Arsenal v Chelsea
Capital One Cup
Kick off: October 29, 2013 7:45 PM BST
I really wasn’t sure what to expect from our Capital One Cup encounter with Chelsea tonight. I wasn’t sure how seriously Wenger would be taking the Cup this year, or what kind of side Chelsea were planning on putting out. When I saw Arsenal’s line up, I was confident in our defence and midfield, but wasn’t sure if Bendtner and Ryo would be able to break down a Mourinho style Chelsea back line. And without Flamini or Arteta, Wilshere and Ramsey were put in more defensive positions, both with fairly attacking tendencies. Vermaelen came in for Mertesacker, it’s good to see the Captain getting a game.
Chelsea made ten changes from their side that beat Man City this weekend, but their team still looked extremely formidable, displaying their massive strength in depth which I think will make them the biggest threat to the Premier League title this season.
We started off slowly with Chelsea dominating possession, earning a few corners and getting a few shots away. But we grew into the game with a few good counter attacks, Miyaichi making some good runs and getting into good positions. He was incorrectly judged to be offside after breaking through on goal, whether he would have finished the chance is another matter.
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Both teams were threatening with half chances, neither team really creating many clear cut opportunities. But a Chelsea counter attack that appeared to have been snuffed out, saw a poor headed back pass by Jenkinson fail to reach Fabianski, and Azpilicueta was there to knock it past the Polish shot stopper. The game was already looking like a tricky one, this gave us a mountain to climb.
Azpilicueta almost squared things up for us soon after, when he gifted Monreal the ball under pressure from Bendtner. Monreal blasted a shot low and hard towards goal, but it went inches wide. But that was the closest we came for a while. We were initiating some flowing attacking moves, but they were breaking down before threatening the Chelsea goal, and Bendtner’s lack of effort was really affecting our influence in the final third. Giroud tries to win every header, which often results in the defender being put off and not being able to clear properly. Bendtner doesn’t seem to make the effort to win the aerial ball unless it’s dropped straight on top of him. Chelsea pressed us well all evening, making it difficult for us to gain a foothold, and without Giroud’s holdup play we visibly struggled.
Özil and Giroud were seen warming up early on in the second half, and with it still at 1-0 I felt their additions could give us a chance. Özil came on for Ryo, but he was only on for a matter of seconds before a poor clearance by Jenkinson gave Chelsea an easy throw in near our box. Eto’o flicked the ball on to Willian who’s header fell to Mata. Mata showed his class, unfortunately for us, with a fantastic strike with his weak foot into the top corner, Fabianski reaching helplessly.
Giroud came on shortly after for Bendtner, and was an instant improvement. He almost scored right away after a good run by Wilshere into the box fell to the Frenchman, but his shot was saved by Schwarzer. The two players definitely boosted our game up a level or two, but at 2-0 it was a case of too little too late, and Chelsea were able to sit back and soak up the pressure.
Our crossing was atrocious all night, and we really weren’t threatening from the wings at all, which made it a lot easier for Chelsea to defend, as they only had to nullify our passing through the middle.
There was noticeable time wasting from Chelsea late on, drawing the foul wherever possible and there was really nothing we could do to salvage the game. The final whistle went, 2-0 to Chelsea and Arsenal out of the Cup. A disappointing night, but in the big picture it’s only the Capital One Cup, and this gives us a chance to concentrate on the League.
Here are some of the best Tweets from today’s game:
“I love it when Kos goes all striker mode.”
“Jenks has been Jenks. Worked hard and made mistakes. That’s what he does. But he worked hard.”
“Park hat trick in ten mins”
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Jenkinson Koscielny Vermaelen(c) Monreal
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