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Where Do Chelsea and Arsenal Go From Here?

 Where Do Chelsea and Arsenal Go From Here?

You had to rub your eyes to believe it. The current Premier League champions, Chelsea, losing three-nil against the team, Arsenal, who had finished last season in third place. It was a role reversal of immense proportions. Chelsea played like Arsenal of last season, committing silly defensive errors while Arsenal played like Chelsea of last year, full of vigor, creativity and confidence. Chelsea managed to pull one back, but it never seemed that Carlo Ancelotti’s men had what it took to salvage a point from this match. Arsenal was unstoppable.

The big question, though, is where do both teams go from here?

Arsenal supporters and players will have little time to bathe in the afterglow of victory. That’s because the next match for the Gunners is Wednesday when they travel to Lancashire to play Wigan Athletic on a chilly night at DW Stadium. Roberto Martinez’s squad shouldn’t provide Arsenal with too much to worry about, despite their important 2-1 away win versus Wolves this past Sunday, but it’s vital that Arsenal doesn’t ruin an emphatic victory against Chelsea by following it up with losing points against either Wigan, or in its subsequent league matches against Birmingham City (away), Manchester City (home), West Ham (away) and, again, Wigan (home). On paper those matches seem very encouraging in terms of how many points Arsenal can pick up even against Manchester City. But Arsenal have stumbled before.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are in need of massive reconstructive surgery. The way Chelsea played Monday night summed up their woeful situation. Their few goalscoring opportunities came from set pieces. John Obi-Mikel, Santos Ramires and Gael Kakuta looked out of their depth. Michael Essien and Florent Malouda made uncharacteristic schoolboy errors. John Terry and Frank Lampard were ineffectual. Chelsea look like a team that no longer believes they can win anything this season.

They’ll soon be put to their test over the next few weeks when they play Bolton (home) on Wednesday, followed by league matches versus Aston Villa (home), Wolves (away), Blackburn (home), Bolton (away) and Sunderland (away). Similarly to Arsenal, these are all matches on paper that Chelsea should win. But given Chelsea’s dire situation of lacking self confidence and self belief, any of these aforementioned teams could cause Ancelotti’s team trouble.

In addition to worrying about how Chelsea will close the gap between themselves and United, they also have a white hot Tottenham Hotspur just one point behind them. It seems that Chelsea is getting hit from all sides right now. From above, below and internally within their own team as the side has imploded. Whether they have what it takes to fix themselves, we’ll have to wait and see and take it game by game. For a team who started the season on fire, playing like a machine and looking unstoppable, they’ve changed so much that they’re not even recognizable anymore.

This entry was posted in Arsenal, Chelsea, General, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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22 Responses to Where Do Chelsea and Arsenal Go From Here?

  1. Dave says:

    lots of football left in the season. it’s still wide open. the only team controlling its own destiny is man u. the other teams are in good positions but man u is behind to games and up 2 points so all they have to do is keep pace and win their two easily winnable make up games.

    it will be interesting to watch. but i give chelsea no chance at repeating. it will be city, u, spurs or afc.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Still a lot of the season to go, yes, but Chelsea looked like a wounded animal today. Ancelotti was motionless on the touchline even after they were 3-0 down. This looks like a Chelsea team that is nowhere near the highs that they achieved under Jose Mourinho. It’s hard to believe that many of those same players are still on the pitch.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Earl Reed says:

        There seems to be so much that’s going against Chelsea’s mental health at the moment. Between injury, power plays on the part of management, a lack of urgency caused by a pretty long run of success…there’s a lot going against them, and that doesn’t even account for anything Ancelotti does that rubs them the wrong way in the clubhouse.

        The Sunderland home shellacking seems to have been the real trigger. They did have an away loss to Liverpool two weeks before the Sunderland embarrassment, but that’s not as surprising as that home loss…especially seeing the offensive struggles Sunderland has experienced since that match.

      • Thomas says:

        Agreed. But by the same token, a lot of these players that were there under Mourinho are also 3 years older than they were back then.

        Though Ballack may not have ever lived up to the hype, he was more than solid for Chelsea.

        Lampard was largely ineffectual, and it’s not surprising considering the massive layoff he’s had.

