Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Stamford Bridge is Falling Down! Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal

In what has been hailed as a "derby classic" and "the game" of the Premier League season so far, the North London rivals put on a show as the game finished with a remarkable eight goals!  The Flying Dutchman, Robin Van Persie, continued his immaculate form scoring a hat-trick as he led the Gunners in putting their derby foes to the sword.

Classic Derby Grit
It was truly a thrill-a-minute match, and every fan knew this was a critical test for Wenger's Arsenal.  You rarely see such an open game between two colossal teams but this was end-to-end stuff from the opening whistle.  Chelsea held the early advantage with Fernando Torres registering a big miss early on.  The Blue's Daniel Sturridge was key in their offensive buildup but the home side failed to connect early on.  Walcott instigated a response from the Gunners with a clever cross but Gervinho recorded a glaring miss of his own.  Minutes later it was Van Persie who missed the target with a hard shot flung just over the bar.  As soon as the Gunners had gained their footing, Chelsea gained the lead.  Juan Mata put in a fine cross and Frank Lampard headed home.  From the outset, both defenses had been poor, but this was rather against the run of play.  With thirty minutes gone, Szczesny rescued morale with a fine save.  Then Gervinho weaseled through a high back line and found himself alone with Petr Cech.  Waiting just until the keeper committed, the Ivorian deftly passed to a crashing RVP who slotted home to an empty net.  It was 'as you were' and Arsenal dug in to weather more heavy pressure from the hosts.  Nearing half time, the exciting pace had slowed ever so slightly and it seemed the break would find them level.  However, an injury time corner and some shameful positioning allowed John Terry to bag a goal just before the whistle.

Arsenal came back more confident than at first and Van Persie forced a fine kick save within a minute of resuming play.  Chelsea were on the back foot, and a lively Gunner midfield took advantage.  Song drifted a ball out to an attacking, unmarked Santos who guided his shot past the keeper, leveling the game once more.  At 55 minutes, Arsenal climbed up to the driver's seat when Walcott scored his fourth of the campaign.  The England winger was brought to the pitch, but his speedy recovery caught the drowsy Chelsea defense unaware.  A slick shot and control of the game had gone to the visitors.  Appropriately, the visitors section erupted and on the afternoon it was the traveling Arsenal fans who set the tone at Stamford Bridge.  Even from the telecast, you could clearly hear the familiar Arsenal chants throughout most of the match.  The goal brought on another heavy bout of Chelsea pressure and after fifteen minutes, the boss decided on a double substitution: Rosicky & Jenkinson on, Walcott & Djourou off.  Chelsea leveled the game almost immediately.  A fine strike from Juan Mata eluded the defense and as time evaporated, there was precious little left for a response.  The match was not over and the indomitable Gunners would recapture their lead with only five minutes remaining.  On a routine back-pass, John Terry lost his footing and the ever-present Van Persie snatched the ball and strode down the final third by his lonesome.  Exhibiting trickery, the Dutchman danced around Cech restored the Gunner's lead.  With the story all but told, RVP sliced home another in stoppage time to complete his hat-trick, leaving Stamford Bridge in disarray and ruin.
Three goals for the Flying Dutchman!!!

Arsenal are back. Undeniably, unmistakably back.  This was a monumental test, and the Arsenal passed with flying colours.  The Gunners continue climbing the table and cutting the gap creating by the season's disappointing start.  Next on the docket:  Marseille visit the Emirates in the Champions League. This is yet another crucial test for the rebounding North London side.  A win here will almost secure the group and their recent form forecasts a strong showing this evening in the Champs League encounter.

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