Mind the Gap: Chelsea 3 Arsenal 1 Saturday 4th February 2017 12:30

My plan was that we score early and I can't see them coming from behind. Barring any skulduggery, I could not see a way for them to w...

My plan was that we score early and I can't see them coming from behind. Barring any skulduggery, I could not see a way for them to win this. So, of course, as the first half began, there was a brain fart from Courtois. It was a bright start from L'Arse, who seemingly set out to take the game to us. But this lasted precisely ten minutes. We began to play our way into the game. Coquelin lived up at least partly to his name with a cynical foul on Moses in the ninth minute. Cahill got his head on the free kick but it was coming in at a dodgy angle and he could do little more than head it into the ground. A great shot was headed by Costa but parried by Cech, who nonetheless could do nothing when Alonso headed it over the line on the follow up. There was a collision with Bellerin, but both players were focused on the ball completely.

Brucie bonus, says Boycie, (sitcom alias) as Bellerin limps off and leaves us with the huge bonus of facing Gabriel instead of one of their stronger competitors. Diego hit the side netting in the eighteenth minute and from then on we were pressing them. I don’t think I recall such impetus and such determination to win the ball for a few weeks. It was pretty end to end. Hazard, who frustrated them greatly in the first half, was taken out repeatedly. Alonso’s pass into the box resulted in a shot that was spilled by Cech on the half hour. Sanchez, who apparently would walk into our team was diddled twice in thirty seconds by Moses, before Pesto (yawn, auto spell) broke through and promptly stumped himself just before half time.

The Lino on the west side presumably spent fifteen minutes looking for a clue at half time. Unlike the referee. Which brings me to Refwatch: I thought Martin Atkinson's was possibly the best refereeing we have seen this season. They should be all but invisible if they are doing their job right, which he was. He let the game flow, (if I had any criticism to make I'd say a little too much at times) he interfered at a minimum, and as far as a human being could be perfect across ninety minutes on judging things in real time, I thought he did really well by both sides as far as a balanced approach was concerned. I don't think any team could consider themselves hard done by. Well done that man!

The Goons came out strong in the second half, but little was fashioned as a result. Within five minutes we were running at them again. Kante bombed down their end and played in Diego, who, having not one of his better days, saw it well claimed by Cech. Hazard’s reaction to being fouled was to foul them back and run round half the Arsenal team on his way down the pitch before slotting it past Cech and completely shafting them as we hit Jackpot City. It’s surely got to be a contender for goal of the season. A supreme solo effort. Memorable not only for the scoreline but for Conte’s crowd surfing effort that was a lot less gracefull than the goal and left him limping comically.

A couple of the Arsenal lot were disappointing in particular. Koscielny, who looks like a human being cross-bred with a velociraptor, was at fault, and Gabriel, who came on for Bellerin after Alonso broke him, was woeful. Quote of the day came from Gonzo as we approached the final tweny minutes. After letting Walcott know that he was a slight on humanity he came up with “f*ck off you useless bog-eyed f*cker!” (No prizes for guessing who that was aimed at). Time to bring on Cesc to really f*ck them up, I thought.

I'm not saying that they didn't get forward, that they didn't attack, that they never looked like getting the odd goal back, but I never believed that they looked like winning this game. An outstanding save in the 77th minute saw me urged to stand up and applaud Thibaut by Alf Garnett, and rightly so. They might have played Diego out of the game, but it seemed to be at the expense of paying attention to anyone else and the net result was that Arsenal were more impotent than Wenger after half a shandy. They call us classless, but Cech gets a rousing reception and they boo Fabregas, who they declined to take back. And who then had the courtesy not to celebrate burying them. That, to my mind, makes them hypocritcal ar*eholes. Zouma came on in the dying moments for Moses, and what a welcome return it was. Everyone wants to see him come good after we had front row seats to his nasty injury. There could have been many many more, but as it was a lack of concentration (and persistence on their part) saw them grab one back.

So: 3-1. Lew Zealand says Arsenal were more lightweight than her Mum, and she has a point. It was unacceptable at times, how easy they were shoved off the ball. If I supported them and I knew that they absolutely HAD to win this game, I'd be embarrassed by this showing. Where was the commitment, where was the determination? It was competent. But it was about as impassioned as a ninety year old man dry humping a lamppost. Functional. It was a standard display of everything they usually do. Nothing more. Which, if I was to support them, would enrage me. I'd have wanted to see them come out swinging. They came out against us with Plan A and not a lot more else than humping it long to Giroud. That to me was arrogant against a team with our record.

As a Chelsea fan I couldn't care, because we won, but if, God forbid, I was a Gooner I'd be livid that seemingly no more thought had gone into it than that. Whinger says the first goal was a foul on Bellerin. Can we just pause for effect in recognition of the fact that he actually admits he saw something. The banners were out. Pork Pie  (sitcom alias - Desmond's) wants me to draw attention to one clearly made on the train. "Enough is Enough. Time To Go." I have it on (drunken) reliable authority that this was wielded by Piers Morgan. And the guy with him was wearing a half and half scarf. I have to disagree heartily. I think he should stay. Forever. Alonso has struggled in some games in this new position, but he had some joy against this lot today that was a reward for his ceaseless effort. Pesto's work rate was just astounding , and let it not be forgotten either just how reliable and consistently good Dave is at the back. And a word on Antonio. He's the manager Roman has been looking for for ten years. Outstanding fit. And he looks great in his pants. I love him.

This is a post from the Alex's fantastic blog "A Girl who likes balls" - Check it out here!

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