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Arsenal – Chelsea, a tale of free kicks

By Walter Broeckx

The 6th game was the game it happened. It could have been the name of a thriller. And in a way it was a thriller. But one with a bad ending.  Not that there were a lot of chances with both defences mostly on top during the game. But in the 6th league game we lost our first game.

With all 3 centre backs fit it was interesting to see who would start. Koscielny got the starting place and Per Mertesacker was on the bench. Last season Koscielny was our best centre back so nobody really could complain about this. It also was thought that against the quick dribblers from Chelsea Koscielny would be the better choice. Koscielny who last season had made a few top strikers look like débutantes would surely be up for the task was the general consensus before the start.

Sometimes things that you think are reasonable and very wise can suddenly be turned on his heads by events on the field.

The first bad thing happening was Diaby going off after only 15 minutes. It lead to a few changes on the field and before we would we really set ourselves we found ourselves 0-1 down. A Mata free kick was poked in by Torres at the far post after a tussle with Koscielny.  Suddenly you could hear a few thousands goners think: would Per had dealt with this better?  And would the height of Diaby could have prevented the ball going that far?

Because the calmness we have seen in the first games of the season was out of the window in the centre of the defence.  I know a lot of people have been very critical (over critical) about Mertesacker. I rather like having him in defence and was it a coincidence him not on the field resulting in not enough rest in defence? Of course we will never know. But maybe with the experience from Mertesacker he would have had more an eye for the ball as now Koscielny seemed more interested in tussling with Torres.

Chelsea then could revert to their favourite tactics and kept lots of people behind the ball.  Arsenal missing the big (height wise)  guns in the team tried to play over the ground and this resulted in a well taken goal from Gervinho. A low cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain, a control and turn from Gervinho and an excellent finish from the Ivory Coast striker.  1-1 at half time and this was a fair result between two teams that kept each other in balance for most of the time.

The second half started disastrous for Arsenal. A foul on Torres resulted in a free kick in the same area as where they scored from in the first half. And again Mata whipped in the ball and a slight deflection on the shin of Koscielny made sure the ball ended up in the net.

More than half an hour for the Gunners to score an equaliser. And they came close a few times. A header from Podolski brought up a great save from Cech.  A shot from Giroud that got a deflection was somehow saved by Cech.

After a foul on Arteta we headed against the post and for some strange reason the assistant signalled offside so game stopped. A very strange decision as the only Arsenal player to have been offside was Gervinho and he never was near to the ball.

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And in extra time Oxlade-Chamberlain gave an excellent ball to Giroud who half rounded the keeper but his effort ended on the wrong side of the goalpost in the side net.

So what can we say about this game? A loss against the league leaders. The league leaders couldn’t score a goal from open play and had to rely on their free kick taking. We had more possession, more shots on and off target, won more duels, had a better passing accuracy. FT Stats Arsenal v Chelsea Shots 17-10, On target 4-3, Fouls 14-14, Duels Won 51%-49%, Pass Accuracy 88%-84%, Possession 51%-49%

But Chelsea made the most of their free kicks and we didn’t defend them well enough. I wonder who the AAA will blame for this. The new found defensive organisation was something they praised Bould for. Will it now be Bouls who gets the blame?  Maybe Koscielny was still a bit rusty. After all he has been out for a few weeks and hadn’t started a game until last week. And he can’t have become a bad defender over night.

And we must understand that we cannot play Mertesacker each weak as this also would lead to him getting injured. So I thought the choice for Koscielny was all right at the start of the game but it somehow backfired with us conceding from two free kicks.

We didn’t deserve to lose this game. I think a draw would have been a fair result for both teams but the league table isn’t about what is fair. It is about taking your chances. Chelsea was the better team in this (if you can call those free kicks chances) . That is how football goes sometimes

6 games gone. We played away at Man City, Stoke and Liverpool. Played against Chelsea. So all what are very difficult away games for us and one home game against a top team out of the way. Now it is time to show that we can make a run in the league when we play a few of the teams that we should win from.

