We finally did get to beat Chelsea after dominating for most parts of the game. In the last few matches against Chelsea we couldn’t convert our domination to victories as we were dealt severe loses. Last night it was different as we held our game and never looked intimidated. Maybe Fabregas was right that it was a mental thing and hopefully this victory will have broken that mental lock.
It was an overall much improved performance from the Manu match. We showed more determination and desire. It was clearly visible that we were hungry for a win. We found our rhythm going forward and at the back we were organized. And for a change we converted our possession into goals.
The defence did their job superbly. There were some nervous moments but as the midfield was contributing we held on. The defenders covered up well for each other.
The midfield players were immense. They contributed in defence and were quick to move ahead whenever they got the ball. Our passing was quick and precise. One thing I liked was that we held onto the ball and didn’t give it away unnecessarily except on a few occasions.
Our forward line also did brilliantly as they probed for openings in the bus parked by Chelsea. We were quick in our movement. And as the chances presented them we took them clinically.
One grey area was the manner in which we conceded the goal. None of our players attacked the ball especially Koscielny. Fabianski also was at some fault for the goal because of his decision making.
Coming to player ratings:
Fabianski (6.5): He looked uncertain on a few occasions otherwise coped well when called upon. Should have done better on the goal though. Needs to be firm in his decision making. Like he was coming forward to catch the ball and then stopped midway. Had he stayed on his line he would have caught the ball.
Sagna (7.5): Top game from the Frenchman. Chelsea weren’t able to use his flank to attack. Provided width while going forward and at the back was solid. Showed good pace too.
Djourou (8) and Koscielny (6.5): Top performance from the centre backs. Never gave space to Drogba as he was forced to drop deep to get the balls. Aerially were dominant except on a few occasions. Made some vital interceptions and were good in the one-on-ones. Koscielny was great in closing down the Chelsea players but made a few errors one of which led to a goal.
Clichy (7): An improved performance. Good going forward and great in covering his flank. Made a few errors but we can ignore them for this game.
Song (8.5): One of his best performance of the season. Brilliantly held the midfield, no misplaced passes, closed down the Chelsea attack and made good interception. Today he did his job while also moving forward. And he did score the vital opener.
Wilshere (7): He too had a brilliant game after a slow start. Held his ground against the Chelsea players and never looked fazed. Distributed the ball around nicely.
Fabregas (7.5): He did overcome his fear and played a Captain’s role. Orchestrated our moves brilliantly. Made a few excellent runs and at times found the perfect ball. Scored the important second goal and provided the assist on the third. He did give away the balls a few times but that can be expected after not playing for some time.
Walcott (9): Started slowly as he was denied space on the right. His touch also wasn’t good as he had an opportunity to open the scores but was let down by his control. However, when he found his rhythm, continuously harassed the right flank. Plenty of times forced the Chelsea backline to make mistakes which eventually led to goals. Provided the assist on the second goal and scored the third that proved to be vital in the end.
Van Persie (7): He is slowly getting to his best. In the first half had to drop deep to get the balls but eventually found space in the centre and linked up play nicely with the wider players.
Nasri (7): Despite getting double teamed and at times triple teamed, he found space to do something good. His chip in the first was delightful but it was saved by Cech. Could have scored the fourth goal for us had he not rushed his shot.
It was good to see Diaby (7) back in action. His touches and movement were a bit rusty but he did well whenever he got the ball and contributed in defence. He could have also scored had he taken the shot early. Chamakh (6.5) held the ball nicely and contributed in defence. Rosicky (No Rating) had very little time to make much impact, although he did strike the post.
It is a massive massive win no doubt. However, there is still a lot of time to go and we must not lose our focus. We have taken our first step and now we must continue with it in the upward direction. The next match against Wigan is as important and we need to play with the same desire and spirit that we showed last night.
Great things are sure on the horizon!