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Arsenal Versus Chelsea: Beware The Wounded Beast

Chelsea. It wasn’t ever thus. There was once a time when the word evoked a different series of meanings, conjured other images. Fashionable clothes, big side burns, walking down the Kings Road, colourfully clad pensioners with shining medals and long memories, Charlie Cooke, John  Hollins, Alan Hudson, the Chelsea Drugstore (architecture meeting modern art on the corner of Royal Avenue and Kings Road), students and the Chelsea Flower Show. Everyone thinks their memories are embedded in a time of greater innocence, a halcyon era of a more simple, happier way of life, and I know I’m no different. However I do sometimes hanker for a time when there wasn’t this bitter loathing of other clubs. Did I despise Revie in the same way that Ferguson, Mourinho and Pulis make my lip curl today? Didn’t I used to look forward to a match, any match, regardless of the opposition? Maybe, maybe not, perhaps this is no more than an old man pining for his lost youth.

One thing not shrouded in a nostalgic rose tint is the fact that I was nearly a Chelsea fan. I know I’ve told you this before but it comes back to me each time their name appears on the fixture list.  They played the hated Leeds United in the first FA Cup final I ever saw and I found I rather liked David Webb for putting away the winning header. Coupled with my first league game as a spectator being at the Dell where Southampton entertained Chopper Harris & co. and it is always possible I might have decided that Peter Osgood was better looking than John  Radford, west was better than north and blue was better than red. Had the planets aligned in this way then these words would appear on Positively Chelsea and I wouldn’t be on speaking terms with any of you. Makes you think.

In any event I was never, not in a million years going to decide blue was better than red was I? While the papers shrieked about Chelsea Headhunters and bovver boot boys stalked the streets of West London my dad was quietly filling my head with talk of a different club, a club famous for innovation (under soil heating, son) class (marble, son, the halls were built of marble) and getting Bob Wilson’s autograph for me. When it came down to it Charlie Cooke was pretty cool but Charlie George was the single coolest footballer in the land. George Best? Not for me. When the other boys at school sang about Charlie being a superstar, they may have gone on to suggest he wears women’s clothes and a see through bra but I only heard the first line of their song.

So even though he was a Portsmouth fan, and even though he went to the Valley to watch Charlton Athletic when he moved to London, my dad steered me towards a life of vicarious voyeurism and masochistic joy as an Arsenal supporter. After the early seventies Chelsea never really showed up on my radar screen. It wasn’t until the silly money came along and put an end to the Ken Bates pantomime years that they surfaced as first a threat and later more of a torment. Their current manager is either trying to deflect media attention away from his troubled players or is genuinely coming unglued. I can’t tell which and frankly I can’t be arsed to give it much thought. He may be obsessed with Arsène but I’m not obsessed with him so let’s leave him to stew in his own juice and move on.

We have to travel to Stamford Bridge exhausted, dispirited and with our excellent return to form halted in Zagreb. The players had to complete much of Wednesday’s game with only ten men and our main striker Olivier Giroud is having a wretched start to the season. Replaced in the pecking order by Theo Walcott who is scoring goals for club and country with some regularity, our debonair French forward with the fine first touch and fluid passing skills was repeatedly fouled before being sent off for nothing in Croatia. Even here on what is supposed to be a positive supporters blog people prefer to blame our man rather than the referee. Honestly when a player loses the unflinching backing of the most one eyed, shamelessly partisan blog on the planet you know he is in trouble. What can be done? Well, personally I’d like to see him score a hat trick at lunchtime today but as he may not even start one wonders what he can do. Booed by sections of French support, wrongly castigated on-line at every turn by people who don’t deserve the eyesight with which they can’t see his strengths and the subject of endless transfer tattle as to who will replace him I struggle to remember a man less deserving of such opprobrium.

But football of course is a team game and the tribulations of one of our best players cannot derail the purpose of the whole squad. Per is still recovering from whatever evil spirit entered him but Aaron and ‘Ector should be fresh after putting their feet up while everyone else toiled and ultimately despaired in midweek. I don’t know how footballers do it but they have proved in the past that they can mentally compartmentalise different competitions. The Invincibles had a torrid time in the FA Cup and Champions league being knocked out of both by their two closest rivals but picked up where they’d left off in the league thrashing Liverpool in their next game. Can the current squad put the disappointment of Zagreb behind them and continue the progress they’ve been making in the league? Will Chelsea lift themselves for the big occasion in the way they’ve been unable to against so called lesser teams? These are the questions the answers to which should determine the outcome of today’s match.

Chelsea have problems, we all know that, they’ve made a shaky start to their league campaign but in the back of my mind there’s always the feeling of the beast cornered, never more dangerous than when wounded and underrated. Having said that we haven’t been riding a wave of perfect form, it’s been more a case of steady progress so I don’t think there is an air of over confidence. A draw would not be a surprise today as much as I’d rather see a few players add to an OG hat trick and give us a thumping victory, we need to temper our enthusiasm sometimes. The champions are not a crap team just because they have endured some crap results.

So two teams, both with points to prove to themselves and their fans after some unexpected reversals. Chelsea with home advantage Arsenal with the nicer fans, more intelligent manager and better looking players. Its in the balance really. They will kick us and dive and time waste and cheat as they always do, we will attempt to weave our magic patterns. It’s all a little predictable – all except the outcome. In total we’ve come away from Stamford Bridge having won 32 %, drawn 32% and lost 36% so history suggests we are more likely to get something than nothing. But as the famous football philosopher once said football is played on television not in the history books. Or something.

