Very little went right for Arsenal in our big Premier League clash with champions elect Chelsea in the Premier League and it was not much better for our manager, as Arsene Wenger had to watch the game from the middle of some Chelsea fans as he served the third of four match bans for being sent off and then tussling with the fourth official.
The home fans were always going to give the Frenchman plenty of stick and once they took the lead and then cruised to a win they did exactly that, with one particular chant of ‘we want you to stay’ surely hitting home. The prof might have expected a bit more support from his former star pupil Thierry Henry though.
Our record scorer was part of the TV panel covering the game and while Wenger bemoaned the fact that the opening goal should not have stood because of a foul on Bellerin by Alonso, Henry did not agree.
The boss said, “Of course it was a foul. But he allowed the goal and after that I think it was much more difficult for us. We were 1-0 down and Chelsea are very good at defending and very strong in transition, on the counter-attack. We paid for that. If you look at the goals we conceded, it’s all that. We were maybe not good enough in possession to make our game more dangerous. We lost many balls in positions you can’t afford to lose it when you play teams who are good on the counter-attack. Overall look at all their shots – our keeper had not a lot to save today, even if I concede that we did not create enough as well in the final third. It was a kind of game that Chelsea love and they mastered that very well.”
Henry came back with, “‘He’s going to say that.
“If you’re a neutral, he attacked the ball like he should’ve attacked the ball. He carries momentum, it looks bad, that’s what it is, but I think it’s a fair challenge.
“They are both looking at the ball, he jumps in the air, I think it’s a goal.
“Going back to what Arsene said, I can understand from the Arsenal corner that he’s going to say that – is that why you lost the game? I don’t think so.
“Things went your way the other game against Burnley, things are going to go your way against Everton, so, you know, things come and go.
“But the way they played today, we knew, be careful against Chelsea, you’re going to exposed on the counter if you don’t sense the counter quick enough, and that’s where I think they lost the game today.”
Pretty harsh from Thierry there, but do you agree with him or Wenger? I thought at the time it was a foul as his elbow clearly caught our player but none of the pundits seem to agree. I accept it was an accident but does that really matter? Would it have been a free kick anywhere else on the pitch?
Players catch others with high boots without meaning to and that is a free kick so why is this not? I have to side with Wenger on this one, even though I agree with Henry that this was not the main or only reason for us losing. How about you?