Match Report: Arsenal 2 – 0 Chelsea

Arsenal (2) 2 Chelsea (0) 0
Premier League
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Saturday, 19th January 2019. Kick-off time: 5.30pm
(4-2-3-1) Leno; Bellerín, Sokratis, Koscielny, Kolašinac; Xhaka, Torreira; Guendouzi, Ramsey, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Substitutes: Čech, Elneny, Özil, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Monreal, Mustafi.
Scorers: Lacazette, Koscielny
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Attendance: 59,979
A split second before kick-off in such matches, there is always an audible pause that surrounds the stadium, almost as if everyone is in a form of silent prayer to the God of their understanding that maybe, just maybe the pundits and ganblers would be wrong here, and we play the way that only we know that we can, and send the red half of The Emirates home with a smile on their faces and a warm glow in their hearts. Today was truly that day in question. There is no substitute for paying attention, and there is no greater reward in life for those that accomplish their homework on the training ground prior to the match either.
Perhaps it was the preparations for today that fired us up straight from the kick-off, or perhaps it was the horrifying thought that Manchester United would overtake us by default today if we lost; either way the speed of Arsenal’s beginning certainly took the West Londoners by surprise. Indeed our first goal that was notched up just a quarter of an hour after the start showed intent and reason that we were not going to be a guest at our own party against one of our rivals. Héctor Bellerín delivered a cross into the Chelsea penalty area, and the swift reactions of Alexandre Lacazette were there for all too see as he mercilessly drilled the ball into the roof of the net after twisting and turning away from the opponents’ defenders. The red areas of the stadium erupted with elation as if this was a goal that secured a trophy; and in many ways it was surely good enough to be one too.
Now the real Arsenal started to show their mettle, by pinning the visitors in their own half and not allowing them the luxury of space and time to break out and attack our goal. Just six minutes before the half-time break, we struck again, only this time in controversial circumstances somewhat.  From a free kick superbly dispatched by the excellent Lucas Torreira, club captain Laurent Koscielny launched himself at the ball only for our spherical friend to fortuitously bounce off his shoulder and into the back of the net. Amazingly, nobody saw it but the television cameras, which was a real blessing. Either way, we went into the interval the happier of the two sides.
Chelsea appeared to wake up in the second half, but although they did indeed play some interesting football at times, they never threatened the home side at all, with the defence holding firm throughout. Tired legs became prevalent throughout, and in true second half form, Mr. Emery made three substitutes; Ainsley Maitland-Niles for Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi for a weary Alexandre Lacazette and Mohamed Elneny for an injured Héctor Bellerín five minutes after the other two. Unfortunately full-back Héctor Bellerín collapsed with an injury which appeared to be a knee problem after twisting his left leg awkwardly whilst running to win the ball back from two Chelsea players; we await with interest the report from the medical team of this latest addition to our injury list, another one that we could well do without. Although Chelsea had 64% possession, the Arsenal defence were so efficient that they never had a shot on goal until eight minutes from the end of the match. When referee Anthony Taylor called proceedings to a close after six minutes injury time, a sense of elation and relief swept through the Arsenal supporters that were fortunate enough to witness this important victory in North London today.
After the disappointment of the last match, who could surely have predicted such an outcome today? Although it was a well-earned victory by us today, we were never really threatened that much by the visitors, who certainly gave the impression that all they would have to do was turn up and three points would surely be theirs; they certainly paid a high price for their conceited attitude with an Arsenal who were determined to put a victory on the scoreboard and three points on the Premiership table tonight. Manchester United in the FA Cup are the visitors on Friday, and after this win tonight, who knows?  Eleven days and counting until the end of the transfer window for loan deals. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Victoria Concordia Crescit.
Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

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