THE SKY IS FALLING! Not really, but looking at some of the reactions on everyone’s favourite social networking website, one would assume Chelsea are in dire straits and Conte is about to lose his job. Unfortunately for them, it was only a draw. The two London rivals played out an entertaining game which somehow ended at 0-0.
Here’s what we thought of the events that unfolded at Stamford Bridge.
#1 Team Selection:
Eyebrows were raised when the Chelsea lineup was announced and it did not take long for murmurs of discontent to appear. Chief amongst the gripes was Gary Cahill who, according to a vocal majority, had undeservedly waltzed in at the expense of the impressive Rudiger. Doubts also persisted with the selection of Cesc Fabregas in place of the more physical Bakayoko. As the game went on, the two-man midfield of Cesc and Kante was frequently overrun while Cahill was doing his customary Bambi-on-ice impression more often than is appropriate. Bad call, Antonio.
#2 Wasteful Wingers:
Apart from a couple of snapshots that were easily gathered by Cech, Pedro and Willian were at their wasteful worst, frequently running up blind alleys, getting crowded out by Arsenal players or simply losing the ball by playing a bad pass. With Hazard now fit, there’s only one slot available on the right side. A bit of competition should bring out the best in both, who’ve had a free run in the team so far.
#3 Arsenal In The Ascendancy:
Arsenal put in a solid performance and merited more than just a point, which is quite unlike their previous visits to The Bridge. The Gunners created chance after chance in the first half, only to be thwarted by Courtois or by their own sloppy finishing. In the second half, the roles were reversed. With Bakayoko coming on, the midfield finally had some shape and Chelsea attacked relentlessly without really making it count. Hazard also had a few moments of brilliance, although the Arsenal defence stood firm, for a change.
#4 Luiz Lunacy:
Up until the final few minutes, Chelsea were gaining the upper hand and the crowd were expecting a winner sooner rather than later. All of that changed when Luiz lost control of the ball while dribbling near the touchline, went in with a high foot to keep it from on Kolasinac and almost snapped the Bosnian’s leg in half. A red card was inevitable, despite the protestations of Luiz and Conte. It was a dangerous challenge and we’d have been up in arms had one of the Chelsea players been the recipient of a similar tackle.
#5 Best XI:
A congested calendar in September has seen plenty of rotation from Conte already. However, there is no doubt Bakayoko must feature in the strongest eleven players we could put out for a match. The French international is the perfect partner for Kante if we’re going with a two-man midfield. If we decide to play three in the middle, Bakayoko provides the foundation for a solid all-running, all-tackling yet creative midfield. The game changed when he was brought on for the second half, and he completed every pass and take-on in those 45 minutes. Immense.
A point is not the worst outcome in a game Chelsea could have easily lost, although Arsenal might be the ones disappointed with the result. After ages, they finally stood up to Chelsea and yet could not take all three points. But that’s in the past. We now look forward to the visit of Nottingham Forest in the League Cup, and yet more rotation.