Arsenal went joint top of the Premier League table with a drab goalless draw with perennial rivals Chelsea. The game surely did not live to the pre-match hype as both managers went for the cautious approach, did not throw too much forward and crowded the midfield. It was so cagey that it took 27 minutes for any side to register an attempt on goal. Lampard went close in the 32 minute, and it was not until the injury time in the first half that the gooners had a meaningful attack when Ozil thought his goal bound shot was blocked by the arm of Ivanovic. The second half saw Arsenal dominate possession more and push forward, Giroud came close twice in the 79 minute and the 86 minute and Azcupileta even had to clear off the line in added time from Sagna’s header.
SZCZESNY: made a smart save from Lampard in the 66 minute and dominated his area very well (6.5)
GIBBS: did very well especially when going forward. Dealt with Willian very well and gave a perfect cross to Giroud in the last moments (7)
VERMAELEN: good display for the captain. Did the simple things right. Expect him to start at Upton Park (7)
MERTESACKER: another assured performance from the Big Friendly German. As important to Arsenal as any other player this season (7)
SAGNA: very good defensively. Dealt with Hazard very well (that is no small work to do). However, was not very effective going forward. (7)
ARTETA: after a below par performance in Naples, the Spaniard stood up to be counted. Did very well especially in the second half. (7)
RAMSEY: was largely anonymous in the game. That would have changed if Giroud had converted his explicit pass in the second half. One of the players that needs a breather surely (6)
ROSICKY: it pains me that Tomas is 33. I wish he was younger. Was very active, was his normal buzzing self. Did very well in midfield and his connection with Gibbs down the left flank almost resulted in a goal.(7.5)
OZIL: was well marked by the Chelsea team, had to come deep a lot of times to collect the ball. Still had a decent performance though. Don’t expect him to start against West Ham. (6)
WALCOTT: seriously underperformed in the game, did not see his usual bursting runs down the right. (6)
GIROUD: had two glorious chances to give the gooners the 3 points. Did averagely well against Terry and Cahill though. (6).
MAN OF THE MATCH: it has to definitely go the the 33 year old super man. Rosicky was awesome in the game and did very well. this kind of performances is what makes him endeared to many gooners. Surely deserves a new contract.
In the end, it was to me one point gained instead of two points dropped. The only sore point was that it was a home game and that Chelsea would not afford us to luxury of been cautious in the return leg in the Bridge. However, this year’s title race is a peculiar one that would need a lot of caution and carefulness. We should not dwell too much on this result, but look forward to the festive games: West Ham (A), Newcastle (A) and Cardiff (H). With Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City facing each other within this period, wins of any sort in these 3 games could return the gooners to a comfortable top position. #COYG
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