On a day where there were two early kick-offs,neutrals were hoping to witness another goal fest. The question was who would provide it? Would it be the Everton vs Manchester United game or the new Chelsea team against the conservatives from North London, Arsenal? No chance of beating the seven goal game at Old Trafford last weekend where the Champions were humiliated by the “noisy neighbours”. Little did anyone expect a thriller at the Bridge. Arsenal were given no chance and at best a draw would be a decent result. For Chelsea, the bad demons from the defeat at Queens Park Rangers last weekend had been banished by the victory over Everton in the Carling Cup in midweek and nothing less than a victory would suit the Blues and their demanding fans.
Rooney was on the end of taunts, jeers and boos from the Goodison faithful, a reminder of his betrayal to them. Johnny Evans started the game to the horror of United fans across the world and a return for Tom Cleverly in midfield. The defence line was changed for the seventh time this season and have conceeded the most shots at goal. Since September Manchester Utd have looked a shadow of themselves. In August they hit good form and dispatched teams. Perhaps they’ve been figured out and their play has become too predictable? The game at Goodison Park had started earlier with Manchester Utd taking the lead through Hernandez in the first half. No news there. Seemed like a regular day at the office for Sir Alex and co but the mauling from last week would keep them on their toes till the last minute. Game came alive with Everton taking the fight to the Red Devils often breaking quickly when possession was won. One could tell it was going to be a
ride and a team very low confidence could capitulate….again. History has shown that when Manchester Utd have lost by a five goal margin in the premiership, they have gone on to win it. Well time will tell. De Gea was given little protection from shots outside the box. Nothing he couldn’t handle but deadlier finishers woukd have had a field day…again. Louis Saha ex Manchester Utd striker was doing his part to continue heap more misery but didnt find a way past the goalie. Felaini ran tirelessly through the midfield and did his best to rally the troops. A ding dong affair which kept United fans biting their nails. The visitors ran out with a narrow victory with Hernandez strike the difference between the two sides.
The London derby brought back memories of the “Invincibles”. a period when Arsenal were undisputable Kings of London. Not since the 5-3 victory against Spurs at white Hart Lane with Henry,Pires and Vieira tearing the defence to shreds. A time when all Gunners would put on their jerseys and be proud to walk in the streets. This was such a day. Knowing Arsenal, writing them off against Chelsea isnt’t such a good idea. But if you did,you could be forgiven. After losing this many games before Christmas and depending so much on Robin Van Persie Chelsea were seen as a sure bet. Well, Football is an amazing game. It take you to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in minutes, dare I say seconds. You thjink you have the edge and suddenly its gone. Certainly John Terry must have felt that way after his mistake led to the fourth Arsenal goal. The best match served up for the neutrals which had everything. From dodgy referee calls to breathtaking goals.
This was fireworks!
Torres started in attack for Chelsea taking Drogba’s place after his red card last weekend. Sturridge played on the right to cut in and deliver. Juan Mata and Lampard with Mikel as cover. Ramirez to do his donkey work and steady the ship at the Bridge with Ivanovic and Terry at centre back. Bosingwa and Asley Cole at right back and left back positions. On paper the looked like the heavy weights. Arteta and Ramsey weren’t expected to put on much of a challenge. But Wenger Arsenal Manager in his defiant mood came to West London to win. Arsenal created three chances and poor finishing left the scores level until Lampard put them ahead with a well taken header on 14 minutes. Gervinho had just missed a sitter prior to the Chelsea goal. Amazing what a goal does. Chelsea back on top with confidence oozing. Arsenal looked like their defence was going to be run ragged with gaps appearing when they lost the ball. The Arsenal attack wasn’t doing badly making
their own penetrating runs. The Blues defence looked flat and a through pass would split their flat back four. Gervinho latched on to another through pass on 36 minutes and found himself one on one with Petr Cech. Having missed an open goal earlier he laid it on for Van Persie to score the leveller. What a game it was turning out to be. I had hoped it would end with a 4-4 scoreline with the energy levels the players were showing. End to end stuff. A good advert for the Premier League. John Terry jabbed home for the second on 45 minutes and went in leaders at half time. There I was consoling Arsenal fans around me hoping they would come out fighting but secretly didn’t think they could manage it. Andree Santos lifted North London spirits with a superb left foot drive that made Cech look like Fabien Barthez in disguise. If that was brilliant Theo Walcott’s was sheer class.
Chelsea defenders backing off him thinking he was going to ground and suddenly with a turn of pace dribbles two and lashes it past the goalie. Was I dreaming? This was never on the cards and Villas Boas had a battle on his hands now. Arsenal battled on for another 25 minutes. Romelu Lukaku was introduced and he on 80 minutes seemed to have obstructed Dos Santos leaving Mata to run in and send a laser beam into the net. Another brilliant strike. Was there time for more? Van Persie rounded the afternoon off with two strikes in 5 minutes to complete his hat-trick and leave John Terry red faced. A very unlikely scoreline and victory but it was one of the best games I have seen.
Are the Gunners back finally? Or do they roll over in their next game in typical fashion? This match was won by men who showed up to work and delivered. Arsenal fans bring out your jerseys and dust them off. Its been a while since you could laugh at Chelsea on your own account. Hopefully there’s still some fight left in the London teams to challenge the Manchester teams. Still some time left and points to be dropped, I still feel its anyones game. City can be caught but they won’t go away without a fight.