The next 3 games in the league are against West Ham, Norwich and QPR. If we manage 9 points from these games we could be close to the top teams as they will start to play each other.  So let us move on and look forward to the next game and make sure we take our chances a bit better when they come.

65 comments to Arsenal – Chelsea, a tale of free kicks

  • silentstan

    i think your glasses are rose tinted. we were very poor. up against players of movement we gave them too much space and left them unchallenged to turn and run. Ramsey proved again he is one paced. Gervinho proved again that given time to think, he cant. Ox proved he is 2 years away from being good enough. Kos and Verm proved that without PM height we are soft centred. Walcott proved yet again that he is pointless against top teams. we got what we deserved and it could have been far worse

  • I think it was a poor decision by Wenger to drop Merts. He has been excellent. TV is our weakest defender and should have been left out.

    As for being unlucky, I am sorry but it is not luck at all, we make errors too often to lose games. This is mentality not luck.

  • Reload

    Blah blah blah same old rubbish about how we need to learn and do better next time. It never happens. It will never happen.

  • Oguntuase Amos

    It was a game that could have gone either way. The bottom line is that Chelsea was lucky while Arsenal was not. Any good defender could make a mistake. This is not the time to blame anybody but a time to forge ahead with a good team spirit and learn what we ought to have done differently, after all both Man U and Real Madrid have lost games yet nobody crucified them. Yes the result was bad but we were neither outplayed nor disgraced. Last year we beat Chelsea in their backyard so it was a pay back. Let us focus on what is ahead, the past is gone.

  • zekeh

    heartbroken after the match…..after all d hype and squad available still we could not manage a win…..first of all it all went wrong at the start when ramsey ( he is not a winger) started and when diaby got injured had hopes of playing on a high tempo(which got us the equaliser) but again in second half we lost it in the midfield…ramsey poorest performer in the match…his tendency of keeping d ball little long doesnt amuse me a bit which also got him a yellow card….things need to be shaken up for next game.
    jus my opinion no personal grudges please correct me if m wrong

  • The loss today is not as painful (to me) than the reality that this our team WILL end this season without another trophy!!!
    I know many gooners will disagree but before they bare their fangs, just keep this mail and let us re-visit in May 2013 (God willing).
    The lesson i saw today was that we cant compete at the very highest level!
    Also, can someone help reach to Wenger to get a special coach o train his plyers how o shoot, with force, and how to keep the ball low nd get the target. Firing wide is one of our problems!

  • dan

    Tight game, we were the difference apart from our own goal did chelsea create in open play? I don’t recall anything or a save pushed out by our keeper.

    @Remi
    We can’t compete at the highest level, What??? We out played Man Shitty and I consider them a harder team to play than the Chavz, the only thing we learnt today is not to get ahead of our selves and the Chavs don’t create much!!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Reload,
    unless you can provide us your knowledge on about how things would change for the better your answer is just blah blah blah

  • Vismay

    I thought the difference between the two sides were the goal keepers

  • WalterBroeckx

    I wonder how many (new) Per Mertesacker lovers will have blamed Wenger last season for :
    1. buying him
    2. playing

    Fact is we cant play Per in each game. and seen how Kos last season outplayed Torres for most of the time his inclusion was acceptable.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think some have been waiting impatiently for this moment to come out of the sewer by the way…

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Walter,
    I dont recall us getting anywhere near 14 free kicks – will wait for the ref review, thought this was the most one sided refereeing so far this season. We did have enough chances to win the game and our forwards need to be kept in detention this week practicing their shooting. our general play was slow and we gave Chelsea far more time to get the keys to the bus than we should have done. Need to break quicker, but everytime we did we seemed to be stopped more often than not by foul means.

