The word “drog” should be in the dictionary(no not the urban one). “Drog” – verb- Completely dominating one’s opponent in the style of an Ivorian footballing machine.
It was an all too familiar story at Stamford Bridge. Dider Drogba, 12 goals in 12 games against Arsenal. The man simply does not play his age. At 31, he’s still running with the pace of a 26 year old. There is no doubt that the Gunners are sick to the sight of him.
Prior to the game, Sir Alex encouraged Arsenal to batter Chelsea. Wishful thinking on the old fox’s part? Chelsea are now back on top, 2 points clear, and Arsenal’s titles hopes hang by a thread. But what exactly went wrong for the Gunners?
The 5 Could Nots
1) Arsenal Could Not Defend
Same old story. Set pieces are still Arsenal’s Achilles Heel. Disgraced former England captain John Terry lost his marker and rose to head the ball towards the far post, where Didier Drogba lost his marker to stab the ball home. 2 players, 2 markers lost.
For the second goal, Vermalen inexplicably left Drogba alone on the right. Perhaps he didn’t see Clichy speeding back to assist Gallas in the centre. Who knows? He could have stuck with Drogba and forced him to go wide, possibly preventing the concession of the second goal. Instead, he joined Clichy and Gallas in the centre and when the ball reached Drogba, there was only going to be one outcome.
They say a good keeper is worth at least 15 points in a season. Almunia, for me, is worth only 2. His defence does not seem to feel confident about him keeping goal. He has not earned the respect of his team mates, and that is where the problem lies. Arsenal need a goalkeeper who isn’t afraid to bark at his players and be the alpha male in defence. Peter Schmeichel did it. Peter Shilton did it. Edwin Van Der Sar is still doing it. And they have all won trophies with their respective clubs.
2) Cech Could Not Be Beaten
Too good. Cech was simply too good to be beaten. It was a brave Peter Cech, one that seemed to have been missing for the past few games. Last night, he claimed corners, dove at player’s feet, and demonstrated remarkable reactions to deny Arsenal again and again, notably Arshavin’s volley, the 1 v 1 with Nasri and Fabregas’ freekick. Almunia could take a page or two out of Cech’s book.
3) Wenger Could Not Read Carlo’s Tactics
The Italian job comes to mind. Carlo Ancelotti knew exactly what to do against Wenger’s Boys. He knew all too well that Arsenal’s big problem was not with passing, but with finishing off moves. Chelsea sat back and allowed Arsenal to play their passing game, and the moment Arsenal felt settled and comfortable enough, someone would nip in to steal the ball, and with lightning speed, a counterattack would be launched ie. Second goal. Mr Wenger, however, stuck to his guns. To be fair, Arsenal’s response after going 1 – 0 down was surprising, and quite pleasing. They looked hell bent on causing trouble for Chelsea. Arshavin, especially, looked in the mood for destruction. Sadly, it was not their day.