The Agony and no ecstasy. Arsenal 0 Chelsea 3

Andre Marriner was a referee who contributed to the Arsenal woes today. By simply committing the sin that affects all Premiership referees, INCONSISTENCY. The denial of a perfectly good goal coupled by the inability to apply yellow cards by his own rules meant that Chelsea had the luxury of having the major decisions go their way. Ok, Sagna might have conceded a penalty in having brought down Anelka, but equally the clumsy flooring of Carlos Vela was worth a shout. But in the end the difference between the two teams was not the referee, it was the lack of cover in front of the back four when we lost Song at half time, and the inability to close down Chelsea where it mattered. The lack of ectasy? When did Arsenal ever look like scoring from a set piece? Robin van Persie aside, which dead ball specialist can we call upon at the moment? There are no routines, we put a cross into the danger area when frankly it becomes a wasted ball and we are then exposed for s counter attack.
For 25 glorious minutes in the first half Chelsea hardly touched the ball. But to be honest they didn’t need too. Eduardo was too flat footed and seemed to be suffering from the immense pressure of being point man, add to that the agony of this being by far the worst that I have seen Arshavin play at home, we were left with no inspiration. The first goal came from the failure of Nasri and Sagna to shut out Ashley Cole. The deft chip into Drogba was met by a side footed glancing finish of the highest quality from the Ivory Coast striker. Almunia was as usual in two minds whether to come out or stay on his line and so was in the wrong position to tip over the chip which settled softly inside the far post. The second goal was almost a carbon copy, but this time a sliding Gallas only managed to deflect the ball onto the chest of Vermaelen who seemed to be waiting for an authoritative move by Almunia. Again Ashley goal was the provider.
The entrance of Theo Walcott at the start of the second half should have made a difference, and to be honest it did, by pushing back the Chelsea back four. Yet again Arsenal suffered from the lack of quality crosses into the box or worst still when a flanking movement came into the middle, there was no midfielder any way near to launch a shot on target. Same old same old, trying to walk the ball into the net using the team ethic. Great for possession, utterly useless for game winning chance taking. Until we have a selfish attitude in front of goal instead of trying to lay on yet another assist to a team mate, we will continue to lose vital games. We netted within the quarter hour, a perfectly good goal after a series of rebounds and six yard box scrambles. Eduardo adjudged  to have played dangerously with a chest high raised boot, but really this was just the referee making mischief.
Andre Marriner was utterly unconvincing and as the cries of “You’re not fit to referee” rang around the Emirates, many Gooners began to realize the awful reality. The third consecutive defeat at the hands of our South London rivals, and the shame of slipping behind the scum in the table to fourth spot, albeit with a game in hand. The game was finally put beyond our reach when Fabregas conceded a foul in the danger area just outside the 18 yd box, and Drogba produced a piece of magic and using the side of his boot put the ball just inside the far right upright beyond the despairing dive of Almunia. The 3-nil score line was unfair, and a bitter pill to swallow.
There remains half the season left with an eleven point gap, it seems that any title aspirations went with our defeat by Sunderland. I have blamed Arsene Wenger before and I shall blame him again. It was not rocket science to predict that at some stage Robin van Persie would get injured. Having sold Adebayor he had to be certain of a replacement. He gambled after losing out on the Bordeaux striker Chamakh. The failure to yet again replace a key player will mean Arsenal football club will miss out on the chance of a title. I said at the start of the season, that our squad was not strong enough to win the league, and that it was a missed opportunity considering the weakening of Man United. I have seen nothing today that will convince me otherwise. But curiously, I do believe that we have what it takes to win a trophy, but that will be the FA Cup. Without a decent striker, don’t even dream of the Champions league.

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