Decisions are, too a degree, vindicated by results. Although there were many Arsenal fans baffled by Unai Emery’s decision to include Torreira, the two left feet of Xhaka and Guendouzi at the expense of Ozil, a win is welcome, no matter what the story behind the scenes.
Once again, Ozil was ignored, seemingly without an injury , a bout of the sniffles or any other reason that could come to mind.
Having said that Arsenal came out strongly from the whistle and Chelsea looked very much a side that likes rampaging forward but skipped the chapter about going in reverse.
The signs looked good for Arsenal, no matter what the team sheet said and Lacazette in particular, looked as if he had the intention to inflict damage.
Common sense said that this game would eventually open up and that after Chelsea’s insipid start, they would work their way back into the contest but that never transpired.
Arsenal could have been 2-0 up early on but who was to know that this game would be over by half time and that Chelsea wouldn’t turn up.
They are normally good to watch when they are rolling forward with purpose but when they are bounced out of their comfort zone, they suffer like they did here.
On the back foot, short of ideas and lacking any penetration against a curiously shaped Arsenal side crammed with intent and ambition, they simply ran out of gas.
In fact, the Arsenal side we expected, the rudderless one that loses games as a matter of course, did the reverse and the marauding Chelsea side we expected took the day off.
Arsenal had early chances and had they taken them, they could have doubled the score in the first half but they fell short with efforts by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis Papastathopoulos going close but not close enough.
Alexandre Lacazette put the gunners in front with a delightful finish from close range. The second came from that old stager, Laurent Koscielny, which went beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga with a combined head, neck and shoulder effort.
I’ll have to watch MOTD to determine that one correctly.
Chelsea performed much better in the second half but Arsenal soaked up all they had to offer, which wasn’t much and any result other than an Arsenal win would have been harsh.
Aaron Ramsey, tucked behind the advancing Lacazette and Aubameyang, showed the Arsenal fans what might have been if the ink had dried on that contract extension and Emery may yet regret his influence on that decision.
As for Ozil, we can assume that he will and must go in the summer, this standoff has become unbearable and financially embarrassing.
The win against Chelsea is one that reduces gao for 4th spot to three points and keeps an invigorated Manchester United at bay for now. Surely they are due for a loss or is that just wishful thinking.
The only low point was the injury to Bellerin’s knee, which looks like he may not be back for sometime.
What a pity, he had been excellent going forward and his contribution was superb. Perish the thought that we may have to rely on Stephan Lichsteiner, who has been awful of late.