By Walter Broeckx
From the team that brought us our second FA cup final in one year Arsenal made four changes.
Ospina cam in goal and Szczesny dropped to the bench again. At right back Bellerin came back in the team and Debuchy dropped next to Szczeseny. Monreal also took back hos place from Gibbs.
Per Mertesacker recovered from his ankle injury from last weekend and could start. Gabriel not even on the bench so in case of a central defender dropping out it would be Debuchy or Monreal who was the third change that can come to the centre and Gibbs coming in if needed.
Up front Giroud starts in the place of Welbeck. All in all the changes most that one would have expected.
The team that started: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud. And on the bench: Szczesny, Debuchy, Gibbs, Wilshere, Walcott, Flamini, Welbeck.
A bit of a tight start from both teams with a few fouls called by the ref. Neither team coming close to the keeper in the opening minutes. A free kick from Cazorla ends up with Courtois and that was the first keeper in action after 5 minutes. Oscar looking for a penalty with a patetic dive. Ivanovic kicking Alexis from behind getting him reprimanded but no card. Alexis then being pulled back bu ref lets it go this time. Arsenal now the better team and Chelsea in their favourite role defending. A wonderful attack on the left flank is just cut out by Ivanovic. 0-0 after 15 minutes.
A ball from Fabregas over the top to Oscar who lobs Ospina but Bellerin can save a few meters in front of the goal line. Oscar and Opsina collide and the first needs some treatment. Fabregas then going down in the penalty area but ref Oliver who was two meters away gives a dive and a yellow against Fabregas to the amusement of the Emirates. Ref Oliver then doesn’t give Arsenal a corner when a attempt from Giroud is blocked . For the moment Cahill and Terry heading away all the crosses aimed at Giroud. 0-0 after half an hour.
Arsenal attack Bellegin puts in a cross and Cahill handles the shot with his arm but again Oliver refuses to put the ball on the spot. Coquelin then has to chase Hazard and brings him down at the cost of a yellow card. Chelsea with an attack but Ramires shoots too weak and Ospina can easily save. Ramsey then with a nice control and back heel forcing a corner to Arsenal. Arsenal come close but the shot from Alexis goes well wide in the end. Arsenal again have a few shots but the final shot goes straight at Courtois.
At half time the score was 0-0 with both teams keeping each other at a distance. Arsenal had most of the ball and Chelsea waiting for that counter. You feel as if this will be a goalles draw or a small victory for one team.
One change for Chelsea with Drogba coming on in the place of Oscar. Monreal the one with the first attempt in the direction of the goal after some 5 minutes but it went well wide. Fabregas colliding in to Ospina right on the edge of the penalty area causing some medical assistance for our keeper. On the hour mark Coquelin headed a ball and his head clashed against the back of the head of Drogba leading to another medical intervention. Still 0-0.
Almost a shooting chance then for Ramseu but a defender was first to the ball. Monreal with a low cross but a defender could block the attempt from Alexis. A low shot from Drogba from far outside the penalty area was easily picked up by Ospina. Özil just not getting enough control or he would have been through. Willian then hitting Koscielny in the face and only getting a yellow card for it. From the resulting free kick the ball fell for Mertesacker but he dragged his shot wide. Typical defenders attempt one could say.
Ivanovic getting a yellow card for kicking Alexis from behind. Drogba getting a corner and not a penalty for a handball. Ref was right it was from very close that Drogba kicked against the arm of Koscielny. Arsenal then trying and having a shot from Cazorla but it went well wide. 0-0 after 75 minutes.
Welbeck came in the place of Coquelin. Ramsey dropping a bit back in midfield. Arsenal looking a bit more pressing forward. Theo came in the place of Giroud with 7 minutes to go. Ramsey getting a yellow card for stopping Hazard. Fabregas was taken off in the last minute by Mourinho. In extra time a low cross from Monreal no Arsenal player could really connect properly. Both Özil and Welbeckk missing the big chance. Cazorla getting in the book also for a foul to stop a Chelsea counter. Monreal also getting a yellow card for stopping a counter.
Chelsea celebrating a draw as if they had won said it all at the final whistle. They had came to kill any football spectacle and they did this with expertise. What a boring experience signed, sealed and delivered by specialist in boring football Jose the eye poker Mourinho.
Arsenal now sit level with City in second place with one game in hand. United losing was the best thing of this football day. Poor chap that paid the £1000 on the black market…..