It’s very difficult to make a proper assessment on the teams performances after yesterday’s defeat, what with the clear injustice that transpired at Stamford Bridge n’all, pretty much ending the contest before the halftime whistle had even been blown.
Perhaps we have Gabriel to thank for that, but in truth, he was merely the ‘patsy’ who was naive enough to fall for the shenanigans of a downright despicable footballer.
Diego Costa is a man who divides opinion. There are those that don’t like him and there are those that despise him. Then there are Chelski fans. But they’re despised by everybody, so perhaps they shouldn’t be classed as normal people. They’re not. Rarely do I meet one that I can have a decent conversation with, and I work with Spurs fans, so that shows you where the West Londoners sit on my Richter scale of fan disliking. But my personal feelings are besides the point. The real point is how a man like Diego Costa can be as ignominious as he is and receive nothing more than a ‘man of the match’ comment from a reprehensible character like Jose Mourinho. Not content with diving and waving an imaginary yellow card for no content by Coquelin within a matter of minutes of being on the field, he made it his mission to do whatever he could to cheat his way to a victory for his team. A rake of Koscienly’s face, a chest barge to Koscienly, it’s all perfectly acceptable in the Mike Dean refereeing book of football. This book also having a chapter on how to celebrate a goal in a local derby of course.
I feel like there’s little point in talking about the game itself, because it pretty much all hinged on a two minute window in which Costa wrongfully stayed on the pitch, did his best – cleverly – to get Gabriel sent off, having already slapped Koscienly in the face. The ineptitude of both linesman (I’m not going PC and calling them ‘referees assistants’, when they haven’t really assisted the referee at all to tell him what’s actually happened, regardless of whether he’d have done anything. Which he wouldn’t, because he’s Mike Dean) and referee in sending off the ‘Spaniard’ was clear for all to see. Having said that, Gabriel was a silly boy and should have avoided getting involved in ‘The Cheater’s ways. The petulant kick was effectively the end of the game. Sure, we went in at half time level, but we all knew that it was inevitable what would transpire in the second half.
It’s a shame really, because up until the sending off it felt like this was a performance born out of the fires of the Moneychester City away victory earlier this year. We were composed, we reduced Chelski to a few pot-shots at Cech and I was pretty happy with what I saw. There certainly could have been more from our attacking options and I thought Alexis had another off day, but by-and-large I thought we did ok.
Which is why the sending off was so frustrating. Because Chelski weren’t troubling us that much. BT Sport were trying to talk it up as much as possible, about how Chelski were playing well, but it felt like we were comfortable for a change. Coquelin was strong defensively and we looked good at the back and going forward Theo’s movement looked decent at times. But as the players trotted out for the second half we all knew it was only a matter of time before the oil whores would be ahead. It was just a shame that it was another set piece and a poor bit of defending by Koscienly to not hold his line like the other players, as he enabled Zouma to remain on side.
The game turned into one in which Chelski were into possession mode and we only really fashioned on chance that Alexis should have stuck away after a ball over the top wasn’t dealt with by Zouma or Cahill. It inevitably became more difficult for our creative players to get in to the game and although Arsène tried to change things with some subs, it was always going to be difficult, impossible when Cazorla was given his second yellow for touching the play-acting snake Fabregas. He, Costa and Mourinho have Chelski DNA to the core, clearly.
The day was made worse not by the sendings off, but by the news that Coquelin might be out for up to a month because of a knock to his knee. That’s the rumours coming out at the moment, which probably means he’ll be out until Christmas. With that in mind, Arsène has some thinking to do, because Santi and Arteta wasn’t quite the right balance against Zagreb, so does that mean we have to scrape the bottom of the squad barrel and opt for Flamini?
It was always going to be a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ when it comes to Arsenal racking up injuries, wasn’t it? So perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised that one of our most important players is out for the foreseeable future. Again, Arsène will be rightly criticised for his lack of purchases to bring depth and genuine competition for places in defensive midfield, but I don’t think that would have affected the game yesterday. That particular ball remains firmly in Mike Dean and Diego Costa’s court.
That’s two defeats on the bounce, a collective of fans unhappy and a North London Derby on its way midweek, in which I have to say I’m probably not going to be too confident. The Spuds will most likely play their strongest XI and Wenger will surely rotate, so we may not be completely out of the woods yet.
Catch you tomorrow.