Chelsea put on their best Tottenham impression, conceding three goals in just over half an hour as Arsenal waltzed away to do the double over Chelsea for the second time in three years. Captain Martin Ødegaard and his loyal sidekick connected twice with the former captain finding the current one with two very similar passes into the box to Ødegaard, who cleverly eluded his (admittedly clueless) marks. Just like that, we’re back on top, there this time to say (no, not really).
The only shame of it is that the zip went out of the game after the third goal, with us perhaps a bit too complacent despite having been in a similar situation on a few recent occasions (cough). Still, it was a confident return to form after the drbbing at the Etihad. Even if it doesn’t quite have them quaking in their boots over there, the result keeps the door to the Prem title from slamming all the way shut.
There will be some nervous knickers over the status of Big Gabi, who seemed to pick up various knocks or niggles before finally coming off in the 85th minute. It might have been nice to see Arteta get him off the pitch earlier with the result essentially in hand even after Madueke pulled one back twenty minutes earlier. In truth, it really did look for long, long stretches like most of Chelsea’s players were mentally on the beach already. To chalk this off to their sorry state would only tell half the battle though, as we looked hungry, determined, and relentless from the off. I’m not saying this kind of play would have toppled Man City, but we looked at closer to our best than we have since the international break.
Along the way, we picked up a few notables:
- Ødegaard now has 22 goals and assists, One more goal contribution would see him match Robert Pires’s tally in the 2003-04 Invincibles season.
- Arsenal are now the first to win ten derbies in a league campaign.
- Jesus has now scored in 55 Premier League matches without losing (W50 D5), surpassing James Milner at 54.
Something tells me we’ll only enjoy roughly 24 hours atop the table; I don’t see West Ham troubling Man City all that much on Wednesday. For as much as I’d like to fall back on the old “anything can happen” saw, Man City dropping points in this one falls into the same category as, say, Lampard winning Manager of the Year or Tottenham finishing in the top four. Are each of these within the realm of possibility? To varying degrees, yes.
We’ll simply have to focus on winning our remaining matches. Next up: a very difficult, treacherous trip to St. Mary’s…