Emirates side get the upper hand in entertaining London derby.
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Arsenal powered their way past a Chelsea side who are in desperate need of a wake up call from Stamford Bridge boss Carlo Ancelotti.
Arsene Wenger will have been immensely pleased with the manner in which his side bounced back from their half hearted display at Old Trafford and the three points collected from the London derby keeps the Gunners well and truly in the hunt for the title, but anyone righting off Chelsea may be doing so a tad too early.
The first half saw two sides battling equally in a typical 100mph end to end struggle that was fascinating to watch. The Blues held onto possession but seemed to lack ideas as centre back pairing Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou stood firm against chief tormentor Didier Drogba and the balance of the game shifted when Alex Song slammed home the opener seconds from the half time break.
Ancelotti will have spent the half time break trying to convince his off colour side that they could fight their way back into this encounter but a run of five games without a win clearly hung heavy over a side who is clearly not used to such slumps in form and as the two sides came out for the second half you could see that only one side was mentally prepared for the fight.
Theo Walcott had shown the worst sides of his game in the first half, where he used his pace to get into good positions only to put in a sub standard cross however for ten minutes after the break he was near unplayable. Two mistakes by Chelsea were punished with clinical precision by the home side.
A Michael Essien mistake let in Walcott and the England international put in Cesc Fabregas who finished from close range and the two players worked well as the Arsenal skipper put in the winger and the youngster finished well, the type of finish that perhaps he would have put wide if the Gunners were not already two goals to the good.
Branislav Ivanovic showed up some defensive naivety when he rose to head in what turned out to be a consolation goal. It appeared that Carlo Ancelotti’s decision to not haul Frank Lampard off was more to do with not wishing to admit he had made a mistake by bringing the usually dependable midfielder back from injury a little too early.
The win confirms Arsenal are title contenders and Chelsea will need to pick up points soon or find themselves playing catch up a position they are unaccustomed to taking up.
Fabianski – 6.5 (Had little to do and seemed to duck under Ivanovic’s header)
Sagna – 7.5 (A constant threat, worked well with Walcott)
Koscielny – 7.5 (Seemed to get his positioning all wrong during the first half hour but solid from then on)
Djourou – 8.5 (Possibly the Swiss international’s best game in an Arsenal shirt)
Clichy – 8 (Usual attacking threat balanced with quick running to tackle back)
Fabregas – 8 (Showed some nice touches and helped fuel most Arsenal attacks)
(Rosicky) – 6 (Not on long enough to make an impact)
Nasri – 7 (Got himself into good positions but final ball or effort on goal let him down)
Walcott – 8 (Strong running and effective attacking weapon that Chelsea simply could not cope with)
(Diaby) – 6.5 (On just long enough to fluff what should have been a fourth goal)
A Song – 7.5 (Solid in midfield, scored the crucial first goal)
Wilshere – 8.5 (Gave a Man of the Match performance, never stopped running)
Van Persie – 7.5 (Tried hard but still short of full fitness)
(Chamakh) – 7 (Helped close out the game by holding up the ball well)
Cech – 6 (Seems to have lost confidence, taking most crosses feebly)
Ivanovic – 7.5 (Gave a performance full of heart and determination)
A Cole – 6.5 (Struggled to cope with Theo Walcott all night)
Ferreira – 6 (Lacked pace, unable to deal with Nasri and Clichy)
(Bosingwa) -6 (Came on for Ferreira and must surely be a more viable right back option)
Terry – 6.5 (Subdued)
Essien – 6.5 (Not his usual self)
Lampard – 6 (Probably brought back from injury too early, was never in the game)
Mikel – 6 (Subbed at half-time)
(Ramires) – 6 (Rarely got involved and appears to be an expensive mistake)
Malouda – 6.5 (Off form Frenchman hauled off early in the second half)
(Kakuta) – 6 (Lightweight and almost gave away a goal when he put Nasri in on goal)
Drogba – 7 (Tried hard to get his team back into the game)
Kalou – 6.5 (Seemed unable to really get into the game)
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