So, on that note I need to bugger off and leave you to your pre match routines while I start sticking pins in my Didier Drogba Diego Costa doll and polishing my lucky Arsenal mug. Not that I’m superstitious you understand, it’s just that, being entirely helpless to influence the result I feel a need to do something – anything – to appease the football Gods. I’ll be here to share the joys of victory with you, or should events unfold in confutation of this wholly desirable outcome then I shall retire gracefully into the shadows and pretend I never really liked football that much anyway.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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162 comments on “Arsenal Versus Chelsea: Beware The Wounded Beast

  1. you really have to laugh at that mug Danny Murpthy on MOTD, “Costa did nothing that warranted being sent off”, jeez when even Alan Shearer who normally gets an orgasm watching CFC, says Costa should have been off for over doing the nasty stuff today, it shows the level of Murphy’s nonsense

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  2. Don Hutchison ‏@donhutch4 2h2 hours ago
    Costa antics today made me feel ashamed to be an ex pro!!! Appalling attitude
    What’s worse is he dishes it out/yet whinges 2 ref when fouled

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  3. IVANOVIC 7 fouls – 1 yellow

    CAZORLA 2 fouls – 2 yellows.

    COSTA – not 1 free kick awarded against him

    do officials only see what they want to see

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  4. Wow!!! I’m really proud of d manager and the players. Can’t really ask for more than dt in the face of blatant cheating. They will only grow stronger on the undiluted n strong foundation of respect n fairness they av built unlike d crooks we faced 2day. Disappointed we ddnt come out with any points but I left the viewing proud of club I support, excluding some idiots who think they are supporters, and I believe the same should apply to the manager and players.
    I hope our firepower can grow sharper subsequently so dt we can really destroy The crooked one n other strong teams in the future. Up the Arsenal.

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  5. if the arsenal fans who claim to love the club more than arsene and stan kronke what to prove their, the time is now. rather than going to the press condermning wenger and the management, iwant them to do the right thing for once andgo to the samepress and protest any futher use of mr dean to referee any of ourgame ever again. this is a clear case of him being entirely against anything arsenal and he has proved beyond doubt in this game more than ever.
    if the club cant protest then the fans should take it upon themselves to do this. bring banners to the emirates every saturday that we dont want to see dean ever again!
    edu
    ramsey was my motm. i dont know why you think he wasnt playing well. we were playing away to chelsea. no one should expect total domination of the ball, even when we were up against mr dean.

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  6. I’m also happy we av a player like Gabriel on our ranks. It’s bn long overdue-he just needs 2 be wise in d future.
    Gollum(Dean) is an ancient cheat. I suppose he’d av bn running like a man who is pressed to answer d call of nature 2 dish out d red card to Costa if it had been Manure who had chelshit as opponents today.
    Knew d media n their brainwashed-braindead sympathizers wud spin it against us 2day of which dey ddnt disappoint. We’re damned if we keep quiet n don’t respond to their sinister antics and damned if we do. Dt one is a loose loose situation. I’m only concerned abt wat is going on in the mind of our players. It will be disastrous if dey let feelings of self-pity creep in into their minds and set-up on the other hand r greater challenges and success if they let it motivate them. I hope it’s d latter.

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  7. @layksite. I’m not too optimistic on that. Dey r vertebrates without backbones, Houses without foundation, Travellers without a destination, orators with no sense of purpose beaten abt by their own whims and caprices. Their hatred of all things Arsenal has become pathological. Don’t expect anytn 4rm dem.
    But I seriously hope protest against dis injustice will arise from other quarters.

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  8. Super super super blog this!!!

    top top comments..i love this place.

    I don’t know how people expect others to remain calm in the face of blatant cheating..we react to that lowlife cheating watching it on television..players adrenaline is pumped up during a game…

    I agree Gabriel shouldn’t have reacted the second time..but god knows what kind of filth Costa was mouthing.

    the players were class..each one of them.

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  9. I’m over d bitterness a little nw so I feel I shd b able to make a little sense.
    If anybody be it our “fan” or the opposition or any pundit tries or tried to justify Costa and or Dean’s action, they deserve to be tied with a chain to a fast moving truck.
    If any of the above equally tried or try to vilify Gabby, they shd be thrown into 20ft deep pit until Gabby returns frm suspension.
    If the FA isn’t looking into Costa’s antics and ban him, then the premier league shd b scrapped.
    If Dean ever referees a match involving Arsenal again, then I won’t b arsed to watch it.
    I’ve got lots more of ifs bt the last one i’ll say is……
    If I have a gun with a single bullet in it, I know whose head i’m gonna blow off………… 100%Jose

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  10. Many years ago I was told that if something is written in anger, far better to read it the following day and then decide whether or not to send it. So this morning on rereading the old fart’s thoughts I xxx’d out that which may be thought of as libelous, inflammatory or plainly obscene. What is left follows:
    xxxxx Dean xxxxx xxxxxx xxx xx xxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxx xxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxx xxxxx Costa xxxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxx xx xxx xxxxx xxxxxxxx Costa xxxxxxxxxx Zouma xx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx Dean xxxxxxx Gabriel xxxxxxx xxxxxx xx xxxx xxxxx xxxxxx Costa xxxxxx xxxxxx Dean xxxxxxxxxx Ivanovic xxxx xxxxxx Dean xxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxx xxxx. Cheating xxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx xx Santi xxxxxx xxxxx.
    Now I can go to church with a clear conscience.
    Perhaps we should just write off the week as a very bad couple of days at the office.
    Keep the faith especially at the spuds!

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  11. New post is up

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  12. layksite all I was saying about Ramsey, Cazorla, Walcott, Ozil and Alexis is that none of them yesterday played at the top of their game, they were not at the high level of performance that Coquelin and the defense were, as I said they were ok, nothing more, there is a sharpness missing from the game of all of them so far this season in the most part.

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