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Decisive Moments: Chelsea V Arsenal


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Each Monday, the Official Chelsea Website catches up with an observer of the weekend game.

Former Blues favourite Clive Walker was there at Stamford Bridge to see well-thought-out tactics and moments of inspiration win the day.

I was surprised to see after the game that the possession statistics was marginally in Chelsea's favour. Arsenal played some of the better footballand early in the game had a lot of the ball and a couple of chances that they should have done better from.Their failure to score could be the difference between winning the league and not winning the league. The last 15 minutes of the first half Chelsea played better and started to make some counter-attacking moves. It suited us to sit deep and allow them possession. The first goal changed the picture and it was very well worked. Ashley Cole does that ever so well and what can you say about Didier Drogba against Arsenal apart from absolutely magnificent! As a target man he was excellent.

One of our tactics was to get the ball up there quickly to Drogba, Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka and see what those three could do with the Arsenal back four because their two centre-backs didn't look like they knew what they were doing with Drogba.

When we play counter attacking football and are defending, there is not an immediate need for the front three to sprint 60 yards back and help out. Such is the pace of the game that the front three, if they are high up the park, they are not expecting to get too much help that quickly from the midfield so they try to interact with each other. On the other hand, when we lose possession they know there are eight bodies behind the ball so there isn't an immediate rush to get back. When we are defending and the opposition attack has slowed down, that gives the likes of Drogba, Malouda and Anelka the chance to sit a little deeper and maybe pinch a few balls off the opposition midfield players.

Arsenal lined up with Abou Diaby a long way forward and I think what they were trying to achieve was to get Samir Nasri on the ball. Without Cesc Fabregas, Nasri was always likely to be one of their most creative players and by having Diaby further forward, he was a threat because of his sizeand was able to put pressure on our back four. That created some space for Nasri and he was the one man who was using the ball quickly for Arsenal and tried to create gaps in our back four. In the early stages that worked for them. Petr Cech made a super save from Andrey Arshavin at a time when Arsenal were dominating. If they had scored you would have said that has been coming, and the game could have been a lot different. That they didn't highlighted their problem, they fail to score goals against the big sides.

Ramires is going to have his good games and he is going to have his odd blip at the moment because he is still learning the Premier League, learning about his manager, his team mates, the positioning and style that Chelsea want to play, and the language. He seemed to have problems with his passing against Man City last week but we saw against Arsenal how well he gets stuck in even though he is slight of frame. He is quick and quite elusive but he can put his foot in and is not frightened of a challenge. We saw that with the Drogba goal and the later challenge inside the penalty area that if he had mistimed would have been a penalty.

When the ball is placed centrally, there is a big argument for Alex to take more free kicks. His strike on Sunday was extraordinary - the movement of Malouda in the wall, the pace he hit the ball at and the way it swerved through the gap. You can question that gap. It was so obvious that Malouda was going to get out the way and leave it, why wasn't there an Arsenal player stood behind him, or the man charging down the free-kick stood in front of him? But let's give some credit to Alex for finding the gap and the way the ball moved.

This was always going to be a game of tactics and tactically Chelsea got it right. Last season Carlo learnt a lot about the Premier League. We saw the tactical warfare between him and Roberto Mancini last week which was like AC Milan and Inter playing each other in a tactical battle in which one goal often decides it. Now we saw him taking on one of the best in Arsene Wenger and I think the players performed it how Carlo wanted the game to be played, so a large pat on the back for Carlo.


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