        Sorry, but Ivanovic centrally is nowhere near the level Carvalho was at 3 years ago for chelsea.

        And I don’t think Mikel has adequately replaced Maka in the DM role for Chelsea.

        So yes, Ashley Cole, Lampard, Terry, Ferreira (whos not been all too great recently), and Drogba might have been the same, but this is nowhere near the team that Mourinho lead to Premier League dominance.

  2. jonathan says:

    i loved the way arsenal played today. it was easy to see early on that chelsea’s heads were not in it…they looked flat as they did during the loss to sunderland. i agree that this race is wide open between 4-5 different clubs. although i like arsenals chances, assuming they don’t get in their own heads as they are accustomed to doing…but i like the gunners chances of lifting that trophy at the end of the season..united haven’t completely run away with it, they still have to play city, spurs, arsenal, liverpool and chelsea (x2)…it’s definitely not over yet.

  3. Huskerscott says:

    Chelsea’s big problem is that they have turned Drogba into a defender. How many times did you see him drop back and defend Chelsea’s box? He is their main goal threat and he is a football field away from doing any damage. If Chelsea get back to basics, keep Drogba in the other teams box so he can bring other players in, and Lampard continues his late runs into the box, Chelsea will be okay. But until they get back to this formula, they will continue to drop points.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Good point Huskerscott. Chelsea really bunkered themselves in defense. There were several times in the first half when they had eight players in their own penalty box defending, Drogba included. Arsenal’s timing to score that first goal was crucial because it didn’t allow Chelsea to come flying out of the games until the second half began. And Chelsea then quickly ran out of steam.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  4. Spurs fan says:

    Watching as a neutral, and hoping for a draw, I am not sure the match showed how good the Gooners were, or how much Skelsea have fallen. I was very surprised (and impressed) with how Wilshere and Song were allowed to control the midfield – usually Skelsea have bullied the Arsenal in this part of the park. By the Russian letting certain players go – Ballack, Carvallo, etc., Skelsea’s squad players could barely compete in the Championship never mind the Premiership.
    Based on todays result, I think we (Spurs) have a better chance finishing ahead of Skelsea, or Man City, rather than that other lot in North London for a CL slot!

    • The Gaffer says:

      Spurs fan, I definitely feel it showed how much Chelsea have fallen rather than how good Arsenal is. There’s no doubt that Arsenal deserved to win this match, but Chelsea were there for the taking and made two clinical errors which gifted Arsenal a couple of goals.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • matt says:

      Your reactionary comments are typical and unimpressive. Suggesting that Chelsea, after losing an away game to a team currently sitting 2nd, could not compete in the 2nd division is absurd and robs your opinion of all merit.

      Especially coming from a man who appears to support a team that was thoroughly outplayed at home by Chelsea a fortnight ago and currently sits behind them despite Chelsea’s heinous run of form over the past 6 weeks.

    • matt says:

      What Spurs fan was a neutral for this game?

      Anyway, I find it highly amusing that a Spurs fan suggests Chelsea wouldn’t compete in the Championship after Chelsea thoroughly outplayed Spurs – at WHL – just a fortnight ago, and currently sit ahead of Spurs despite winning just once in 7 weeks.

      Chelsea are in a poor vein of form. They’ll be back. Will they win the league? Remains to be seen. All signs say they won’t, but there are 19 fixtures remaining. Let’s all ease off the “they’re finished” button until April. That goes for United if they drop a pair, or the Gunners if they lose to Wigan later this week, or City of they drop points as well.

      In the meantime, Gunners ought to enjoy an inspiring win, and Chelsea fans ought to be assured that the same 11 that won the double last year are still wearing Blue, and will return to form eventually – but hope it happens sooner rather than later.

    • Dominic says:

      Dear Spurs fan
      So It’s not a question of Arsenal being so good but rather that Chelsea are so bad, and thus Spurs are more likely to finish ahead of them than Arsenal. Please remind me, didn’t Spurs only draw at home to Chelsea thanks to a missed penalty from Drogba?
      There’s a long way to go in the season but Arsenal are definitley looking up

    • jleau says:

      A neutral Spurs fan watching the gunners, LMAO. Not sure which Chelsea v. Arsenal games you’ve been watching, but getting bullied out of the midfield has not been the problem. A complete inability to deal with Drogba and some poor defending usually do them in.

