What a way to silence the doubters. Eight days after dropping 3 points against Man City we are back in the swing of it and professionally picking up full honours against our London rivals Arsenal. After a raft of many positives to take against the Gooners, we shall start with my old adversary Mikel.
Wonder goal. Wonderful Result.
Many of you have criticised me in the past for my stance on Mikel, some even suggesting that it was because I was anti-Nigerian and the same person stating that maybe Mikel slept with my wife. Well I can certainly dispel both of those ridiculous statements.
Race, religion and indeed birthplace will never get in the way of my opinions. Football is all it ever comes down to.
At the time I gave him a verbal slating was a time when I didn’t think he was performing well enough on the pitch – something which I judge all players on.
Unfortunately I wasn’t writing this blog at the time that Malouda wasn’t up to scratch, he would’ve had plenty of disparaging remarks aimed at him before Hiddink flicked the switch and turned him into the superstar that he is today.
Many of you were in agreement when I said that Mikel wasn’t performing, and in the fickle nature of football writing will join me in the praises of him as he has improved his game massively.
What Mikel has brought to his game, the hunger for the ball and the determination to challenge, were two parts amiss last season. However this season he is a different beast, he has injected exactly what Essien brings to that position.
Against Arsenal Essien couldn’t have played that position better himself – which is a massive complement because to me Essien is the complete footballer.
The fact that Mikel has become much more reliable in that role allows Essien to push forward and make his much required darting runs forward and makes Chelsea stronger as a whole. So congratulations John Obi, keep it up.
Now, lets get on to Ramires. He was in for a slaughtering for his performance against City.
Against Arsenal? Well the critics and majority of fans seem to think he was superb. I just couldn’t see it.
Watching Match of the Day they highlighted all of his good parts, and it certainly looked impressive. Great tackle and subsequent pass for the goal and great last ditch tackle late on in the area.
But what Match of the Day failed to highlight was the amount of possession he gifted by not putting enough oomph on the ball. It was almost as if the ball was too heavy for him to get any sort of pass on most of the time.
I commented during the game that it was as if somebody had sellotaped some shovels to his feet – half his passes went a matter of yards and also 10 feet in the air.
But I mustn’t criticise him too much, he is young and new to the team, a huge positive to take is that he covered so much ground during the game. He was getting stuck in all over the place.
As for the rest of the team?
In summary Alex and Terry were superb, and would expect to be against such lightweight opposition. They stifled Chamakh though who was always a threat in the air, and Nasri was afforded only one half chance. Job done there.
Essien as always was immense, Anelka could’ve done better with his finish but his work rate alongside Drogba was unquestionable.
The simple reason that Chelsea deserve to be at the top of the league is that they are the full package. We have an exceptional team spirit and sense of being a team in general. Each and every player fights to win a match and it is apparent that other teams in the league lack what we have.
Alan Hansen, on Match of the Day, commented a few times that Arsenal were the better team.
Now I’m trying to be unbiased here as much as I can, but that simply was not the case.
As I mentioned, they were extremely lightweight upfront. Arshavin was anonymous for the majority of the game, and Chamakh was profligate. Nasri was impressive but still too weak too make the difference, as was Wilshere. Their strengths played right into ours.
They may have played better football at times. But their definition of better is the pretty style of play where they pass it into the back of the net. I stated last year that we can win games in an ugly fashion. Sunday wasn’t ugly, but we were for sure the uglier of the two.
I’d much rather the three points at the end than the moral high ground of saying we played the better football. Arsenal fans can spout all the rubbish they want season in season out about their lovely style of play and their frugality in the transfer market.
We have the luxury of spouting back about the success and the joys of signing players like Essien and Drogba who are both big parts of making our history.
It is difficult to suggest where we could improve; it is just a matter of maintaining what we have now. We have some difficult games coming up, and the unfortunate momentum stopper of internationals getting in our way.
In the meantime. Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!