Morning, boys ‘n’ girls.
How are you feeling today? Dejected? Forlorn? Thoroughly p*ssed off with just about everything to such an extent you drop-kicked a badger last night and set fire to your 1989 Anfield “I was in the away end” commemorative underpants?
Yeah… Me too.
I think the worst part of all is simply that it wasn’t a surprise. I’d hazard a guess even the most ardent and positive Arsenal fan didn’t truly believe the result would be anything other than a Chelsea victory. And that, as far as I’m concerned, is the biggest problem of all. Somehow we all knew we’d lose that game in a whimper of nothingness. We have a good squad, we have excellent players. Yet they can’t deliver when it counts and often seem unmotivated and lacking the drive to compete.
Perhaps that’s an easy assessment to make when you’re still angry at a defeat. We look for someone or something to blame instead of admitting we were beaten by a better team. Since the 3-0 reverse fixture at the Emirates, Chelsea have addressed problems and grown as a team. We haven’t done that in years. Whatever your thoughts on how the match panned out or the major incidents, it would take a deliriously optimistic supporter to state we deserved anything from Stamford Bridge other than a defeat.
Okay. The first goal was blatantly a foul. That’s near impossible to deny – although certain pundits seems to think it’s perfectly fine (Seriously, Thierry?!). You’d have to suffer with sh*t in your eyes and rocks in your head to think it wasn’t a foul. Here’s a great tweet I saw yesterday with a picture that really shows the contact on Bellerin before the ball:
This picture is taken before any header is won. Look at how high the ball is when the elbow occurs. Tell me that’s not a foul. Fuck off pic.twitter.com/y2b4uaUtTm
— Bergkamp & Bergkamp (@Orangeiceman10) February 4, 2017
Alonso lead with his elbow and flattened Bellerin before making contact with the ball. I wouldn’t say for a second it had any bearing on the final outcome of the match, but it sure as Hell didn’t help matters. I can certainly understand the level of frustration at another poor refereeing decision that has directly influenced the concession of a goal, but I don’t think that outrage is particularly well focused. Sure, it’s all kinds of wrong, but let’s be honest; Arsenal played poorly and can only really blame ourselves for the defeat.
Look at the defending for Chelsea’s 2nd and 3rd. Hazard waltzes through midfield, leaves Coquelin floundering on his arse and delights at the lack of challenges as he wanders into the penalty area and slots the ball home. And Cech’s assist for Fabregas? Well that just about summed up the whole day.
After the game, The Ox had these words to say:
“They took their chances – I think the first goal was a little bit unlucky on our part. They hit the crossbar and the bounce went for them. Alonso got the jump on Hector and that was 1-0. But we knew we were still in the game, and at half-time we said we had to keep going.
We came out in the second half and controlled spells of the game. They controlled spells but it was a great goal from Eden Hazard, which we should have stopped earlier at source. That was disappointing. Then a mistake at the end killed the game for us. Olivier got one back but at the end it was too late. At the top level, against a team like Chelsea, there’s a good chance they’ll punish you if you make mistakes and they did that today.”
At this point of the review, I’m struggling to know what to write. There’s nothing wrong with what Oxlade-Chamberlain says there. He’s absolutely right and very honest. However, it strikes me as a bit tiresome. You know – like when you apologise to your girlfriend for farting in bed. You’re saying all the right things, things she wants to hear. But you know full well you’ll be backing doing it again in a few days.
I think it’s safe to say we’re done with the title for another season. 12 points is a huge gap at this stage and Chelsea show no signs of loosening their grip. It’s going to take a monumental change of fortune for anyone to catch them now, let alone us. That leaves us still in the two big cup competitions. We should beat Sutton United (I think I might consider moving to Canada should we lose that game as the online fallout will be nuclear) and we probably won’t beat Bayern in the Champions League over 2 legs.
I guess the overriding sensation behind this meandering dross is one of dejection. We should be doing better. We have all the resources at our disposal to make a challenge. We have a squad of talented players. Many will say sack the manager and let someone else come in and do better. My reply is always that I don’t see anyone better out there.
But maybe a change is exactly what we need. Change doesn’t mean all the problems we have will be solved, but at this point I think the board have to consider taking a risk. Our stability and consistency over Arsene’s tenure is undeniably impressive, but has it come without any real progression in the team? That’s debatable, but I do believe we have to consider the best thing for the future. Perhaps that is to take a chance on someone else.
Just like we took a chance of a unknown Frenchman all those years ago.
That’s all for today, folks. It was a shower of sh*t yesterday and it’s no fun writing about something like that. I’ll leave you today with a nod towards the comments section and await your thoughts.
I’ll be back soon with more. As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.