By Walter Broeckx
Untold Arsenal has predicted it before. We have seen it all before. We knew it would happen if the chance would arise and lo and behold… Atkinson did it again.
Arsenal started rather bright and got the first chance. Özil winning the ball high up field, gave it to Iwobi whose shot took a deflection on Luiz and went wide from the goal. Chelsea also attacked and won few corners. Both teams trying to attack when they got the ball with Chelsea trying to speculate a bit more on a quick counter attack than Arsenal who tried to bring the ball up more slowly.
Cahill nodded a free kick in to the ground and well over. And then came the moment we know would come. A cross from the right and Costa beat Bellerin in the air and the ball came off the crossbar. The ball flew high in the air and Alonso came in with a leading elbow that smashed against the head of Bellerin and then headed home the ball. Of course Atkinson saw no wrong. It was a Chelsea elbow knocking an Arsenal player unconscious so that is never a foul for Atkinson.
The way Bellerin fell to the floor even a blind man could see that this was person who was completely off this world. A knock out. If we take the laws of the game we find that when a player comes in with an arm/elbow to the head of an opponent that is always a reckless foul. Why? Because it can cause a severe injury to the player at the wrong end of the elbow. When a player is unconscious you can only come to the conclusion that excessive force has been applied. And when a reckless foul is being done with excessive force the only punishment is : a red card.
The fact that it was a duel to score a goal is not significant at all. Trying to score a goal doesn’t allow you to kill people. No you still have to take care of the safety of an opponent and knocking an opponent knock out is not doing that. Instead of Arsenal being 1-0 down, Chelsea should have been down to 10 man. But Atkinson once again managed to make the task of Chelsea a lot easier when playing against Arsenal. As he did two seasons ago when he allowed Cahill to kick Alexis unpunished in what should have been a red card against the Chelsea player. Untold Arsenal predicted it would happen and so it did.
All what followed after that was … the Atkinson factor. Arsenal attacked and Chelsea mostly countered. Gabriel who came on for Bellerin who clearly didn’t know where he was after the elbow against his face had a great chance but he placed his hard header to central and Courtois could palm it away. At the other end the assistant didn’t flag Costa offside when he came back from an offside position but luckily apart from a corner nothing worse happened. It is offside when you come from an offside position and attack the defender who controls the ball from behind you know mr. linesman. But he didn’t want to upset Mr. Atkinson I guess. Arsenal a goal down at half time with the best chance falling for Özil but Courtois with a good save on his low shot.
With Atkinson having done his best you knew it would be a blue wall after the break. And if there is one thing Italians can do it is setting up a defensive wall. For large parts many Chelsea players in their own half (all of them) and waiting for the misplaced pass and then start a quick counter attack. One of those attacks Hazard was allowed too much time and space on the ball. Coquelin and Kos didn’t do enough to stop him. You can be sure that if this would have been the other way round a Chelsea player would make sure that our attacker was brought down, but for some reason our defenders and midfielders try too much to play according to the laws of the game. A smal trip would have been enough but they chose to not make a foul and thus Hazard could score. A valid goal, one we have to blame ourselves for.
Arsenal tried to attack but the blue wall was unbeatable. Welbeck came close but again Courtois with a great save to palm the header out of his goal. And then came the moment of Cech madness. His kicking isn’t that good but surely he should have done better with the ball he got from a throw in. He now kicked it very tame right in the feet of Fabregas who just had to kick it in the empty goal. What a terrible mistake. To be honest I am not the person to bad mouth an Arsenal player but I surely wouldn’t mind seeing Ospina in goal in the next matches and hell, I wouldn’t mind an Italian loanee keeper back in our squad from next summer on. Not for the first time I think that Cech is not performing to the high standards we have known from him.
A bit later Giroud headed in a cross from Monreal in extra time. But that was nothing more than a consolation goal.
Did Atkinson interfere with the result? Yes he sure did. The first goal that put Chelsea in the driving seat should have been disallowed. Maybe some 50 years ago this was allowed in football but not in the last 15 years. Oh, sorry forgot in PGMO land it is allowed as long as it an Arsenal player.
That goal gave Chelsea what they wanted and hoped for. Sitting back and counter for large parts of the match. But in the end they scored two valid goals against our one valid goal. One howler from Cech leaves a very sour taste in my mouth to be honest.
So maybe we would have lost the match but I really doubt this would have happened if Chelsea had to play with 10 men for 75 minutes. Because let us not forget that is what should have happened if Atkinson would have taken his bias away from his refereeing. I asked the question after the Sunderland match: is this coincidence (about Atkinson being biased and blind) or just plain bias. We all know the answer. I bet Mike will have sweet dreams tonight….