Watching Chelsea play Arsenal, one got the impression that they bode their time soaking up the pressure and then on cue, destroyed Arsenal through three surgical strikes, one self inflicted. A headless chicken performing a death throe dance before crashing lifeless.
It was a cool, calm, and collected hit job provided by players who have light years in experience. In fact, with players like Michael Essien, Frank Lampard, John Terry, and the rest, Chelsea are a self coached squad. Carlo Ancelotti can just show up and collect his paycheck. Seriously.
Didier Drogba was the Arsenal killer again and this time we did not have Mikael Silvestre to tee of against. But it was Ashley Cole from the left who provided the quality two crosses before halftime that broke Arsenal's back. It was a bit surreal to see Dani Alves do the same from the right in El Clasico a few hours later with his picture perfect cross laid on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's footstep to be delivered past Iker Casillas and send Madrid home. The two wingbacks seemed to have merged thought and action together and worn the same shirt. No wonder they are the best in the business.
We can say we were robbed off a legitimate goal and Wenger might be technically correct that the 'score was an unfair reflection of the game' but these are just semantics. 3-1 is not a zero sum game as Wenger would have us believe. Again, ball possession does not count for much if you cannot score and we have gone through this ad nauseum. Chelsea just waited in the middle as Arsenal ran out of ideas with no player to go to provide a summation for all that possession.
Eduardo has lost his zip with his self confidence pretty much rock bottom after his long injury layoff and the dive that shook the world. He looked tentative, a step slower, and hustled off the ball as was every Arsenal player. Chelsea's physicality was underscored by the sight of Vermaelen, one of our strongest players caroming off Drogba without the striker wavering in his trajectory one bit. We are a physically underwhelming team and that was clearly underscored in this game.
Drogba's presence in the box sowed the seeds of doubt and self destruction. An Ashley Cole pass was delivered right into a big fat seam between Vermaelen and Gallas, and Drogba was there to put a knee on ball for the first goal. A panicked defense was undone a couple of minutes later as Vermaelen unfortunately became an own goal honoree. The Belgian defender trying to get in front of Drogba could only manage to deflect it into an empty net as Almunia had already strayed off line. All this within minutes away from halftime. In the second half, self assurance went missing once again when Drogba lashed in a free kick as the wall completely failed to deal with the ball and Carvalho ducked in time to expose Almunia.
Before that time Song had been strangely substituted by Walcott, Eduardo by Vela, and Nasri for Rosicky but there was no meaningful impact provided by these changes. More ball possession, little else.
We have now gone two Premiership games without scoring a goal. For a team that has averaged three goals per game, this amounts to a drought.
Eduardo and Vela from their performances do not seem to be the answer. RVP's season is effectively over, he might be back for the last two games if at all. To pin it all on Bendtner when he returns will be asking too much. We might have a dozen players sharing the goalscoring load but that is no insurance against the top teams who we are 1-4 against (I am counting Spurs, City, and Sunderland too). We need to get busy in the January transfer market. The gap is mounting but with a little bit of luck things could turn around but first, we have to take care of our own end.