Arsenal Can Show Some Fight
In the week when Joey Barton saw fit to criticise an apparent lack of fight in the Arsenal team, Arsene Wenger appeared determined to lead from the front in an attempt to prove him wrong.
You can debate the whys and wherefores of his decision to shove Jose Mourinho all you want, but the fact is that it was a good watch. This was his “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more” moment, something that has probably been brewing ever since last season’s infamous “specialist in failure” comment.
It was good to see, and his team – so passive in this and other big games last season – responded in kind to make this a real contest, albeit one that they still lost. This wasn’t progress, but at least it was more acceptable failure.
But Chelsea Are The Ultimate Fighters
Chelsea weren’t great here. Cesc Fabregas, perhaps affected by the occasion, didn’t display the sort of touches he has ever since pulling on a blue shirt, Oscar and Andre Schurrle were virtually anonymous, whilst Diego Costa had probably his quietest game in English football, yet look at the scoresheet.
It is that fight and will to win which marks out this Chelsea team as the strongest in England right now, whilst the league table also performs that service.
They look like the winning machine Mourinho assembled between 2004 and 2006, and the rest of the division can only shudder at that realisation.
Eden Hazard Outshines Them All
He’s been somewhat overlooked amidst the glamorous arrivals of Costa and Fabregas, but when Eden Hazard shines then there are few better sights in the Premier League.
It is moments such as his slaloming run which won Chelsea – and him – the penalty from which they took the lead which so often prove to be the decisive point in matches such as this. It is too far to suggest that there was no way back for the Gunners after it, but they were certainly left staring up at a particularly daunting task.
In the second period, when the match went through something of a lull, Hazard was always wanting the ball, proving to be a pain in the backside for his opposition and a joy to watch for neutrals.
Would A Free Substitution Solve The Concussion Problem?
Yet again many were left scratching their heads and wondering why an apparent concussion didn’t lead to an immediate substitution, with Thibaut Courtois later rushed to hospital after trying to play on.
Plenty have had their say on this issue before, but surely a ‘free substitution’ – i.e. allowing Petr Cech to come on without it affecting Chelsea’s quota of changes – would be the best way around it?
READ: Mourinho vs Wenger - The 14 Biggest Bust-Ups
Nemanja Matic Remains Imperious
If Chelsea are to be successful this season then you can expect the plaudits to be handed out to Costa, Fabregas, Hazard and the like, but again it was the understated excellent of Nemanja Matic in midfield which help quell pretty much all of Arsenal’s threat.
The Gunners didn’t have a shot on target until the 90th minute and much of that was down to Matic’s screening in front of his back four, something which he is the best at doing in the division and across Europe.
Like What You Read? Vote For Unibet As Best Gambling Blog At The 2014 Football Blogging Awards