Chelsea 2 - 1 Arsenal: Match Report

Laurence Griffiths

Arsenal had a bad first half, a better second half, but not enough going forward, and left a snowy Stamford Bridge 2 - 1 losers on the day.

1 - 0 Juan Mata 6'
2 - 0 Frank Lampard PK 15'
2 - 1 Theo Walcott 58'

Arsenal had another miserable first half showing today and could not overcome the hole they dug for themselves, despite a better second frame. Here's how it happened.

Five minutes on, Olivier Giroud missed a very good chance when put through by Theo Walcott, a chance he really should have scored. Chelsea would make them pay a minute later, as Juan Mata left Sagna, who had pushed way up. Mata was free and took advantage, beating Wojciech Szczesny.

1 - 0, 6 minutes in. Francis Coquelin had been fouled in the build-up, but there was no call. Chelsea would dominate the next ten minutes, and they would find a way soon enough again. Abou Diaby was dispossessed far too easily in midfield, and the ball found its way forward quickly to Ramires, who was onside and clean through on goal. Szczesny was stranded and tried to tackle the Brazilian, but he was given a yellow, and Chelsea a penalty. It wasn't clear, but it was the decision from Atkinson.

Frank Lampard stepped up, and buried it. 2-0 to Chelsea, 15 minutes in. Arsenal's midfield were basically out of the picture for the next ten minutes, as Chelsea broke through them at maximum speed. They were in complete control.

There really wasn't much else to say. Arsenal had absolutely nothing going forward, and Chelsea came at them time and time again. The chances just came flooding all one way.

Halftime arrived; Arsenal were lucky, perhaps, to only be 2-0 down. Bacary Sagna was not doing well, Santi Cazorla was absent, and Jack Wilshere was stranded.

There would need to be a totally different second half.

Arsenal did come out a little more feisty, and had two shots on target, both straight at Petr Cech, in the first three minutes. That initial burst fizzled out pretty quickly, Ramires putting his knee into the back of Olivier Giroud.

But Chelsea weren't looking super solid, either, and 58 minutes in, Arsenal finally finished. Cazorla, playing centrally, found Walcott, playing centrally, with a lovely through ball through the Gary Cahill/Branislav Ivanovic high line, Walcott was through, and his lofted finish past Cech was great. He picked up a bit of an injury in the celebration, but carried on.

2 - 1, 58'

Aaron Ramsey replaced the dinged-up Francis Coquelin. Arsenal kept coming forwards now. They won a free kick on 66 minutes from just outside the area, which resulted in a corner that came to nothing. Fernando Torres was causing Thomas Vermaelen problems, but failed to make the most of his freedom.

Ryan Bertrand replaced Oscar on 72 minutes. Then, in a bit of hilarity, Andrei Arshavin replaced Abou Diaby on 75 minutes. 81 minutes saw Demba Ba replace Torres as Arsenal's push was fizzling out. He nearly made them pay on 82 minutes, put clean through, Szczesny coming way out and missing, only for his shot to be cleared off the line by Vermaelen.

Ashley Cole fouled Sagna on the edge of the box in a dangerous position on 87 minutes. Vermaelen's free kick fizzed wide of the far post.

Marko Marin came on in the 88th minute to replace Eden Hazard. There would be five minutes of extra time. Arsenal had two corners in the 93rd minute; neither came to anything, but after the second, Gary Cahill had to clear from in front of Walcott. There was another corner, and then another, before Vermaelen finally headed over, relieving the pressure on Chelsea.

That was it. Arsenal's second half push was not enough. Chelsea took all three points.


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