Chelsea were to play Liverpool and then Arsenal in the same week and many insisted both fixtures will test Chelsea’s title ambitions. Well, we passed both test and the Arsenal test was passed with so much ease.
According to Chelsea great Pat Nevin, Chelsea won Arsenal with so much ease because Arsenal ran straight into a trap set by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.
“Where to start about last week? It is a tough one as there were so many positives. The only real negative was not getting the three points at Anfield that Diego Costa’s penalty would have provided had he scored, but no one is complaining of course. Diego’s work rate and goals have been phenomenal and he has won us so many points already that it would be beyond churlish to complain,” Nevin wrote in his Chelsea official website column.
“It all seems pretty sweet after what was on paper the most challenging little period of the season. I say on paper because Arsenal were supposed to turn up at the Bridge and give us a seriously hard time of it. To be honest, it never really materialised even if they did squeeze high up the pitch in the opening minutes. They got a bit excited by the fact that because Chelsea were playing from the back, it gave them a couple of little sniffs, but they were running straight into a trap set by Antonio.
“Usually when we play at the Bridge teams sit back and there is no space for our own attackers to run into. If you can entice the opposition out a bit, by let’s say knocking it around in your own area for a bit instead of hammering it up to Diego from the keeper every time, then maybe they will creep forward. If the Arsenal attackers then chase into your area, their midfielders must back them up and then their defenders must push up to the halfway line. Now to be fair, Arsenal had to win this game so they were keen to get control, but leaving half of Stamford Bridge free for our players to attack seemed to be bordering on naïve.
“Even though they pushed on and we had just a couple of clear-cut chances in the first half other than the Marcos Alonso goal, I said on Chelsea TV at half-time there is no danger here. The reason was we kept on breaking into those wide open spaces and just failing with the final ball. This simply would not continue to happen; we have good players who were always going to develop those situations eventually. On top of that Arsenal would have to keep pressing as they were a goal down; it must have been crushing for the Arsenal fans, the players and the manager.”