It was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it? Arsene Wenger’s inexplicable hold on Antonio Conte continued as the Gunners fluked out a 2-1 win. It was a Jekyll and Hyde performance from Chelsea who, in the second half, were unrecognizable from the attacking unit that played the previous 45.
Here are the talking points from a frustrating night in North London.
Chelsea started brightly in their 3-4-3 formation with Hazard through the middle and Michy checking his phone for texts from his agent. Eden did some Hazard-ing as he opened the scoring in the 7th minute. It was all Chelsea in the first half hour until Willian pulled a hamstring and had to be taken off. On came Ross Barkley for his debut and despite him trying his best to run, tackle and shoot, things just weren’t the same in the Chelsea attack. With no Musonda on the bench, Conte did himself no favours by picking both Cahill and Luiz as his substitutes. Unless he had a clever plan to use Cahill as his new target man…
#2 Unlucky Antonio (The Other One)
Poor Antonio Rudiger. Before the match Twitter was awash with a quote from one of his interviews many years ago. In this interview he professed his love for Wednesday’s opponents, Arsenal. He ended up scoring one and assisting the other. For Arsenal. I don’t know if a black cat crossed his path, or if he walked under a ladder or broke a mirror, Rudiger was horribly unlucky. He had a hand in both Arsenal goals, managing to score an own-goal and inadvertently laying off the ball for Xhaka to score the winner. He’ll have better days, but this was depressing.
#3 Bakayoko Oh Yes
One silver lining from this game was the performance of Tiemoue Bakayoko. Operating in tandem with Kante in a two man midfield, the Frenchman was excellent for large periods of the game. He routinely shrugged off the challenge of opposition players and carried the ball forward. He could learn to do a bit more with it, but that’s a topic for another day. He could be the next Yaya Toure if he carries on like this. Just make sure he gets his birthday cake.
The second half was abysmal. Absolutely terrible. No words could do justice to what these eyes have witnessed. They should all be ashamed.
Well, that’s it for the League Cup. And the Premier League. And we’re kidding ourselves if we think this team can lay a finger on Barcelona in the Champions League. Still, we could aim for an Arsenal season by finishing in the top four and winning the FA Cup. A couple of transfers should help, such as Emerson Palmieri and Edin Dzeko, who scored a last minute equalizer for Roma against Sampdoria.
Chelsea’s next opponents are the forever for sale Newcastle United in the FA Cup. A win should do nicely to dispel some of the doom and gloom that has descended on the club after this game.