Daily Archives: December 24, 2013
Emirates Stadium (Premier League)
After the spanking in the hands of Manchester City, the Gunners had nine days to recharge some batteries, right some wrongs and come up with a performance worthy of a team vying for the Premier League crown in May. The Gunners had failed to turn up in some “big games” this season and their performances against both Manchester clubs was nothing to write home about.
Wenger made four changes from the side whooped by Manchester City as Kieran Gibbs replaced the atrocious Nacho Monreal, Thomas Vermaelen replaced the injured Laurent Koscielny, Mikel Arteta replaced Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky filled Jack Wilshere’s boots.
Early on, the Gunners started feeling the pressure as Gibbs gave out a cheap corner. Shortly afterwards, Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta worked in tandem to create a chance for Frank Lampard but his miscued his shot. The Chelsea players tried to match the Gunners pound for pound and there were some heated challenges and rash tackles that saw a couple of Gunners hit the deck.
Arsenal launched an insightful attack from the left with Gibbs floating in the final ball but John Terry was on hand to make a good block. Aaron Ramsey threaded a neat through ball to Bacary Sagna that took the ball on his stride before swinging a deep cross but Gary Cahill got to the ball before Giroud.
Ramsey was culpable of giving the ball away and Chelsea launched a counter attack through Hazard but Ramires blasted the final ball over. The Chelsea onslaught continued with Hazard at the thick of things yet again as he deftly chipped the ball to an onrushing Lampard whose shot slammed the underside of the bar.
In the build up to an Arsenal attack, Mikel Obi made a rash lounge at Arteta but the ref waved play on. Mesut Ozil made a run with the ball before finding Theo Walcott. The Englishman tried to evade his marker and was slightly nudged but he hit the turf like someone that had been shot by a sawn-off shotgun. Arsenal’s penalty appeals fell into deaf ears.
Right at the end of the first 45 minutes, Ozil had a shot that was blocked by a brick Chelsea wall. Rosicky hit the rebound but his effort sailed wide off the mark. In the second half, Arsenal had a few half chances but Lampard fired a long range shot that was easy pickings for Szczesny.
Ozil was involved in an altercation with Branislav Ivanovic after the Serbian’s boot almost hit the German schemer on his face while defending a throw in. Ramsey got himself some stick from some of his players and the crowd when he sportingly cleared the ball out for Ramires to receive some treatment.
The chance of the game appeared when Ramsey noticed an unmarked Giroud on Ivanovic’s blind side. The Welsh phenom dinked the ball to Giroud’s path on his favorite left foot but the forward wasted the golden opportunity.
It was truly a terrible miss from the forward and he was going to miss another clear cut opportunity when Gibbs worked hard with Rosicky to square the ball to Giroud but his shot was parried by Cech. For a striker that was anonymous in front of goal all game long, these two quickfire chances presented him with a chance to write his name in Arsenal folklore but as expected, he was found wanting.
For those that want Arsenal to invest in a new forward, I guess Giroud has given them a chance to increase their decibel levels. At the twilight of the game, Sagna had a header that was blocked on the line by Azpilicueta. The ref’s whistle was met with a groan of disappointment from the Emirates faithful as the Gunners failed to capitalize on yet another golden chance to return to the summit of the Premier League.
The poor run of form continues and we can only hope that the Gunners return to winning ways against West Ham in Upton Park at Boxing Day.
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