  • Mandy Dodd

    we were very sloppy today, gave away silly free kicks, sloppy defending, and not clinical enough in front of goal. I could not see a lot between the teams at all, we just threw the game away. Our occasional tendancy to shoot ourselves in the foot has not completely gone away yet – this team has to realise this, learn from it and keep working. Kos did seem rusty, but he has proved he will come back from any adversity. But just one of those days, they happen but this is a team partly in transition, but moving in the right direction. On a positive note, some very winnable games coming up , and how good is Jenkinson becoming. They key is that the team learn from this

  • nicky

    Dear me. All doom and gloom over one defeat early on in the season.
    On another day, our defence would handle the first goal with no trouble.
    Gervinho’s goal was masterly. A spin turn with no time and no goalie in the world would have stopped his shot.
    Chelsea’s second was sheer bad luck. Koscielny’s stab, on another occasion, would have gone wide as he intended.
    This resullt is not a setback, it is a blip, the sort all teams get every season…..except this season there will not be many for Arsenal.
    I hope Diaby’s thigh strain will respond quickly to treatment.
    And now we have Olympiokos on Wednesday in the CL.
    Three full days to regroup and then demonstrate we are a team to be reckoned with.

  • Some gooners just don’t take time to think before commenting.

    I wonder what highest level means when we’ve already played Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea, and two of them away. 4 out of 6 away surely ain’t bad.

    Chelsea were just lucky today, Manonne made no save at all and we could have still won the match. We dominated all statistics and someone can still say we can’t compete at the highest level. Absolutely preposterous!

    And we’re just six weeks in….

  • @blacksheep63

    I have to disagree to @silentstan, especially about Ramsey. He worked tirelessly all over the pitch and rarely gets the credit he deserves. What is it with Arsenal fans? Is it because he’s Welsh? Who knows, but get behind the lad and the Ox. Gervinho started well but ran out of steam in the second half, Walcott wasn’t able to stretch Chelsea when he came on and OG12 was a little unlucky. Overall this probably should have been a draw. We defended the free kicks poorly and shows we still have work to do there. Chelsea kept the ball well and stifled our midfield, restricting our chances. They are a good side playing away frm home and looking to get a draw or nick a win. We will play worse and win this season. Don’t panic Mr Wainwaring!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    not gloomy, just disappointed. Gibbs had another good game, getting the better of Torres several times and getting forward well. From open play we rarely looked in trouble and created more. Chelsea were lucky and we weren’t now we move on – let’s spank Olympiacos on Wednesday.

  • John

    So we loss a game with a deflected free kick to the lead leaders who imo are playing some really good stuff this season and are my tip for the league.

    I’m really happy with Arsenal this season there togetherness, with qauitly football and competition for places… its a shame Robin didnt stay as we are alittle light up front and I think if he had of we could have won the league this season but thats life.

    We are a better team this year no question the defence is better but thats not to say people wont make mistakes.

    I can see why he picked Kozzer over Per it was having two centre backs with good pace as Chelsea are playing alot of ball to feet, players turning sharply etc.

    PS Chelsea have spend hundreds of milions of pounds getting to were they are, they will post huge losses again this season and yet they needed a deflected goal to beat us. Another day Giroud would have taken his chance.

    In wenger I trust

  • So as always those guys who have been in shit are awaken hnmm ,shit happens and we where unlucky. MANURE is 2 down lets hope they get 2penalities and a red card.
    And all those who have been in the sewer for a while i promise you will soon go back in there.

  • ClockEndRider

    Overall a good performance. Both Gibbs and Jenks were excellent. At the end of the day a poor referee allowing them to dictate the pace of the game, so e poor defending nd a load of bad luck were against us. Did Chelsea really look like a billion pounds worth of investment! the Brazilian spent all bis time falling over and making sly fouls, Hazard didnt look like a 30 odd million pound player. . Keep on keeping on, Arsenal. It’ll come good.

  • Arvind

    So true Walter…many waiting to come out and rant without reason. Decent game.. Chelsea shaved it I feel.. we were getting over run in midfield despite Arteta having another cracker. Ox is still raw and did not have a great game despite his cross for the goal?

    Jekinson and Gibbs did well..specially Jenkinson..what an awesome start to the season. And they STILL say Wenger can’t buy defense. Kos will be fine as will TV5 and BFG. I hope Diaby’s okay; he’s really important. I thought the forwards were okay too.

