Chelsea: Arsenal Fans Are Laughable & We Proved Our Title Credentials
Some of the reaction after last night has been glorious. “I knew that they had 9,000 tickets but I didn’t quite know how many 9,000 were.” Leading into the inevitable colourful language surrounding having their stadium overrun with “chavs” (Arsenal fans are almost blind to the area their stadium resides in).
This was the definition of taking the p***. 9,000 "plastic" Chelsea fans standing and singing for an entire match - evidence enough that a return to safe standing would certainly improve atmospheres across the country. It was a night that could have been simply viewed as an ode to Ashley Cole. The ex-Arsenal academy player who became Chelsea's greatest ever full-back must have loved every second of it.
A side that had ten changes from the excellent victory against Manchester City boasted a team comprised of international footballers. There was never an issue of strength in depth at Arsenal until ten minutes after the end of the game: then the excuses and typical Arsenal loyalty flowed from the rafters. Bendtner was lambasted, Jenkinson showed his Charlton class and Arsenal’s impressive midfield duo of Wilshere and Ramsey looked lost in Mikel/Essien's shadow.
This was an away day that will take some beating this season. The laughable “can’t buy class” banner sits proud, ignoring the fact that Mesut Özil is their best and most expensive player. The obsession with history is bordering on Scouse proportions. It was a day filled with the entire repertoire of Chelsea songs and Arsenal’s only response was to mutter something about being top of the league. Well played chaps, we will see if you are there next May.
A Chelsea side that had never played together before bossed the game for almost its entirety. Arsenal, resorting to type, played their pointless yet pretty strings of passes to no avail. As soon as they got within sight of goal Essien or Mikel tackled them. Whenever the ball moved into the area David Luiz intercepted it. In the first half they had absolutely nothing bar a flashed shot to speak of. This was a side that is going to win the league? Norwich causes us more problems.
We, on the other hand, had just won our most difficult European tie convincingly, beaten arguably the best side in the country at the death and were now in command against a slightly weakened Arsenal team. A typical and decisively swift Chelsea counterattack led to Carl Jenkinson gifting Cesar Azpilicueta with a scoring opportunity. He finished extremely well, but it was another gift from an opposition defender.
This is the power of belief. This is what Mourinho does. Like Torres at the weekend Azpilicueta did not give up but anticipated the back pass. The Spanish right back had in essence pressed the entire length of the pitch, following Michael Essien’s bustling run to slide the ball into the corner. Things are slowly and efficiently coming into gear at Chelsea. Mourinho has cultivated an atmosphere that means fringe players break their neck to impress. This, as before, is what Mourinho does. All the opposition fan reaction to everything he does just detracts from the fact that he is utterly world class. Just ask Mesut - he'll tell you himself.
Steve Holland confirmed after the game that Mourinho had told his players to make his selection choice for the Newcastle game this weekend difficult. While a core of players have retained their starting spots it is very much a team that form dictates. Whatever you think of him Mourinho stood for ninety minutes issuing instructions and encouragement to all of his players.
The first half ended with Arsenal not registering a single shot on target. To be truthful they were incredibly disappointing. Chelsea were playing well, but Arsenal still boasted some of their better players and they should have caused more problems. You cannot get giddy about spending £40m+ on a player and then moan about squad depth. They could have added quality at centre back, central midfield and bought a striker for that money.
This was always going to be the issue for Arsenal. They have flattered against weak opposition (when do they not?) but when it comes down to the crunch they have a tendency to flounder. Beaten by Dortmund, a second string Chelsea side and with several big games on the horizon, we will know whether this was a false dawn or not in a very short space of time.
The second half went pretty much to the Mourinho script. Arsenal had a decent spell of possession that was counterpointed ever so sweetly by Juan Mata’s right foot. The Arsenal players knew the game was over, their fans equally seemed intent on emptying as soon as possible and the 9,000 strong Chelsea support ran riot.
The introduction of Ramires meant Chelsea’s midfield were never going to concede anything through the middle. Mikel was excellent, Essien rolled back the years (somewhat) and Ramires picked up where his exceptional performance on Sunday left off. It would naturally see a side forced wide, but Arsenal continued to try and play centrally. Wenger, as usual, poorly conducting his in game changes failed to notice this. Bringing on his expensive German and plopping him on the wing was a masterstroke - thanks for that.
The game ended at a canter. This was not the Arsenal evolution nor was it a test of Chelsea’s squad as some had predicted. What is particularly scary for the rest of the Premier League is that things are beginning to fall in place for Mourinho. We have a squad with real depth that will certainly be improved in January. A commanding midfield presence and a striker to supplement the rejuvenated Fernando Torres might be all we need to push ahead and challenge come May.
There will be sticky patches ahead for this Chelsea side. One would hope that the character being instilled within them by the Special One holds them in good stead as this looks, albeit very early stages, of another Mourinho era.
More Chelsea transfers...
More Chelsea opinion...