Arsenal can take heart despite stalemate against Chelsea

By Hilton Yip Source:Global Times Published: 2015-4-27 22:33:01

Late last year, even the most optimistic Gunner fans would not have imagined that Arsenal's clash with Chelsea this late in the season would be a top of the table match between numbers one and three. Even more unimaginable is that Arsenal might even be expected to win.

The game turned out to be a little disappointing with not even a single goal. The 0-0 ­result continued Arsenal's lack of success against their London rivals. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has repeatedly ­bested Arsenal's Arsene Wenger, staying unbeaten against him in 13 meetings. But yet, Arsenal can come away with a few positives.

This was a far cry from last season, when Mourinho's team battered Arsenal 6-0 on what was Wenger's 1,000th game as a manager. Their first game this season also saw Chelsea win 2-0 at home.

This time, Arsenal turned out in a more confident manner as they sought to avoid ­being dominated by Chelsea as in the past. This they managed to do, though they also tried in vain to impose themselves.

There were a couple of ­wasted chances, with Danny Welbeck having a good one near the end right in front of goal. However, Arsenal keeper David Ospina made a fantastic save at almost point-blank range to deny Ramires a goal on a break. Arsenal also did not shy away from the rough stuff, dishing out some strong challenges, though they were lucky not to concede a penalty at one point.

When Wenger decided to replace defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin for forward Welbeck in the 76th minute, leaving Arsenal without a defensive presence in midfield, it was a signal of intent to go for victory.

Arsenal attacked again and again, but Chelsea held firm. Chelsea players, led by captain John Terry, celebrated after the final whistle, the exuberance a strange and amusing sight after a 0-0 draw, but it was a sign of their pragmatic mind-set and the knowledge that their march toward the league title continues.

Regardless, Arsenal have done better than expected, certainly when looking back at the dark days of earlier this season. The fact that this draw with the league leaders can be considered disappointing for Arsenal shows the huge progress they have made.

More importantly, this game should be another stepping stone for Arsenal who have ­often wilted in the past against elite opposition. Things have been different this season and this game confirmed it.

The author is an editor with the Global Times.

Posted in: Extra Time

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