    This was just a close game we lost. We didn’t play badly and created plenty. Gervinho as a center forward ala Messi is wonderful to watch. Arshavin as a CF also might have worked had AA worked harder..oh well. Let the CL roll on.

  • Mandy Dodd

    The ref did make some strange decisions. would be interesting to see a ref review – however the ref today – SAF has made a couple attempts to stop him officiating Utd vs Chelsea games – and if anyone knows a biased ref, it is Old Purple Nose. But ref aside, I think today was just one of those days…and as has been mentioned, a keeper stepping up a level against us…seem to remember that happening once or twice before…..

  • dan

    Let’s see how the media can cover the cracks at old toilet.

  • We have a say in our local laguage which says that” when an elder dies its very rarely that he dies alone on that very village usually, some where nearby or the village next someone dies”.(Akakadde tekafa kamu ku kyalo)So if there is no penalty or red card its hard for manure to win Period.

  • duduspace

    It should be expected that the D&G brigade aka The AAA will crawl out of the woodwork at this result, it does nothing more in my opinion than to refocus the squad if they were starting to get ahead of themselves. We weren’t outplayed, a bit unlucky and also had ourselves to blame for not making Chelsea work more for their goals.
    Its one of those hiccups that happens to a squad during a season when you know within yourself that you could do better. We have no reason to feel inferior to Chelsea on the strength of this performance.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Dan, guess the medias spin on that game involving their 2 favorite teams will be a broadside at Arsenal…you know, the usual balance of power shift in North London…and that sort of thing.
    Utd defensively look complete pants this season, look forward to playing them on this form!

  • dan

    @Mandy

    Old red nose will be questioning why the ref allowed his team to play against 11 men? Fergie will be on the phone to Riley making sure this doesn’t happen again.

    Got a feeling something will happen to the chavz, ol Fergie making sure they don’t too far ahead.

  • @dan talk about it. The manure crowd where cryin every minute in the penalty box for a penalty!!! I dont get it may be walter will will give us more light on this.

  • reo

    Regardless the result we can take several positive points.
    Gibbs and Jerkinson were outstanding today. Ramsey have a quite good game. After his replacing we were struggle to keep possession.
    I thought Kos and TV were very poorv both are too agressive and easily to be drawn out of the defense

  • americangooner

    i think we lost because two of the players who had been instrumental in our previous matches- pod and santi – were very passive, almost restrictive. we missed the creativity of cazorla. maybe it was not his day. i also think that substituting diaby unsettled arsenal. AOC was rather confused what position he would be playing. Also, we were playing with our 3rd choice keeper.
    however the performance of two backs -jenkinson and gibbs were really good. they restricted chelsea’s wingers. with this performance jenkinson has cemented his position in RB. this game has exposed a lot of things that arsenal need to improve upon.

  • DocBrody

    Well I just don’t agree with a lot of the comments. I thought Arsenal looked just as good or better than Chelsea. We were just unlucky on a couple free kicks. I was disappointed with Oxelade overall, but he also had some nice moments – I hope the fans don’t turn on him just because he doean’t live up to the hype in every game.

    I really want to see us get Szczyney back, get Wilshire back in the mix, and sort out the Walcott situation one way or the other. And I also want to see Giraurd get better service from Cazorla and the midfield or else I think we have no choice but to start Gervinho full time (or maybe give Walcott the chance he’s been begging for as a striker).

    Man of the match for me was Arteta. He was a big reason why Chelsea could not penetrate our defense from open play.

  • bjtgooner

    @Mandy

    I agree about Atkinson, he did make some strange decisions, although we only have ourselves to blame for the second Chelsea goal. For the Torres goal, Torres did appear to push Kos as he ran to the ball, Atkinson and the linesman decided that they were visually challenged at that point. However, we carved up the Chelsea defence rather brilliantly at times and should have taken some of the chances.

    Lets give the team credit for playing their guts out and playing some super football. Also, lets not forget the team is still adapting to new players and a different system – it is still getting better.

