So there goes our unbeaten start to the season.
I’m sure many Gooners would have approached this match quietly filled with confidence, given our showing against champions Man City from last week and the mid-week thumping of Coventry, so this loss turned out to be quite the let-down.
Could it have turned out better? Certainly. But for the reflexes of Cech in the second half, we would have drawn level for a second time. Those were two match-winning saves, especially from Giroud’s deflected effort, which I honestly thought had gone in. Cech still has it, that’s for sure.
Our French striker spurned another glorious chance at the end too, and I fear the pressure may have piled up on him even more, though he did open his accounts against Coventry. However, based on current form, there’s little argument for him to displace Gervinho, who took his one chance brilliantly.
Another thing I noticed was the shooting ability of our Spanish maestro Cazorla. That man can sure ping a pass, but he’s been strangely wasteful in front of goal. With the ability he's got, he should be testing the goalkeeper much more often, so hopefully we’ll see an improvement in that aspect in the coming matches.
Now, on to the two goals conceded; once again, I am reluctant to think that we’re weak in defending setpieces but I’m afraid Koscielny has got to put his hand up for the first one – you can’t turn your back on the ball with a finisher like Torres around. Mata’s ball for the second was just devilish, the kind that’s really difficult to keep out.
So I don’t think there’s a need to tinker too much with the system, although there’s something to point out
from the way we conceded the freekick that led to Chelsea’s second.
That came from a Chelsea counter-attack, and we were admittedly overrun in midfield far too often in this game. Losing Diaby so early to injury did not help, as that left our midfield rather lightweight. They may have bags of skill in abundance, but perhaps Ramsey-Cazorla-Arteta may not be our ideal midfield trio to face the big guns. Coquelin might have been an option in this case.
Still, some praise must go to the league leaders for executing a solid game plan, and keeping possession superbly after scoring the winner. We were chasing the ball for large parts of the second half, bringing back memories of the Mourinho-led Chelsea sides who hardly ever gave up a lead. Chelsea are definitely early front-runners, and the team to beat at the moment.
What now for us? Bounce right back, of course! The praise for our start to the season has been rather forthcoming, but having only won two out of our opening five games, we still have some way to go.
We face rather less fancied opposition in October, so with all due respect to them, we should really be looking at maximum points before a defining November period comes along. There wasn’t a great deal between us and Chelsea, so we should definitely be looking to close the gap on them.
Come on you Gunners!