Chelsea succumbed to their second home defeat of a still relatively early the season, this time at the hands of an underperforming Arsenal side.
Chelsea lined up with Cech in goal, A. Cole, Terry, Ivanovic and Bosingwa in defence, Mikel holding the midfield, Ballack and Lamps in the centre, Deco out more on the left, Kalou right and Anelka up front.
Chelsea never really got going today, with the first chance of the match falling to Fabregas within the first quarter of an hour, with a shot saved by Cech.
The chances were far between and the next was ten minutes later when Bosingwa’s cross found Lampard, who’s header was from too far out, and right at Almunia, barely forcing a save.
Bosingwa then set up our goal, fizzing a cross onto the edge of the six yard box that a sliding Djourou attempted to cut out, but accidentally turned into his own net.
The only other chance of the half went to Kalou, again forcing a save from Almunia. Lamps’ effort soon after the break, laid back to him by Deco whistled past the post.
Then on the hour the game changed, with Van Persie finding space, and from the edge of the box scoring with a shot in the top right hand corner that Petr Cech had no chance of getting to.
Minutes later Van Persie’s shot on the turn found the bottom corner, giving the visitors the lead, with just under half hour to play.
Five minutes later Scolari made his first change, with Mikel coming off for Malouda, there was some unrest amongst many fans, who felt Deco should have been the man being replaced. Taking off Mikel meant Ballack had to defend and hold back more, and Ivanovic on occasion slotted into right back whilst Bosingwa made a run up the line.
Chelsea got a free kick just outside the area with quarter of an hour left, Malouda hit it fiercely and made a good connection but it went over the bar, minutes later Deco’s wayward shot would be his last of a disappointing contribution to the match. In his defence though, he was played out on left midfield, not down the centre as he prefers.
Stoch came on for him to make his debut, a reserve and youth team player without Premier League experience, fine when you’re winning, but not when you need a goal. This isn’t the first time Scolari has done this, with Chelsea being 3-0 up at Half Time against Portsmouth, di Santo was left on the bench, yet when we needed a goal to beat Spurs or draw with Liverpool that was when di Santo came on, and in not too dissimilar fashion that’s what happened today.
Not much else of note happened, our fans singing to Go West “four years, and you’ve won fuck all” was probably the highlight of the fans songs, that or ‘You’re not captain anymore’, obviously aimed at Gallas.
So tonight Zola can prove his Chelsea loyalties by doing us a favour at Anfield, keeping us in top place. Arsenal are now above Villa but still seven points behind us.
With one point at home against the big three, it’s lucky we’ve got them out the way, and can rely on our away form to see us through the return matches after Christmas.
Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry (c), A Cole; Mikel (Malouda 69); Kalou, Ballack, Lampard, Deco (Stoch 81); Anelka.
Scorer Djourou o.g. 30,
Booked Terry 60, Ivanovic 84.
Arsenal (4-4-1-1): Almunia (c); Sagna, Djourou, Gallas, Clichy; Denilson, Fabregas (c), Song, Nasri; Van Persie; Adebayor (Bendtner 83).
Scorer Van Persie 59, 62.