    To the doom and gloom rats from the AAA sewer – time to take your disgusting negativity back to your hovel and keep it there.

  • Damien Luu

    Haha, AAA members, you never stop amaze (and amuse) me. Just one lost, against the league leaders, who could not outplay us, and you could see the Armageddon. Your lives must be miseries! Not that I gave you my sympathy or anything, though.

  • Mandy Dodd

    very true Bjt – and yes, this team do deserve credit. They will bounce back.
    Yes Dan, think Chelsea will be a marked team, Fergie will be fuming! Chris Foy might not be seen at OT for a while
    Think we defend quite well in open play, but we are still clearly suspect at set pieces, that will require hard work with Steve Bould

  • Persian gunner

    What is the problem with using Arshavin as an AMF?
    We lost the game, because Ramsy and Ox were not good enough and Santi was really out of form, we simply lost the midfield
    Arshavin could make a change in this game, he has lots of technics and experience and he can pass the ball around and shoot toward the net

  • DocBrody

    Here are a few stats if anyone is interested. I really believe we have a better team than Chelsea and just got unlucky on 2 free kicks.

    – Arsenal had 16 attempts on goal from open play, vs. 4 for Chelsea.

    – Arsenal crossed the ball 36 times, vs. 15 for Chelsea.
    (perhaps we should have attacked through the middle more.)

    – Arsenal attacked down the: left 41%, middle 24%, right 35%
    – Chelsea atacked down the: left 28%, middle 25%, right 47%

    – Chelsea shots all came from the middle and the right. None from the left.
    (nice job Jenks).

    – Arsenals shots: 53% inside the box, 47% outside the 18.
    – Chelsea shots: 30% inside the box, 70% outside the 18.
    (in other words, Chelsea had trouble penetrating our defense)

    A further breakdown of passes.
    Arsenal—————–Chelsea
    521——–Total——– 491
    36 ——Crosses—— 15
    2 —-Through Balls— 0
    38 —–Long Balls—– 67
    445 –Short Passes– 409

    Of the 4 goals Arsenal has conceeded in the EPL, how many have been from open play… we need to improve on set pieces, but don’t lose faith. Arsenal is good. Defense wins championships.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Very interesting stats, DocBrody

    I think the 2 only disappointing thing about today are:
    1. we lost the game
    2. the way we conceded the goals

    For the rest we were equal to the league leaders. Whatever the doomers may say or think

  • DocBrody

    the stats on Chelsea shots from their left (Jenkinsen’s side) must be wrong. I have to go back and double check. Still he did a nice job.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Jenks has been excellent lately, unfortunately, I fear he will soon be hearing from Roy Hodgson.
    Have a feeling all the top sides are going to drop a lot of unexpected points this season, Chelsea included – so no need to go over the top on this result, no matter how disappointing the manner we conceded.

  • Mahdain

    On Chris Foy will fergie put him on probation as he did with Atkinson for a whole year and whats happening to Clattenburg atm? time will tell
    On our game the result is so frustrating considering we gift them the two goals but its not the end of the world as some are claiming.There are ONLY 32 games left you know 😉

  • Sammy The Snake

    Luck has nothing to do with it. Chelsea were a better prepared team, and had a game plan. Arsenal didn’t seem to have one, or perhaps Diaby injury spoiled our plan. I get a feeling Gunners are playing for a draw in every game this season!

  • m.v

    For some reason this game made me feeling so low. Damn it! It was Arsenal shooting itself in the foot…mistake after mistake for the second goal. Wenger will be fuming – boy we need that giroud or the mert do deal with the set peaces! Hopefully this will be a lesson learned and its better now than later, and over the course of the season it will be a good thing, and arsenal will win all their games from now on 😀

  • WalterBroeckx

    Sammy,
    I think you get this impression because we play a more compact game compared to last season. That is also the reason we concede little goals from open play.

  • mark

    A game that Arsenal lost, not one that Chelsea won. But I do think the team ran out of gas the last 15 minutes. I was impressed by Gibbs and by Jenks. The second goal came as the result of TV getting forward and not getting back fast enough so he had to foul Torres. I felt the ref allowed Torres to get away with a lot of fouls – forearm to the back of the neck when going for a header and lots of body contact when coming back to defend.

