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Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea: Instant Reaction

In a game that was decided as much by the weather and Mike Dean as the players, it finished 0-0 at the Emirates.

Yeah, I don't really know what I'm doing either
Yeah, I don't really know what I'm doing either
Shaun Botterill

It's safe to say that's not what we were all looking for.  On a rainy night in London, Arsenal and Chelsea played out a scrappy, kind of ugly, at times tetchy 0-0 draw at the Emirates.

This was, to be charitable, not Arsenal's best night.  The only players to come out of this game with any real credit are Mikael Arteta and Per Mertesacker - everyone else, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, looked like they were wishing they were somewhere else.  Aaron Ramsey, in particular, will not look back on this match fondly - he was out of sync with pretty much everyone else on the pitch.  He looked worse than I've seen him in a good long while.

Let's make something clear.  I'm not a referee conspiracist, and I generally believe that if a team win, it's not the fault of a referee.  I still believe that, but on the same sequence in the first half, these two things happened:

Those two were just the most egregious of "decisions" by Mike Dean, today's referee.  If Arsenal had won, it would have been less annoying watching Dean run around like the head referee in the London Blind Referee Brigade; nothing he did cost Arsenal the game, but there's no way Chelsea should have finished the game with 11 on the pitch.

Anyway, that's that done - a point gained, not the best result but Arsenal are second, level with Liverpool on points, going into this insane stretch of games in the next couple weeks, which is not a bad place to be at all. This time last year, Arsenal were in fourth, with 30 points; joint top with 36 is a much better place to be.