Minutes later that enigma that is Lukas Podolski was lurking in that left side pocket in the penalty box that he enjoys so much and Santi Cazorla's excellent eye of the needle pass found him, Lukas got the ball out of his feet and lashed it underneath a closing West Ham player and into the far corner. That goal was scored a minute before half time. It totally changed the mood and perhaps the narrative post match. Had we not found that equaliser then you can be sure that the Emirates would have rained down with boos. As it was we went into the second half with our tails up. In the first half Oliver Giroud cocked up an excellent chance when he was through on goal against the keeper but instead of taking the chance with his right he decided to use his left and try and scoop it
City were the better side in the first half, they squeezed us into our half of the pitch knowing that we had no pace to get in behind them. They used the ball better than us when they had it. David Silva was very dangerous when picking up the ball outside of our penalty box, his defence splitting passes reminded me of what we are missing without Mesut Özil. He carved out a few chances down our left hand side as City looked to exploit when Chelsea did so well. It was Silva who somewhat fortuitously opened the scoring. Lukas Podolski lost the ball on the half way line and Silva drove into our half, his through pass found Džeko on the left and his left footed shot was tipped onto the post by Szczesny and off Silva into our net from close range, 1-0 to the away side.
After Bony headed Swansea in front after 11 minutes we looked visibly shaken by it and it was only the late introduction of Lukas Podolski that changed the game as the German turned the game on it's head in two minutes. Scoring from a Gibbs cut back and then supplying a great ball to Giroud to tap in from close range. At that point I expected us to go on and score another one
We looked like a boxer going up against one of the hardest hitters in the business, jabbing at our opponent without once putting our guard up. Inevitably Chelsea struck with pretty much the first blow and Eto'o was on hand to curl it around Szczesny. Moments later André Schürrle drove a low shot into the corner of Szczesny's net Then in full self implosion mode Oxlade-Chamberlain stuck out an arm to block a Hazard shot that was going wide anyway. The referee clearly not having seen the incident was trying to communicate with one of his officials. Then mistaking Chamberlain he sent off Kieran Gibbs even though Chamberlain was seen telling the referee that he was the guilty culprit.
Oxlade-Chamberlain held off Sandro and nudged the ball to Rosicky out wide, the Czech seized the opportunity to break at Tottenham for pretty much the first time of the game, he gave it to Chamberlain but the ball was a fraction behind the Ox so the Englishman flicked it back to Rosicky and Tomas thumped the ball into the top corner
Santi Cazorla started the game sat alongside Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sat behind Oliver Giroud with Mesut Özil playing wide right. If I was to guess the reasons for this, I'd say Arsène played Cazorla deep to escape the Bayern Munich pressing machine. His low centre of gravity and two quick feet mean that he can receive the ball in the tightest of positions and wriggle his way out and still have the quality to release a quality pass. Chamberlain has the engine and pace to upset Bayern's deep midfield passer as well as their centre backs while Mesut Özil could move undetected from that wide position. That was my interpretation of the changes, whether it worked or not is subjective. It is difficult to say that Mesut Özil had anything other than a disappointing first half although talk
The midfield set up was very interesting, the Flamini and Arteta duo has come under a bit of scrutiny in the past. Arteta has often played as the deepest player as he is better suited to receive the ball from the centre backs and distribute the ball, Flamini has been used to make tackles further up the pitch. Trouble is, this has caused issues with our offensive game, especially if Arteta is stopped from controlling the game from deep. On Saturday Arteta seemed to play as the traditional number 8 as is displayed on his shirt. It looked like the Arteta that forged such a good partnership with Alex Song when he first joined. He may not have the mobility or athleticism of some of his midfield partners but he looked as if he enjoyed himself. With Jack Wilshere missing for the next six weeks and Aaron Ramsey in need of time to get back to his best, we may just see Arteta get a little run in this position.
- Stoke City (a) - Offensive offence still a work in progress
- Sunderland (h) - Two sugars with my three points please
- Bayern Munich (h) - What happened at the end of the Özil penalty story?
- Liverpool (h) - Ox Jump Starts Arsenal Attack, Fabulouski & Sanogo's Foundations
- Liverpool (a) - Absent Arsenal thrashed at Anfield
- Crystal Palace (h) - Oxlade-Chamberlain could be the biggest star of them all
- Southampton (a) - Runners, Podolski and Özil