    Nice to see Manu lose at home, just to bad it had to be the tots beating them.

  • Stuart

    16th anniversary of Arsene Wenger today I believe.

  • Asif

    Oh common the moaners…get a life! Just one loss and the doomsayers draw their daggers! I agree with the assertion that 1% luck which is needed was what we did not have…let us not blame our players for this! We were good…on another day the Giroud attempt would have gone in and the 2nd Chelsea goal would have never gone in…it was just a bad day in office for the boys…nevermind…we live to fight another day!

  • What did Foy do????? He was man of the match,the antics manure do at old toilet is a disgrace;how many penalities do they want?Is it a must that whenever the manures have a ball in the 16 they have to get a penality but it does not apply to the opposition?? Lets see how many they will get against Cruj.

  • Jenkinson 1 Chelsea 2 setpieces

    Maybe the same people that where saying Mertesakr was slow are the one questioning the inclusion of Scezny and throwing all the rubbish at him.Oh well !we are having good defenders and at hindsight i might say do not change things while working good.

    To me both goals conceded should have been saved by the Mannone.Anyway he is our third choice not first for a reason.
    Jenkison is a player that he deserve fully a praise.This guy to me while improving immensely is driven by a burning desire and commitment in the pitch.I dont rate John Terry for his technical ability but i dont think there is anyone will question his commitment and desire for both club and country.Jenkinson is in that mould to me.

    Lets not fool ourself in the striking department as we are below par to anyone at the moment.Girould is his first season to start with and few strikers do well in the premier league.So it is much anticipated and we are dealing with false 9 or a combination of wingers and midfielders.

    That is a big ask to prepare a season without known strikers.

  • sbhgooner

    If it is any consolation, imo we lost to a very lucky opponent/team. Because of their luckiness (twice in this game and countless times in the ucl last season), we were chasing the game and they only looked dangerous on counter attacks. Even then, their shots on and off target are inferior to ours. We have to treat this loss like we lost to wigan or blackburn last season coz chelsea are not as good as the two manc teams and absolutely not as good as us coz i dont think the two manc teams including us would lose to athletico madrid like they did. Chelsea are absolutely not title contenders like the 2 manc teams so we really dont have to be worried about this loss or even chelsea being champions coz even if they do bcome champions, everybody knows its just ugly football with the help of luck. COYG!!!!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Its started!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/19774393

    Expect lots of Fergie time next time it is needed, and no Chris Foy at OT. Chris Hoy may even be banned up there as well!

  • Patient

    Was so dissapointed with the game. It was awful with the way we play. I’m still feeling down about it cuz this Arsenal team is way better than that. Just why can’t we impose ourselves onto the game ?
    1.Is it consistency ?
    2.Or was it tactical prob ? Desigunner said Arsene want us to press high up the field but the players didn’t … or couldn’t ?
    3.Or was it Diaby getting off the field that turn us off balance ?
    4.Or was Kos the reason we lose tonight ? Or was it Mannone ? 5.Confidence ? Impossible, we were flying high.

    I know it’s just one lost game, but I was praying to god last week for us to get an equaliser, no need for anything else cuz I just want us to stay unbeaten. I was so heartbroken, i was still so down during work today. Couldn’t get into mood at all. Just start to get into twitter a few hours ago cuz I don’t want to see anything Arsenal, it just broke my heart. It’s only one game. That’s all it is and what I keep telling myself. I hope that’s all it is.

  • A. Stewart

    For the Author, you really went the distance in being understanding and trying to bring context to the Koscielny selection. Fair enough, from my view, from every angle the selection was a mistake. I donesn’t mean Koscielny is suddenly a poor defender, or Wenger a poor manager, but he made a pretty obvious mistake here imo.

    Re: Justifying it because of the mobile/quick threat posed by Hazard, Mata, Ocar etc., the mobile threat of Aguero, Tevez, Silva and company is erm, pretty decent, and Mertersacker coped just fine the week before with an equal if not better (from being more settled)mobile/quick threat from small creative players.

