Stamford Bridge, I would have given off the kind of laughter villains give in modern-day movies. When teams visit Chelsea’s home ground, they tend to park the bus but the game between Chelsea and Arsenal was one of the most open games I’ve witnessed as a football fan.
Arsenal’s defense was shambolic at the start of the game and the club’s defense was torn open by the team wearing blue. Cashley Cuntly Cole was in behind the Arsenal backline but Fernando Torres couldn’t capitalize on it. However, Chelsea broke the deadlock when the Lampback of NotreDame headed a Juan Mata cross after he skinned past Andre Santos.
Mikel Arteta chipped a lovely ball for Robin van Persie but his control let him down. Cole was free outside the box before letting one rip but Wojciech Szczesny was equal to the challenge. Arsenal pegged the hosts back when Alex Song and Aaron Ramsey combined well before giving Gervinho a through ball. The Ivorian was one-on-one with Petr Cech but he unselfishly fed Robin van Persie who wasted no time in dispatching the ball to an unguarded net.
A few months ago, Gervinho had the chance to feed van Persie at Ewood Park in August but he chose a miserly approach and that turned out to be a turning point in that game.
Ramires the Great Lizard waltzed past Andre Santos before teeing up Daniel Sturridge who wasted no time in sending the ball home but he was ruled offside. Theo Walcott was fouled by John Mikel on the edge of the area but van Persie’s free kick went over the wall. With the game easing off to a close, Frank Lampard swung in a corner from the right and it was converted by that ex-girlfriend shagger John Terry.
Per Mertesacker was at fault for both goals and Arsenal went into the break behind in the London derby. Arsenal began the second half as the brighter with Gervinho showing some good movement on the right hand side before sending a ball to Ramsey but his effort went over the bar.
Chelsea attacked again but Laurent Koscielny did well to win the ball then undid his good work with a poor clearance that arrived on Lampard’s feet who laid the ball on for Torres but the striker’s effort was tame. Arsenal equalized the contest when Alex Song provided a lovely pass for Andre Santos and the Samba Boy showed good composure to slot the ball under Petr Cech.
A ball played over the top for Cuntly Cole then out of the blue, Wojciech Szczesny ran out of his box to anticipate the ball only to foul the full back. The Pole got a yellow card for his troubles but he made a splendid save from the resulting Lampard free kick.
Arsenal’s third goal was a real puzzler. Theo Walcott was fouled on the right hand side then he stood up to receive it only to make a jinking run that saw him go past Chelsea defenders before smashing it past Cech. In the build-up to the goal, Walcott actually fell on the ground, stood up quickly before making a quick footed move to ease past John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic and the rest was history.
Chelsea pushed on for an equalizer so their manager Andre Boa-Constrictor brought on Romelu Medusa for Ramires the Great Lizard. Arsene Wenger also brought in reinforcements to his side with Carl Jenkinson and Tomas Rosicky replacing Johan Djourou and Theo Walcott.
In the 80th minute, Arsenal gifted Chelsea a goal when Andre Santos’ sloppiness at the back gave Juan Mata a chance to strike one from distance and that was some hit. With few minutes to spare and the game tied at 3-3, the next goal was of utmost importance and Chelsea decided to return the favour to Arsenal by giving them a goal on a plate.
Florent Malouda was crowded by an Arsenal midfield so he decided to give a back pass to John Terry who decided to slip in the best possible time so the ball fell gracefully to the wrongest person on Earth in such a situation, Robin van Persie. RVP ran at Petr Cech before attempting a “Box and X” Playstation move on the goalie to place the ball to the empty net.
I became very wary late on but Wenger steadied the ship by bringing on Thomas Vermaelen to see off the tie. As Chelsea pushed on for another equalizer, the y left enough pore spaces at the back so a final counter attack for the Gunners was enough to put the game beyond doubt.
Lampard swung in a free kick at the death; Szczesny went for the ball then put a hand to it. Mata smashed the ball goalwards but Koscielny put his body on fire to block the shot. Rosicky won the ball before feeding Song who gave Arteta. The Spaniard moved with the ball before providing a ball to the red-hot van Persie who rifled the ball past the hapless Cech.
A super hattrick from a super player and this feat made him the second only player to record a hattrick in Stamford Bridge with the first being Aston Villa’s Dion Dublin in 1997. In Arsenal’s last 14 goals, van Persie has nine. That strike was 28th Premier League goal in 27 Premier League games and his 33rd goal in 37 games in 2011. This striker is simply amazing.
Van Persie’s match clincher ensured that Chelsea received five goals in Stamford Bridge. A record that was last achieved in 1934 and it’s heart-warming to know that Arsenal was the last team that made it possible.
Szczesny (8.0) made a number of good saves as the game progressed.
Djourou (6.0) was exposed countless times in a position that he’s not too familiar with.
Andre Santos (8.5) scored a brilliant goal and put up a lovely number of quality tackles on the left.
Mertesacker (6.5) had a torrid first half but he did well to redeem himself in the second half.
Koscielny (7.0) did well to make some goal saving tackles.
Song (7.0) worked hard in midfield.
Arteta (8.0) was heavily involved in Arsenal’s attacking play.
Ramsey (8.5) put up a stellar performance.
Gervinho (7.5) provided an unselfish assist to van Persie.
Walcott (8.0) scored a magical goal.
Van Persie (10.0) burnt Stamford Bridge with a stunning hattrick.
Jenkinson (7.0) did well when he came on.
Rosicky (7.0) has involved in play.
Arsenal was clearly written off when Manchester United humiliated them and it seemed as if they were going to be doomed with no hope of a Champions League berth but this win has propelled the club to 6th place and they are just three points behind Chelsea.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
The tweet of the day goes to ChiEbuka Nworah’
“HEY CH3L5EA! WHAT’S D MATA? U LOOK TERRYFIED. DID U CECH THE TIME? IT SAYS 3 PAST 5!”