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Arsenal take the handbrake off

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Phil McNulty | 20:47 UK time, Saturday, 29 October 2011

Arsene Wenger's philosophy is, to use his own phrase, to see Arsenal play with the handbrake off. At Chelsea he did not stop there - he cut the brake pipes and gave them a hefty shove down a very steep hill.

Wenger's bold approach was shaped by his admission that only victory would satisfy Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, not simply to keep in touch with the Premier League's top four but also as confirmation that the recent recovery carried genuine substance.

And with Chelsea counterpart Andre Villas-Boas equally intent on casting caution aside, Arsenal won 5-3 after a madcap classic in which attack was not just the best form of defence, it was the only form of defence.

Happily for Wenger, the man at the controls for Arsenal was the exceptional Robin van Persie as he confirmed his status as the second most important man at the club behind his manager.

Van Persie's Arsenal future has provided a sub-plot behind Wenger's attempts to rebuild his squad following the departure of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri as the club revealed on Thursday that they are yet to open talks on his new contract.

Wenger, despite similar declarations of optimism before Nasri decided Manchester City met his ambitions more than Arsenal, is confident Van Persie will not take the route out of the Emirates.

When Wenger was asked about Van Persie's contract in the afterglow of a brilliant hat-trick that took his tally to 28 goals in 27 Premier League games this year and gave Arsenal their eighth win in nine games, he said: "There is nothing to add."

Robin van Persie has scored more Premier League goals than anyone else in 2011

Robin van Persie has enjoyed a stunning start to the season (Getty images)

This may not strictly be true. Arsenal may need to add a extra few noughts on to the end of his deal because performances of this stature will only add to his list of admirers.

He was the symbol of an Arsenal display that backed up Wenger's words about the spirit within his squad. Theo Walcott, with England coach Fabio Capello looking on, was not far behind as both a creator and scorer of goals.

And it illustrated Arsenal's need to pin down Van Persie as a matter of urgency. Wenger can rightly point to the wonderful promise of Aaron Ramsey and the injured Jack Wilshere, but study the goals column and the striker's worth is easily calculated and it is currently close to priceless.

Wenger is trying to piece Arsenal back together after early season turbulence, but the biggest lift he could give the club is to persuade Van Persie to stay. And it needs to be done quickly as Nasri has already flagged up the perils of allowing the clock to run down on a contract.

If Arsenal are not in official talks about Van Persie's contract then they should be. Now.

This was the game that flew out of control in head-spinning fashion almost from the first minute, adding its name to those such as Arsenal's own 8-2 loss at Manchester United and the champions' subsequent 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City.

No-one is quite sure what has happened to the Premier League this season - but those with a love of goals will not be complaining after we gorged on another feast in west London.

Van Persie concluded a beautifully constructed move involving Ramsey and Gervinho to cancel out Frank Lampard's opener before John Terry - more of him later - put Chelsea back in front.

Andre Santos, miles off the pace as a defender, showed his attacking prowess with another equaliser before Walcott recovered from a stumble to power a finish past the uncertain Petr Cech.

Juan Mata's 25-yard goal, with Arsenal justifiably claiming Romelu Lukaku had fouled Santos in the build-up, set up a frantic finale but the fates had a cruel trick in store for Chelsea and their captain Terry.

Terry's week has centred on allegations he racially abused QPR's Anton Ferdinand, claims he vehemently denies, and if he was hoping for some sweet relief at Stamford Bridge it was not to be.

He looked creaky throughout and his misery was complete after 85 minutes when he slipped as he moved to receive Florent Malouda's pass and was left in eye contact with the turf as Van Persie sped off over the horizon to show his class, coolly rounding Cech to score.

And with even the arch-purist Wenger pleading with Arsenal to adopt a more measured approach in stoppage time, their braking system had failed so comprehensively that Van Persie completed the scoring with a lashed finish that provoked instant comparisons with Sir Geoff Hurst's hat-trick goal in the 1966 World Cup final.

The joy for Wenger, Arsenal and their fans was fully deserved and this was celebrated in the manner of a landmark victory, which the Gunners will hope it is. Fortune favoured their brave attacking style here and to become the first team to score five goals since Liverpool in December 1989 is a commendable feat.

Temptations to now conclude all is well in Arsenal's world, however, should be strongly resisted. Brilliance in attack papered over gaping cracks in defence, where Per Mertesacker was ponderous and uncertain and Santos looks ill-equipped as a full-back.