    Consider that and consider that Mertersacker was in great form, and Koscielny has played very little and has been injured and it doesn’t make sense.

    Moreover, Koscielny and Vermaelen in my opinion at least, are not very complimentary in style because well they are too similar, they haven’t ever been really consistenly dominant as partnership, quite the contrary actually.

    Lastly, justifying the selection based on needing to rest Mertersacker? Wouldn’t it make more sense to rest him with a string of October games that are easier (on paper of course), immediately following this Chelsea fixture? And wouldn’t those game likewise be a bit less intense for Koscielny to be eased back in? I mean our next game is a CL group game at home against Olympiacos, wouldn’t that be a good spot to rest Mert and reintroduce Kos? And the following two game are league games agaisnt WHU & Norwich, not underestimating these teams but logically these are better fixtures for resting/reintroducing Mertersacker and Koscielny respectively.

    Wenger made a mistake with the selection. It happens.

    And contrary to what you wrote, actually around the gooner blogoshpere there were no shortage of opinions questioning the selection from the start (for the above reasons and more), and not just reacting to the result. Generally, from what I have been reading from a wide variety of sources, there were more people saying from before the game that by the very least based on form, that Mertersacker should start, as opposed to those thinking Koscielny should start (per your reasons above).

    Just my take.

  • A. Stewart

    Also it’s pretty irrelevant as to how many “Per Metersacker lovers critized Wenger for buying him” or “Koscielny was our best defender last season”.. I can accept both of those points, and also say that depsite personally being underwhelmed by Mertersacker and him being singed last season, and personally rating Koscielny as our best CB last season…that anyone can see that Metersacker was in great great form and has had immense presence so far this season. Regardless of my personal feelings and ratings, go with the form player everytime!

    Hey likewise I can say that I was super-critical of Wenger signing Jenkinson, and super-critical about Jenkinson’s play last season, and still (despite the good season so far) have my doubts about him at this level…but regardless of that, and regardless of my opinion that Sagna is clearly a step up in class and readiness, I would say the same thing that it would be a mistake to drop an in-form Jenkinson just because Sagna has resturned to fitness.

  • A. Stewart

    EDIT: …. I would say the same thing that it would be a mistake to drop an in-form Jenkinson just because Sagna has resturned to fitness, regardless of opponent.
    ..

  • Pat

    Very balanced article Walter.
    I thought the same about Koscielny maybe being a bit rusty after being out for a while.
    The stats showing the areas where we were superior were good to have, even though it is still disappointing to lose. And Gervinho’s goal was great.
    Anyway, it’s our first loss this season so we just need to bounce back. With the team spirit we have I’m sure we will.
    By the way, I’m still happy from being at the 6 – 1 victory on Wednesday. And at a cost of a mere £10! What a bargain!
    Good to see Andrei Arshavin back on the pitch and getting a goal and man of the match, and to read what he says about his fitness being his best since he’s been at Arsenal. Hope to see him again soon.

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,@12:58
    Yes, Guardian’s sports blogger chimes in – right on cue – openly endorsing Fergie’s demand that FA take something so important as deciding on add-on time away from the referees (that is, those referees that are not HIS timekeepers):
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/sep/30/manchester-united-tottenham-time-wasting
    Surely the march to RedNose XX is back on the boil; as the wrath of his Sauron will have been felt in the Hives of Riley (or will it?) No, it’s never whinging when Don Fergus rattles the chains of his sleepy minions. The Restoration (of Fergie Time) is demanded. Indeed, will His Will be done? That is the question.(Surely Mancini the Usurper must now be on high alert.) As for the rest of the Shire and its hopes for fair play for all (well, maybe for those who are slightly less than total tribalists): let there be Vigilance!

  • ARSENAL 13

    This is a game that we lost. The real test will come now….HOW we respond. The the real character of the team will show up in the coming weeks.

