Three lessons Arsenal must learn from Chelsea defeat
Three lessons Arsenal must learn from Chelsea defeat at Stamford Bridge
Don’t get wound up
Arsenal could do with reading some of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, ‘If’: “If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you..” The hope is that Arsenal have finally learned from Saturday’s 2-0 defeat by Chelsea that reacting to provocation never ends well. But the fact is Arsenal have been here before and still not grasped the concept. The Gunners were 4-0 up away to Newcastle in 2011 when another wind-up merchant, Joey Barton, conspired to get Abou Diaby sent off for grabbing him by the neck after receiving a reckless tackle. The momentum swung and the Magpies incredibly salvaged a 4-4 draw. Everyone knows Diego Costa’s game. He’s from the Luis Suarez school of win at absolutely all costs. It’s infuriating to watch but it proves effective as time and again he gets away with it. This time Gabriel Paulista was suckered in and now Arsene Wenger must surely drilled it into his squad that they must keep their calm in such circumstances. It is always the instigator that seems to avoid repercussions although in this case Costa was booked so it remains to be seen whether he will be retrospectively punished by the FA.
Nice guys finish last
Arsenal haven’t had a mean streak to them since selling Patrick Vieira to Juventus in 2005 and releasing Martin Keown a year earlier. Everything about Arsenal is too nice, even down to the padded seat at The Emirates. While it is an admirable facet is some aspects, being friendly and welcoming is not going to produce a team of players who are desperate to win trophies. The only player at Arsenal who you would describe as having any kind of warrior characteristics is the combative Francis Coquelin. Wenger has never been particularly vindictive, even during his infamous spats with Sir Alex Ferguson, but he appears to have mellowed even more with age. The club’s philosophy is that football must be played in progressive but aesthetically pleasing manner and if done correctly nothing else matters because you will win the game. That is proving to be the fallacy it obviously is and until Wenger changes the outlook to win by playing dirty if other tactics aren’t working, nothing will change. Tony Adam’s famously said you need seven players in your team that will happily have a scrap in the tunnel if it kicks off after the game. Arsenal currently have about two.
Sanchez looks knackered
Winning the Copa America with Chile will count as a special achievement for Alexis Sanchez when he looks back at his career, but it seems to be drastically effecting his Premier League form for Arsenal. He had his summer holiday cut short and the lack of rest and recuperation after a long first season in English football is impacting his game. He has had the most shots in the Premier League without scoring and his confidence took another dent in the defeat by Chelsea as he was dispossessed easily on quite a few occasions. It’s time for Wenger to give him an couple of weeks away from the starting line-up as it’s evident he’s in the ‘red-zone’ which has accounted for so many injuries to Gunners players in recent years. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked excellent in the early weeks of the season and would inject some much needed dynamism into the Arsenal midfield.