Come on then…Hands up. Who saw Arsenal turning over Chelsea last night?
Not many then. I certainly didn’t. Once again I was lured into the ‘Arsenal will have the ball and then Drogba will destroy their backline’ theory.
However, this time, they scored and took the lead, became more confident, and went on to win with something left to spare.
And that is the curious thing about the match. They seemingly didn’t have to play that well to earn their victory.
They played their nice football as per usual, but Chelsea were extremely sluggish and off the pace. Uncharacteristic errors from Essien and Malouda early in the second half were punished with the second and third goals, Drogba was marshalled by Djourou splendidly, Ashley Cole was caught out of position on a couple of occasions, whilst Salomon Kalou may aswell have not been playing he was that poor.
But we know Chelsea can improve, and come the end of the season, Carlo Ancelotti’s side will be there or thereabouts in the title shake up.
However, for the Gunners, the match just left us with more questions than answers.
Had Chelsea turned up at the Emirates and turned over their hosts, then we would now be 99% certain that Arsene Wenger’s side would be out of the title race.
However, the fact that they emerged victorious, unlike in home games against Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur this season, means are they serious title challengers this season?
With that level of inconsistency, the answer is surely a resounding no. You can’t have the number of off-days that they have and be champions, surely.
Nevertheless, through the faults of others (Chelsea’s dreadful run, inconsistencies of Manchester City and Spurs, Manchester United’s earlys season draws) Arsenal are still in with a big say in the title race.
And with the form of Samir Nasri, the return to fitness of Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, the rise to prominence of Alex Song and Jack Wilshere, if they can add a little bit of consistency then they could be title winners.
However, consistency. The key word. The one thing that young players do not guarantee you. And it’s because of this (and also Laurent Koscielny, who for £8 million cost the same amount of money as Rafael van der Vaart) that you simply look at Arsenal and think once again, that despite last nights result, they won’t win the title.
Because you can see them being beaten by a so-called ‘lesser’ team between now and the end of the season. At least once. Maybe twice. And that will certainly kill their title challenge for another season.
And therein, if this were a Hollywood movie and there were 30 seconds left before the end credits, we would pan to a picture of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Sitting on top of the Premier League table. Two games in hand. His side unbeaten. And all this whilst his sides undoubted best player has been dreadful. Glass of red wine in one hand, big smile on his face.
For let’s not kid ourselves. Arsenal won last night. But Manchester United and Ferguson were the real winners.