The last time Arsenal beat Chelsea in the Premier League, the year was 2011 and Robin Van Persie was still with us.
That day produced possibly one of the best games I have ever seen,A�well second best. First will always go to the Arsenal comeback vs. Reading, that was something else really. But to score 4 goals, after going down against Chelsea, was anA�achievement for Arsenal. We eventually beat them 5-3, with Van Persie scoring a hat trick and two goals from Walcott and Andre Santos.A�But today was different.
Today was something else.
Today Arsenal were brilliant all round. Cech made some sensational saves; Koscienly and Mustafi had Costa in their pocket and so much more. But as the full-time bell chimed, there was no one who was more relived and delighted that his team had beaten Chelsea. But even then he was cautiously optimistic as Arsenal had given up 3-0 leads before. So he went about doing his job, bellowing instructions to his defenders and what not. But when the referee’s whistle blew, Arsene Wenger was a happy man. He had his revenge, they did after all spoil his 1000th match in charge of the Gunners. His tactics worked to the T, his fans were brilliant and his players were out of this world!!
Speaking of players out of this world, there’s Alexis Sanchez!!
What does one say about Alexis Sanchez?? He picked Cahilla��s pocket brilliantly and then finished with such ease that it made me believe it was nothing. His work rate to even chase after Cahill and pressurize him into the mistake was something else indeed. Arsenal better hold on to him, he’s probably their best chance of recreating Thierry Henry!! But even that was nothing compared to the second goal, which came 4 odd minutes later, all thanks to the passing sense instilled by the great Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal have always been brilliant at the passing game, producing some beautiful goals with those little one touch pass and go moves right in front of the opponents box. Take Wilsherea��s goal against Norwich City or Tomas Roisckya��s vs. Sunderland or Mesut Ozil vs. Bournemouth. All were brilliant goals at the end of what seemed like a never-ending passing move. The bang out of nowhere, they produce these one touch passes, backheels, flicks over the shoulder and suddenly a player is in on goal for an easy finish.
Today was no different. It started at the back with Mustafi who gave it to Walcott. He then carried the ball forward and passed it to Santi Carzola who gave it to Ozil. While he was doing this, Iwobi and Sanchez had dropped into the hole. That space between the attack and the defence, which provides many a headaches to defenders and central defensive midfielders alike.
By now Walcott had joined them too, so Cazorla gives it to Ozil, whileA�Walcott moves towards the goal. Ozil gives it to Iwobi who immediately gives it back and moves towards his left, while Sanchez moves forward and brings Kante with him. Ozil returns the ball to Iwobi, Kante realizes this but ita��s too late to change direction and he slips, leaving Iwobi unmarked.A�Without missing a beat, he spots Bellerina��s run down the left hand side of the box and slots the ball through the Chelsea defense. All the Spanish man needs is a touch, to guide the ball to an unmarked Walcott who slots it straight past Courtoisa��s flaying hands and body. Goal numberA�two.
Simply sensational to watch..
The Third was put away on a brilliant counter attack, something else that Arsenal having been doing very well off late. Wenger realized that against big teams like Bayern Munich or Manchester City and even Chelsea, that his possession and intricate passing moves may not be as effective. So he adjusted his tactics, something he is not prone to doing. So the first time Arsenal played City last term, they barely had the ball. Considering that they normally have well over 55% possession nearly every match, this was ground-breaking. And considering the result, (the Gunners won 2-1), it showed that they had the pace, the stamina and the players to play this method effectively.
It showed again during the Bayern Munich game at the Emirates. They let the German side have majority of the ball and saw nearly nothing, but nothing was more than enough. Wenger had enough faith in his team, that he forgo his beautiful yet tedious passing method for a more smash and grab method. But knowing Arsenal as well as he does, he knew that even a smash and grab would be beautifully executed and it was. Bayern had over 77% possession but Arsenal wonA�that match thanks to two late goals.
And this counter could not have been scripted any better. Ozil glided with the ball at his feet, he had Sanchez to his right and two Chelsea players in front of him. He nicked it to the Chilean, who peeled off the two defenders before chipping it in for Ozil. The German saw everything in slow motion, as he usually does and he took his time. He replayed the shot over and did the physics of itA�in his mind. He then volleyed the ball into the ground and it bounced easily above Cahill and Courtois and into the back off the net.
That was it, Game Set and Match.
Contea��s side never really looked like they were ever in this game and Arsene Wenger got his present for 20 years of service. Arsene Wenger and Arsenal however, looked far different, they looked like a side ready to take on good teams and beat them. Or maybe Ia��m getting ahead off myself, after all this is only Chelsea. If we beat City and Guardiola like this, then thata��ll definitely be something.
However, Conte is known for his solid back four and today it was anything but. Sure blames go all around, the lack of leadership, Cahill and Luiz not being good enough against the Arsenal front line and so on and so forth. But however, blame the defence all you want, the front line didna��t do their job either.
But then again, Bellerin, Koscienly, Mustafi and Monreal were all brilliant. Bellerin showed why Barcelona and City want him so badly! He produced a brilliant assist for Walcotta��s goal and then towards the end made a sensational tackle on Pedro. And if that wasna��t enough, it seems that in Koscienly and Mustafi, Arsenal may have finally found a solid center back pairing.
Sure they had Mertesacker and Kos, but the tall German is not the fastest player around and Koscienly had to cover double the ground when tracking back. Mustafi may not be a Hector Bellerin when it comes to speed and acceleration, but he can certainly keep up with Koscienly and is cool, calm and collected in defence. Between the four of them, they kept 2015 PFA player of the year Eden Harzard, barfight man Diego Costa and dependable Willan quite for the entire match.
After a long, long time we see a something about this Arsenal side. Perhaps it is as Wenger said a�?We feel as though we are on the way upa�� and this performance proved that point brilliantly. It was the complete performance from the Gunners, something we havena��t seen in a while. But the question remains, can they build on this??