So Jose Mourinho came to get a point at the Emirates and he achieved it in his customary pragmatic style. This has lead to many questions being asked of the Arsenal manager and players by supporters and indeed, Arsenal legends.
Personally the game was not as dull as a many suggested, at least not in my eyes. While it lacked in goal mouth action it did not lack in commitment or desire, and we really ought to take pride in how we as a club are now competing with last years champions and the champions elect. In years past we would have played this game many times over, dominated possession; over commit ourselves in search of the first goal and then get punished either on the break or from a set piece. Today our matches may not look as pretty on the eye but we've developed our game management and that needs to be acknowledged.
It was much the same at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, a time where we were not fully fit and hadn't clicked as a team, yet we competed all over the pitch. The difference that day were the important details that need to go in your favour. Jack Wilshere's heavy touch from Monreal's (I think) cross could have leveled the scores instead it was Eden Hazard's piece of individual brilliance that set Chelsea on their way and it allowed them to play just as they did in the second half at the Emirates.
As for the game on Sunday, we really needed a player like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right either from the start or coming on at 70 minutes or so. Theo Walcott was never going to make the difference in a game where space in behind was non existent. Oxlade-Chamberlain is the type of player to find chinks in a organised parked bus. His ability to drive and skip past challenges and force a defender to move out of his zone was badly missed in that second half, that would have given Özil, Giroud and Alexis the space to create further chances.
We needed Alexis Sanchez at his best to beat Chelsea but unfortunately he wasn't. No doubt Ivanovic was under instruction to stop Alexis by foul means and that may have affected his game but even so, when on the ball in good positions he could not deliver.
Before I go any further I would like to state categorically that Alexis Sanchez along with Mesut Özil and Santi Cazorla is one of our stars. His contribution on and off the ball has been a joy to behold and we will need him if we are to take the next step in the league BUT and you know the but was coming, at times he feels like a Gervinho upgrade in almost every way. He has the ability to make something happen from nothing yet also has a terrible habit of poor execution with his final pass. I've noticed Özil fling his arms up several times with frustration when a move has broken down at the feet of our electric Chilean. The hope is that he improves that side of his game but given his age, I think it's a case of taking the rough with the smooth and there is a bucketful of smooth to immerse ourselves in. I also wish he wouldn't attempt the impossible pass through a crowded box every time he gets the ball outside of the area because we end up giving the opposition a goal kick when others are in great positions.
The manager has been criticised for persisting with Aaron Ramsey on the right but I thought he was our best offensive player for long spells, I also understand the need to win control of a game/battle before trying to win it, rather than going behind and chasing the game. Would we have prevented Chelsea from scoring with Walcott on the right and Podolski on the left? I seriously doubt it but perhaps that is unjust on Welbeck's defensive qualities. Either way I think it makes plenty of sense to try and win a big game more pragmatically and if that does not work then you can turn to the bench and take the gamble.
The subs were quite late but I wonder if those subs would have been made earlier had we had greater control earlier in the second half.
We had a few half chances to score but we don't really have many players who score with one half chance. Certainly not Özil and Mertesacker. Chelsea actually had the better chances in the game with Oscar and Ramires.
I was a little disappointed in Thierry Henry's post match comments. Just feels like he has been told to get in line and join the queue of Arsenal criticism rather than his actual views. I could be wrong but that is how it comes across just after an article critiquing his punditry.
Arsenal need a new spine, Arsenal need a new centre back, Giroud is not good enough for Arsenal to win the league. Ok, where to start with all this? Firstly, what Arsenal really need is to integrate a new collection of players into the team because that went swimmingly at the start of this season right?
A new centre back? Doesn't Gabriel count any longer? Is this to join the collection of quality centre backs we have or does someone have to make way? Whom?
So Giroud is not good enough for Arsenal to win the league. This is even though at least up until recently he had the best goals per minutes ratio in the entire league. So if we need another forward, do we go for a small nimble on the shoulder striker? If so do we throw away the system and play two strikers? What about the midfield and the likes of Alexis?
It's easy to make throw away comments without any real substance and that is what is disappointing. It's all well and good looking cool on camera but if you are to be a top pundit, you have to educate the viewers and not regurgitate the usual clichéd rubbish that we are used to hearing from English punditry.
I enjoyed Francis Coquelin backing his team mate shortly after. He is willing to defend his team on and off the pitch, I like that.
Well at least our unbeaten record stays intact and that could be important for the upcoming games.
Don't forget to check out the post Chelsea podcast It is also on YouTube. Remember you can listen after every match/