Report: Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea
Arsenal’s much-awaited response to loudly growing critics over their big game results finally arrived today as Wenger’s men secured a 3-1 win over Chelsea.
A streak of abysmal results last year against their closest title rivals – notably beginning in May 2009 – had seen Arsenal, once known as big game hits when they last defeated the blues 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in November 2008, become widely regarded as big game flops.
That form continued into this season as Wenger’s men yet again succumbed at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford. So when Monday’s return clash with Chelsea came, it was either a chance for another telling of the same old story or time to say enough was enough.
Thankfully, it was the latter which Wenger witnessed from his side.
For once, Arsenal’s positive, enthusiastic footballing approach against the strategically pragmatic blues was rewarded with a victory. How they deserved it. And how they needed it.
As usual, the Gunners knocked on the door most but on evidence of past experiences, they knew very well that their dominance could be undone any moment by a Chelsea sucker-punch.
Wenger’s men survived the counter attacks this time though, and on the stroke of half-time, Wilshere squeezed a ball through for Alex Song to shoot home with his weaker foot and hand his side a lead they thoroughly deserved.
Despite a frenzy spell of Chelsea response in the final seconds of the first-half, Ancelotti’s men failed to hit back and in the space of three minutes during the early moments of the restart, Arsenal tightened their grip on the game.
First, a defensive error by the visitors saw Walcott one-on-one with Petr Cech, but the English man handed over the chance to an onrushing Fabregas who placed the ball gracefully into an empty net.
Seconds later, a similar occurrence saw Walcott free on goal again and the striker finished sublimely to put Arsenal in dream land after just 53 minutes of play.
With lots of time still left on the clock though, the hosts could hardly call it a day just yet and when Ivanovic headed home Drogba’s free-kick to pull a goal back for Chelsea only four minutes after Walcott’s goal, the contest and Arsenal’s nerves were back on again.
But the Gunners were not letting slip of this emphatic message to critics this time, as late introductions of Diaby, Chamakh and Roiscky helped retain three memorable points.