It’s great to get three points and wait comfortably for your rivals to make a mistake. When you run over a solid defensive team like West Ham United with three beautifully taken team-goals it only gets better. Aside from the beginning of the second half we were in control of the game with our passing and movement looking out of this world. We managed to stay focused until the end of either half of the game and it was too much for the visitors. Here are the key points from the game.
1.Olivier Giroud has been a real force this term.
If you had a brief look at the list of goalscorers you might have noticed that Diego Costa, the main Chelsea striker, has scored fourteen league goals. Olivier Giroud has scored eleven despite missing three months of football. But, it’s not just goals – like the well-taken one today – that makes Giroud such a great weapon of ours. His assists and ability to make intelligent moves like that dummy after a throw-in before Ramsey’s goal give his team-mates a lot to work with. He was involved in all three goals we scored against The Hammers and deserved the MOTM-award.
2.Aaron Ramsey is back.
After a few pale performances the Welsh wizard returned to form. It was vintage Ramsey. He was all over the opponents, making clever moves and passes – like the chance that Walcott should have put away – and eventually getting on the score-sheet himself with a finish that resembled that goal against Hull City that ended our trophy drought. Just like on that lovely May afternoon, it was Giroud who produced a lovely set-up for Ramsey. The Welshman has scored four goals in the league, seven in all competitions, but it’s his performance that is encouraging. Having Ramsey at this level at this stage of the season spells trouble for the opponents.
3.Santi Cazorla doesn’t need too much time to shine.
The Spaniard was given a rest for over an hour as he started the game on the bench. He came on for Theo Walcott with the score-line 1:0 for us which wasn’t enough for Santi so he decided to make a mess in the opponents’ final third. His assist for Mathieu Flamini’s first goal of the season capped a wonderful cameo from the Spaniard but the credit goes for the whole attacking line. I’d go that far to say that there is no better midfielder in the league than the Spaniard at the moment.
4.Francis Coquelin looks better and better.
Coquelin’s pace and ability to recover the ball was crucial in the first half when West Ham were on the counter-attack but the best description of his determination and quality was the well-timed tackle in injury-time to deny any chance for the visitors counter-attack. It was one of those tackles that are actually a beautiful thing to see. Also, it was really exciting to see a player who is a ball-winning midfielder making such a delightful first touch like Le Coq in the second half. An indispensable player.
5.Mesut Özil shouldn’t be afraid of shooting at goal.
The King of assists should really take a shot once a while. He has the touch of Dennis Bergkamp and the same desire to create a perfect goal for his team-mate which is unique but even Dennis opted for a shot when the situation was right. The German has a powerful left foot and he shouldn’t be afraid to shoot more often. Still, he looks better and better with every game and is going to be a huge asset during the run-in.
6.Theo Walcott is still rusty.
The English forward wasn’t his clinical best. But he did make more than a few good runs behind the defence and should have got a penalty but Chris Foy didn’t point to the spot. It would have been an early penalty, a red card for Collins and an easy ride for us. Nevertheless, Theo should have pulled the trigger earlier. He didn’t have enough composure today and it might have something to do with the burden of contract negotiations. That’s why I wrote a while ago that the real Theo will step up in 2015-16. That’s why he is worth keeping.
7.Laurent Koscielny gave a world-class performance.
The Frenchman managed to mop everything and bailed his partner out on a few occasions. He was a defensive rock and one of the best players on the pitch. Encouraging ahead of the forthcoming fixtures.
8.Nacho Monreal – The Invisible Wall Part Deux?
Nacho’s performances haven’t drawn enough praise as he has deserves. He did a brilliant defensive job today again, keeping Downing in the first half and Jarvis in the second totally out of the game. Oh, and that guy Amalfitano was also given a chance to take on Monreal. It’s like that movie when the bare-handed guy prepares for a fight against three opponents and then says: “Take the guns so the battle becomes more fair” before beating the crap out of them.
9.David Ospina gave another “deja vu” performance.
In pretty much every game you can bet that you’ll see these things from Ospina:
1) a wonderful save. Check – that volley from Nolan was really dangerous and the commentator’s claim that “it went straight to Ospina” didn’t offer the Colombian keeper enough credit as it was his positioning that prevented us from conceding. 2) an injury at some point of the game. check – he had a head injury in the second half. 3) distribution that leaves something to desire. Check. And, most importantly 4) a clean sheet. Checkmate.
10.We have won five in a row but there is more in us.
Ever since that defeat against Southampton we’ve been gaining momentum in the league. We’ve won eight out of the last nine with only one exception – that ugly defeat against the Spuds. In English competitions we’ve won eleven out of the last twelve including both games in Manchester. With nine league games remaining, we can still fight Manchester City for second place even if our priority is to keep the third spot in order to avoid the Champions League qualifiers.
Speaking of Champions’ League – next stop Monaco. We can beat them, we can score goals against them but it won’t be as easy as it was today. We have seen how well-organized a side they are and what it takes to score a goal against them. Still, we managed to create a lot of chances in the first game and if we hadn’t had a poor night in terms of finishing, we would have secured progress to the quarterfinals in the first leg. Whatever happens…