      Thrilled with the win, but I would agree with the notion that the game says more about Chelsea than Arsenal. Drogba had to do a lot of defending, Malouda was uncharacteristicaly poor, and Lampard seems a bit away from being 100%.

  5. Rimmy J says:

    The game ended 3-1.

  6. matt says:

    Let the Chelsea grave diggers have at it – they were awful today. However, the league changes hands every week, and it’d take a brave and foolish man to say that Chelsea, the current champions, are “done” with 19 fixtures to go.

    Man U are well positioned to win the title back, but Chelsea are not out of it. Two games to go with United leaves a handful of point to be claimed, not to mention any additions/improvements made in the meantime.

    re: Arsenal – all credit to finishing off the two gifted breakaways from the Chelsea back line. They cleared a major mental hurdle today. Chelsea were tripped up on theirs.

  7. Fahad says:

    I’d have to say that Arsenal well deserved to win the game but we all saw how much chelsea have fallen rather how Arsenal have improved with the 2 errors that lead to 2nd & 3rd goals which killed the game.
    Personally as a Man United fan I happier to see chelsea drop more points as I beleive Arsenal would drop off points later on specially when the CL starts again.

    As for Chelsea, we would all have to wonder how much did Ray had an affect on the team, given that Chelsea didn’t win any game since he was sacked.

  8. feedbaQ says:

    am a man utd fan and was jumping off the sits after the final wistle, am really happy for arsenal because over the past 4 years they played the better football than chelsea only to be outdone by a drogba goal, and really no one took notice of how good arsenal always are against chelsea but last night they had a good perfomance and a result to back it up, congraturations!, as for chelsea they have lost their x_factor and every team wants to play chelsea at this moment, carlo teams are always built on strength and expirience and the premier league has now become a full time pace on all fronts league and chelsea are paying the price for that, pacey sides are getting the better of chelsea peharps carlo can sign usain bolt if not then he might aswell strip naked and run to the land of italia!

  9. RVPFan says:

    Feels good to get this monkey of the back. It was beginning to get really annoying. Boys stuck in their tackles and won so many 50/50 balls. Song was just immense. Theo works really hard. There is no doubt that sometimes he overruns himself and does not have a good end-product when it comes to crossing from the flanks or passing, but I have seen him smack some beauty in the back of the net and some immaculate assists with that nifty right peg ‘a his, let’s put it that way. I think he should get the nod ahead of Arshavin, because Arsha is too lazy and casual when it comes to coming back and defending. It’s amazing how many times Theo ran back to help out and still got the energy to run down the flanks. He was swapping places with RVP, and they were both working together very well, and with Nasri, the trio of Walcott-RVP-Nasri worked really well together.

    Special mention to Djorou. This guy was phenomenal against one-on-one match up with Didier. And another special mention for Didier Drogba, who happens to be one of my favorite striker even though he has tormented us many times. But the guy is class. Just read his comments after the match. Why you have to be so nice, Didier? :)

  10. Curtis says:

    Chelsea have just aged quickly. Drogba and Anelka aren’t the same players they were last year. Terry looks another step slower. And they lack depth at the CB position. They need to go out during the transfer window and get an under 30 striker with skill and another reliable CB.

  11. SantaClaus says:

    Chelsea showed their age yesterday by being slower in all aspects of the game. Terry and Drogba are no longer the force they once were and there is nobody in the squad capable of replacing them. Still lot of games left but it sure doesn’t look like this will be Chelsea’s year in the EPL. That might just free them up with a run for the Champions League. It’s the one title Abramovich craves the most.

    Arsenal played well enough to win and were gifted a couple of goals by Chesea errors. Hopefully this win will help them psychologically when they play teams like Manchester United. However, this is just one game and they will have to win these types of big games to challenge for the title. The title is still Manchester United’s to lose but Arsenal and Manchester City might be their main challengers.

  12. brn442 says:

    This match proved that at 70%, Van Persie is still Arsenal’s senior striker, and if he can stay fit and come into full form then…….

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