Another terrible loss to a supposed rival, Arsenal’s title challenge has taken an early bath once again.
The pressure was on Arsene Wenger’s men to perform against Chelsea. If the Gunners lost again, the gap would increase to 12 points and effectively kill their hopes of winning the League, and that’s exactly what happened. Chelsea were quite clearly the better team and except for a contentious first goal, deserved the win.
With all that said, let’s have a look at the four things we learned from today’s game…
1) No fight when needed most
There is one word to describe this Arsenal performance: flat. It is no secret that Chelsea possess within their ranks a number of strong, well-drilled individuals and it was essential that the Gunners matched the desire shown in the reverse fixture at the Emirates in which they overpowered Chelsea in all departments.
In reality, Arsenal allowed their opponents time and space to punish them, showing no desire in their approach. In the 30th minute, Chelsea counter-attacked at pace and, whilst it ultimately came to nothing, the replays were damning for Arsenal supporters. The players were seen sauntering back whilst Chelsea bombed forward in numbers, happy to let the defenders deal with the likes of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, further vindicating the opinion that Arsenal do not show enough desire when it is needed most.
2) This was not the worst Arsenal performance this season
Despite suffering a heavy defeat, this was not Manchester City away. Arsenal had chances at 1-0 down, which on another day would have broken through the Chelsea rearguard and could have changed the outcome of the match. Gabriel’s missed header, in particular was a key turning point in the match and a yard or two the either side and this report may have had a very different tone. Instead, Chelsea maintained their superiority and their lead and Arsenal were left to rue their wastefulness and suffered yet another defeat to their London rivals.
3) Supporting Arsenal is tough
Speak to any Arsenal fan and they will tell you that being a supporter of the club is a painful life sentence. When put into context, this is possibly exaggerated when compared to other clubs, yet the same flaws are repeated every season and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
The 2016/2017 season is effectively over, barring a miracle in the Champions League, and fans must be wondering when they will witness a significant change to the “almost-there” outcome every season. The press often makes reference to Groundhog Day in their analysis, this season that description seems more appropriate than ever.
4) Chelsea are just better than Arsenal
We could spend a lot of time in pointing out the various flaws in the Arsenal game, however, the fact remains that Chelsea is simply a better team than Arsenal. Their team is physical, strong, gutsy, and within their midst, they have by far the best player in the Premier League in Eden Hazard. They bullied Arsenal, as they seem to do in every game they take the field in and will walk to the title this season.
Considering the players and managers in the modern Premier League, to run away with the title as easily as they currently seem to be doing is an astonishing achievement. Antonio Conte has done wonders with his side and demonstrated to other teams in the division how to win the English Premier League with his combative and committed approach. Handing Chelsea the title with so many games left may seem premature, however it is impossible to escape the fact that they are without question the best team in the league.
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