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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

CHELSEA NA ARSENAL HAKUNA MBABE ZATOKA SULUHU.


Ten and counting. Ten occasions on which Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho have met as managers; ten occasions on which Wenger has failed to win.

The architect of his frustration stood imperious on the outer reaches of the technical area throughout this, the latest rain-blasted edition of their rivalry.
It was Mourinho’s night, in more ways than one. He will have felt most pleased with the result, his team turned in the  better performance, and the inhospitable conditions reflected his gameplan.

Getting heated: Arsenal and Chelsea players come together during an ill tempered game at the Emirates
Getting heated: Arsenal and Chelsea players come together during an ill tempered game at the Emirates



Chelsea were not negative, but they were constant, cussed,  spoiling, much like the rain that drenched the Emirates Stadium and many within. Chelsea’s organisation won the day, as did the weather. 

It was a night on which it was impossible to play the  beautiful game, and Chelsea settle more happily into the ugly side of things.
They resisted Arsenal defiantly, broke more threateningly on the counter attack. Arsenal were limp and ineffectual for long periods. Wenger had sought a reaction to the 6-3 defeat at Manchester City, but this wasn’t it.
A defeat would have been worse, but a strong performance would have been better.
Wenger sat doubled over, arms tightly folded across his stomach on the bench. He looked like a man in pain. He wouldn’t have been alone, watching this.
So rare were Arsenal’s opportunities that when Olivier Giroud was played in after 78 minutes by Aaron Ramsey, the whole place drew breath in expectation. 
Here, against the odds, was the goal that would separate the teams.

Eyes on the ball: Both Mikel and Arteta go for the ball

Going in hard: Mikel and Arteta both dive in to win the ball


Chance: Olivier Giroud fires wide towards the end of the game
Yet Ozil looked a lost soul against Chelsea, his involvement intermittent and rarely to much effect. He played wide on the left but was well marshalled by Branislav Ivanovic. The pair squared up after a high boot from the Serb caught the German on the cheek, but it wasn’t a fair fight. Ozil look as bedraggled as those in the front row as the night wore on.

Chance: Olivier Giroud fires wide towards the end of the game
So close: Giroud looks on in disbelief after missing his chance to win the game
So close: Giroud looks on in disbelief after missing his chance to win the game

Agony: Giroud looks frustrated after missing the chance late on
Agony: Giroud looks frustrated after missing the chance late on

Game over: Giroud lies flat on the ground after missing a good chance to grab all three points
Game over: Giroud lies flat on the ground after missing a good chance to grab all three points






High jump: Fernando Torres jumps for the ball in the Chelsea penalty area
High jump: Fernando Torres jumps for the ball in the Chelsea penalty area

Getting the cross in: Gary Cahill vies with Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud
Getting the cross in: Gary Cahill vies with Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud
Up close and personal: Lampard gets in tight on Mesut Ozil
Up close and personal: Lampard gets in tight on Mesut Ozil



Hitting the woodwork: Frank Lampard sees his effort hit the crossbar and bounce to safety

Hitting the woodwork: Frank Lampard sees his effort hit the crossbar and bounce to safety

Sliding in: Per Mertesacker challenges Chelsea's Fernando Torres as he tries to get his shot away
Sliding in: Per Mertesacker challenges Chelsea's Fernando Torres as he tries to get his shot away



Stop there: Eden Hazard is chased by Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey

Stop there: Eden Hazard is chased by Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey
My turn: Ramsey takes the ball off Hazard and runs at John Obi Mikel
My turn: Ramsey takes the ball off Hazard and runs at John Obi Mikel

It was Willian’s chip in the 32nd minute that produced the best football of the half, exquisitely delivered and perfectly timed to fall for Frank Lampard ghosting into space on the far side of the penalty area. His run had clockwork precision, too, and he met the ball on the volley, blasting it against the bar and down, but out.

A minute later, Eden Hazard’s fine run ended with a feed to Fernando Torres but Wojciech Szczesny was equal to his rather underpowered shot. The action finished with a dangerous break from Hazard, knocking the ball in to Willian whose shot was snatched and disappointing.
Nevertheless, Chelsea had more reason to go in at half-time feeling pleased with their efforts. Short of an excellent interception of a Bacary Sagna cross by Gary Cahill, Arsenal had barely threatened, and Giroud had been almost wholly marginalised.

Tough tackle: Frank Lampard goes in for a tackle with Arsenal's Bacary Sagna
Tough tackle: Frank Lampard goes in for a tackle with Arsenal's Bacary Sagna
Helping hand: Mourinho helps pick Sagna up after the Lampard tackle
Helping hand: Mourinho helps pick Sagna up after the Lampard tackle


It was, in this way, typical Mourinho. Chelsea’s 0-0 draw at Manchester United earlier in the season had put the padlock on the champions, and here he contrived to do the same to the early front-runners. The fact that in throwing a big blue blanket over the proceedings he also managed to have the best chances just underlined his clarity of thought.

Wenger had not bested Mourinho in nine meetings going into this game; it was easy to see why.

Respect: Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho shake hands prior to kick off
Respect: Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho shake hands prior to kick off

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