    As for the game….If I had to pick some one at fault, I would point my finger at Vito. My experience as a goalie tells me, the first goal could have been saved. The second was a beauty…….a goal keeper can only dive towards the ball and hope for the best.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    A pretty poor performance post Diaby and yet we only lost by one goal (and a pretty special one at that) to the league leaders…
    Is there room for improvement, hell yes. Are there any real causes for concern, no not really.

  • Ben L

    I was watching the game on ESPN and the commentator noted that 12 times the ref has refereed Chelsea and Chelsea won each time so I knew Arsenal would not win this game.

  • Mike T

    Interesting but slighty rose tinted views.
    The first free kick was not defended, your defence was all over the place. Torres did what normaly defenders do without fear of having a free kick against. The second was put amost in no mans land very very difficult to defend. No luck there.
    Yes you had more chances but come the keeper had only two saves to make one was a delection off Luis and the other was a header which was a reasonable save but wont feature in save of the season.
    Chelsea had a game plan closed you down a lot quicker and forced mistakes.
    Chelsea arent the finnished product by any stroke of the imagination but comparing the results this season with last years results against the same teams then we are 8 point better off.

  • WalterBroeckx

    An interesting view Mike T. Saying Torres committed a foul. As if he knew he could get away with it.

    But I must admit you did better than that other rich guys plaything club last season. They only manage one shot on target in 90 mins. 😉
    Italian managers know how to defend an advantage that is for sure

  • Mike T

    Walter
    According to how refs seem to see things from free kicks then no it wasnt a foul I guess you could say Torres got his retailation in first.
    In reality 99 times out a 100 the ref will not give a free kick or penaly in similar situations. Stoke get away with it time after time.For me its a area that needs addressing
    If you want me to be brutal I think your manager is amazing in spotting a player and in setting up offesive teams but I dont think he pays enough attention perhaps even respect to other teams. He is too predicatable.
    As for how teams play at your ground well you are the home team and the onus is on you to take the game to the oppossition and score more goals.
    It always seems to me that you dont seem to be able to change the point of attack with any great success or make the most of your technical players. On Saturday your plan b was to bring on Forrest Gump (apologies but thats the best way I can describe Theo) A player that showed so much promise but shows no sign of improvement
    Finally just to correct comments re Atkinson. The last 12 games think is rubbish for instance last season he officiated in 4 of our games. We won 1 and drew 3.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mike T,
    “For me its a area that needs addressing” I couldn’t agree with you more on this. And certainly in the PL where some refs are totally blind for this. In the rest of the world and Europe you see refs paying attention to pushing, holding, shoving much more. People accept it as almost allowed but the last time I read the rules those things are forbidden everywhere on the field.

    So I can accept what Atkinson did (even though refs have to punish pushing) and feel that Koscielny was paying too much attention on his dancing paces and Torres was the smartest one and kept his eyes on the ball.

    Bringing in Walcott against a team that likes to defend deep is not the best thing. But he can score a goal at times so when you need goals you have to do something. I do think that losing Diaby was the hardest part. One sub gone and when he is fit he is the person who can make things going. Alas the staying fit let him down again… but that is just the way it is…

  • Mike T

    Interesting what you say about Walcott. For me he is better deployed when the opposion are looking for a goal and go short at the back or play a high defensive line. I will watch with interest when both you and us play Spuds as I am not sure thaey have the personnel to deal with electric pace running at their back four.
    I have no doubts that we will do better than last season and both you and Man City will also be there or thereabouts but having seen them on a few occasions already I really think that we are now starting to see the end of the Ferggie era and if I were a betting man I wouldnt be at all surised to see them finnish outside the top 4
    Still very very early days

  • bob

    Walter,
    Yes, losing Diaby [and for how many weeks?] was the hardest part, and there was/is no midfielder of that calibre – outside of Alex Song – to step in now and do the necessary business. N’est-ce pas? Arsene said in today’s postings that yes, it was a big gamble to bet heavily on Diaby’s well-being while others were returning from injury and to form; and that we would see whether the gamble would pay off at the end of the season. Well, perhaps by January?