For the first 60 minutes at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, the game looked remarkably familiar. Chelsea were passing the ball beautifully around the pitch. Wonderful movement off the ball. Using incredible amounts of imagination and creativity. Yet they couldn’t seem to score that crucial second goal.
Chelsea were Arsenal. Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side were a joy to watch, but they wasted chance after chance and failed to put the game out of Arsenal’s reach. Instead it was Arsenal, who played very much unlike the Arsenal we know and admire, that were the most decisive when they took the few chances they received to record an incredible 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.
After Johan Djourou’s own goal gifted Chelsea their goal in the first half, it was up to Robin van Persie to capitalize on two gilt-edge chances to win the match for the Gunners. The second was a beautiful twist and turn to kick the ball past the reach of Petr Cech, but van Persie’s first goal was mired in controversy.
My first reaction was that van Persie was completely offside, but TWI co-commentator Robbie Earle was quick to call the goal a correct decision after he noticed that the ball deflected off Ashley Cole into van Persie’s path. After rewinding the play in the game several times, I could see how Earle’s reading of the game was spot on.
Here’s how the rest of the media summed up the controversial incident:
“He looked well offside when he drilled home the equaliser after 59 minutes” — Phil McNulty, BBC Sport.
“As the Brazilian slipped the ball through, Van Persie was clearly offside. Mike Dean waved play on, mysteriously, allowing the Dutchman to beat Cech with a strong right-footed finish.” — Henry Winter, The Telegraph, and
“The first of Robin van Persie’s goals, should have been ruled offside.” — Kevin McCarra, The Guardian.
So, who was correct? Should the goal have stood and did Robbie Earle make the right call that everyone else missed? I’m siding with Earle on this one, but post your feedback below by clicking the comments link.