Chelsea Give Us The Blues!!

Wallop! That was an exceedingly unpleasant crash-landing yesterday afternoon at the Grove. Like most in the Gooner Nation I’m still smarting from the very large and possibly fatal hole the Chelsea arrivistes (as Arsčne would say) have put in the side of our Premier League ambitions.
The first goal we can put down to our continued defensive frailties. The cross should have been cut out and Didier Drogba shouldn’t have been allowed to get between William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen. The second goal just before the break was one of those things. The last goal which really rubbed salt in the wound was a well-taken free kick. If I never see Didier Drogba again it will be too soon. You have to give credit where credit is due. He’s an excellent, complete forward. As a man and as a player he is deeply unattractive though, which makes his constant successes all the more hard to bear.
The final scoreline flattered Chelsea a little. It’s also hard to see what was wrong with our “goal” which was disallowed. That MIGHT have changed the course of the game. We also matched Chelsea blow for blow for much of the first half, and put a fair amount of pressure on them after half-time. Our old Achilles Heel of too much possession and not enough cutting edge came back to haunt us. We’re certainly missing Robin van Persie as much as I feared we might. One man doesn’t make a team but his excellent form up until his horrible injury on international duty has been fundamental to our resurgence as a goal-scoring force this season.
Much as we had our fair share of possession in the first half we lacked a cutting edge. Chelsea – who have reverted to a sort of Rolls Royce version of us under George Graham as they were under José Mourinho under the leadership of Carlo Ancelotti – have the experience and ruthless edge that we still lack. I still think we’re continuing to improve and are a better side than last season. It’s still early in the League campaign but the competition is now Chelsea’s to lose. All we can do is pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and keep on trying to pick up results.
I heard a lot of comments after the game yesterday about us needing to flash the cash in the January transfer window. Whilst I think we still need reinforcements I’m not so sure about this. It’s often difficult to get the players you want in the winter window. I wouldn’t spend unless it’s on a player who will add something to the team. We have to show continued patience I think. All the objective evidence points to the benefits of patience and stability.
Most of the first team will of course be rested for our visit to the City of Manchester Stadium on Wednesday night for our Carling Cup quarter-final tie against Manchester City. This is going to be a VERY difficult tie to win, especially away from home. Citeh battered Scunthorpe United in the last round, putting out pretty much their first-choice eleven. I expect them to do the same on Wednesday. If we’re in the draw for the semi-final we’ll definitely have earned it.
On another depressing note I hope that the club and the police can catch the zit who lobbed something at Frank Lampard whilst he was setting up to take a corner in the north-east corner lower tier yesterday afternoon. I couldn’t see what it was clearly. Whatever it was, lobbing stuff on the park simply isn’t on. It looked to me like it might have been a mobile phone but reports suggest it was possibly a camera. I also saw something thrown out of the north lower as Chelsea celebrated their second goal just before half-time yesterday. Putting that together with the objects thrown at United players in the Champions League semi-final second leg at the Grove last season I’m hoping we haven’t got the start of a worrying trend. Assuming the culprits can be identified I want them up the steps at the Magistrates’ Court.
I understand how emotional we all get at the game. There is NEVER any excuse for missile-throwing however. NEVER. We’re better than that. We’re The Arsenal. If you can’t show the class I expect from the club and its supporters I don’t want to be associated with you in any way. Stewards often get it in ear for being over-officious and oppressive. Some of this criticism is correct. I don’t like Day-glow Jobsworths either. On the other hand they sometimes get a dog’s abuse simply for doing their job. That’s not on either. There are ways to protest against unfair treatment. Gobbing at stewards or verbally abusing them isn’t one of them. On that note let me compliment the steward who caught somebody supping a pint in the stands at half-time yesterday. He politely pointed out that drinking alcohol in the stands wasn’t permitted and he’d have to return to the concourse to finish his pint. Well played to the steward. Sensible and proportionate. Problem solved.
I happen to think that the regulation prohibiting the consumption of alcohol whilst in sight of the pitch is yet another unjustified indignity that we have to suffer as football supporters. Why can I sup and watch play at rugby union, rugby league, cricket and so on but not football. I know we have problems with irresponsible drinking as a society but why should I be penalised because some people don’t know when to stop? As it happens with the foul, bilious swills they sell at the Grove and the ludicrous prices charged I wouldn’t choose to sup and watch the game even if I could. I wouldn’t foist either John Smith’s or Foster’s on Spurs fans. We should however have the right so to do if we wish. Whilst the regulations exist the stewards are obliged to enforce them though. The over-the-top way that is done at some grounds is completely disproportionate, so “well-played” to the steward I witnessed yesterday.
Keep the faith!

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