Two Top Teams

Good morning Positivistas and a glowing Summer morning up here in Norfolk.


A fine game yesterday between what the succession of televised games over the weekend showed were clearly the two superior footballing sides in the EPL at the present time. Both demonstrated a quality of football and of purpose that the Citehs, Yooniteds, and Spuds and Saints are deficient in at the present time. And therefore while the result disappointed me as I would have preferred the flame to flicker a little longer in the season, the football I thought was pretty damn good.

And to the grit of the game itself which I had the opportunity to view from on very high indeed, and again on the TV last night ?

Our starting line up, no significant changes though with Bellerin back into after his Wembley break – it seems Arsene has decided who is our first choice right back and after the young Spaniard’s careful patrol of Hazard all afternoon, and some striking runs forward, who is to argue ?

My first ‘surprise’ was Chelsea’s decision to start with no recognised striker, even allowing for the attraction of them leaving with a point that seemed an odd one. Not so and in the first half I thought the visitors looked more dangerous, their best chances of the game from Oscar and Ramires. When Droggie came on at HT the attacking threat faded, with the poor old Ivorian reduced to shouting, waving and pointing after Michael Oliver in desperation. Should I feel pity to see a former footballing nemesis reduced to a toothless, dribbling old crone ? Probably, but it make take a year or two yet.

Overall though a very good defensive performance from all our back five. And did you see the number of cards we picked up in the last few minutes as we pressed and Chelsea threatened to cause problems with a breakaway ? Does that tell us we have players who have learned ? Yes it does.

Two midfield units worked hard throughout the 90 minutes and effectively battled each other to a standstill. There was very little time for any player to take a touch or look up to choose a pass and even Ozil, generally a man who can find space inside a telephone box, saw his usual poise hustled and harried. Coquelin and Matic tackled the heavy work, Santi and Ramires picked up the scraps and tried to create something with them. Aaron, like Hazard, found it difficult to get anything going on the flank against the capable Azplicueta.

My only criticism of our creative engine was that until the last 15 minutes or so we did not seem to move the ball through midfield fast enough, there was an extra touch, a half turn, that just allowed the defenders to regroup. That change may have had to do with Danny’s introduction, it may have had to do with slightly tiring legs. It did seem to me that last ten minutes that we were at our best, and they, blowing hard, leaning on the ropes.

But we all know it is goals that win matches and we have two of the best goalscorers in the PL.

Sanchez and Ivanovic was a chess match, the Chilean leading the large Balkan on, pushing the ball inside, down the line, at him. But never quite breaking young Branislav, though his late yellow card following a frustrated lunge at Alexis indicated that he understood the game that was in progress. For all his cruel taunting of the Serb however Alexis could not break open the Chelsea lock.

And up front Olivier ran, he hustled, he charged, he darted and flicked but against the double coverage of the ever popular Mr Terry and his sidekick Cahill he was always going to struggle. And Giroud did, but he was game to his final kick, he will have easier afternoons and more profitable ones.

So a good game, a timely reminder we have still work to do, and peaks to attack and conquer.

Enjoy your week.

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161 comments on “Two Top Teams

  1. For WS – granted that those earlier in the season loses are not entirely down to him but he was an integral part of that squad. I still feel bad recalling the loses to man U, sotton, Swansea and stoke and wonder what might have been… I think it was Ospina for Spurs? imagine if all these had been draws? 5 more points from where we are now


  2. Gustavo @TaiyeAG · 8h 8 hours ago
    When we signed Francis Jeffers for £8m instead of Rooney

    that tweet above is the sort of bullshite the AAA come out with, no basis in reality at all, just a way to have a dig at Arsenal, when we signed Jeffers in 2001, Wayne Rooney was still only 15 years old and was a full year away from making his Everton first team debut.


  3. It was Ospina for Spurs TS but I don’t think either of their goals was down to him,

    The first deflected score against Monaco though, and their third last minute strike might have been looked at a lot harder (if it had been Szcz).


  4. Of all the rubbish goals we conceded that 3rd against Monaco remains the most annoying for me… So uncalled for!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. for me it was the equaliser at the end in anfield and of course anderlecht …monaco at the third i just laughed…


  6. Andy Nic: Liverpool do have some problems I think. Their high energy, high press game is unsustainable for long periods of time – and without it they lack the guile to open sides up.

    Suarez did for them what Bale did for Spurs for a couple of seasons, but without those two star players they have seemingly reverted to their natural place in the pecking order

    The Gerrard/ Rodgers thing has been simmering away for some time I reckon. Balotelli is unlikely to have added to dressing room harmony, and I think the Sterling contract issue won’t have helped much.

    And I am not convinced they have the funds at their disposal to challenge as loftily as they might wish to.

    When Rogers took over the press were full of praise for the way he was “managing expectations”: it would seem that he has not managed to manage his team quite so successfully.

    But the press still seem to suggest that our 0-0 with Chelsea makes us the real crisis club.


  7. The Leicester equaliser and the two Swansea goals still irritate.


  8. Lovely shot of Klopp and Pep “crossing paths” after Bayern’s defeat last night in the semi final;


  9. why wont it play?


  10. Mine is running beautifully – I shall try again


  11. oh cool..ok ok ok mine too

    fuck pep


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