Wenger may be able to take action here, though, with Thomas Vermaelen fit again and Laurent Koscielny a sturdy, dependable figure amid the carnage of appalling defending from both teams. It would be no surprise to see the German sidelined if Wenger decides Vermaelen can serve him best in central defence.

Arsenal will gain belief, not simply from victory at a ground where it is never earned cheaply, but from their arrival on the margins of the top four - which in reality must be their stated Premier League aim this season.

For Villas-Boas this was a sobering experience and a second successive league defeat. He said he was proud of his team's style but this merely sounded like another piece of unconvincing Chelsea defending, the sort which has seen them go nine league matches without a clean sheet.

He was right to point to the profligacy of missed chances early on, but Gervinho and Van Persie were also guilty for Arsenal and in the end this wonderful, chaotic game got the winners - and the match-winner - it deserved.


Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    boys against pensioners + 2 officials thoroughly spanked

  • Comment number 2.

    Very entertaining game. As a united supported it comforts me to see we are not the only ones giving up goals at home (though Chelsea certainly attacked well). Also, nice to see Wenger's players repay his faith in them. Well done Arsenal.

    By the way - I can watch JT fall flat on his face all day!:)

  • Comment number 3.

    boas gone by xmas

  • Comment number 4.

    i would like to correct one observation:

    It was a " team " effort !

    and IMO the referee was again an utter disgrace interestingly Boas decides he has nothing to say that his side benefited from some very dubious decisions.

    parts of the game was like watching Cats playing with Mice with the chavs chasing shadows.

    Arsenal march onwards

    No " crisis " at chelsea then phil :)

  • Comment number 5.

    Tactical naivety by AVB, with Ramires and Mikel both gone, the defense was left unprotected (though it was hard to justify Mikel's presence in any case). Terry and Ivanovic also looked off the pace. Good win for the Arsenal.

  • Comment number 6.

    From a neutral that was a genuine pleasure to watch. Shows all the wenger haters exactly why he has faith in his players and his tactics. Hope all the ridiculous anti-wenger fans finally see that a manager doesnt become useless after 14 years. I would love a manager to stay at Leeds for more than a couple of years in a row.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why can't Walcot do that every week, if he did Arsenal would be a force to be reckoned with, you watch next game he will have a shocker.
    Van Persie, wow, what a player he is at the moment. Him, Suarez and Silva are a class above everyone at the moment. I think we have our 2 player of the year contenders already!

  • Comment number 8.

    Oops sorry, we have our 3 player of the year contenders.

  • Comment number 9.

    Great performance from Arselona. Picked off Chelski very well.

  • Comment number 10.

    and IMO the referee was again an utter disgrace interestingly Boas decides he has nothing to say that his side benefited from some very dubious decisions.
    Like the red card not given after Szczhesny chopped down Cole you mean?

    Arsenal fully deserved their victory today, but keep the plot non-fiction there´s a good lad!

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    It was a good game purely because both sides couldnt defend, they werent any great passages of play in the game.

    I always thought that when AVB came in he should have jettisoned Terry, Lampard & Drogba as it would have cleared out their influence in the dressing room. Mourinho's first act at Madrid was to remove Raul, he knew he wasnt good enough anymore & by keeping his in the dressing room would have resulted in plotting against him.

    AVB will now find it difficult to rid his struggling side of these players, Terry's legs have gone, Lampard too & Drogba hasnt been the same since his malaria scare. Boas was hot property in May & when he took the job that is when brave decisions should have been made. Until Chelsea sort out there problems with changing the old guard they wont be the force they were 5-6 years back.

    Sadly I think Cech too is also showing signs of decline, he should have done better with 3 of the goals and just doesnt look as commanding as he once did.

    Arsenal will still win nothing, they are too reliant on van Persie & he just doesnt stay fit for 38 games. They will struggle against teams that put a solid 5 in midfield.

  • Comment number 13.

    @11 - Do me a favour and try watching a game of football. Every game he is a real threat, try looking at his goal midweek and take off you manc glasses.

  • Comment number 14.

    Santos needs to be moved forward. He is rubbish at LB. Ramsay was very impressive too. Gervinho aint good enough. Cech should have done better too on about 3 goals.

  • Comment number 15.

    I meant Ramsay was impressive in the second half.

  • Comment number 16.

    AVB is not a Premiership Manager, this is not the Portuguese League that Porto would attack everybody and traash them, in the first half both teams defending was Suicidal but wenger addressed the issue in the second half while AVB kept the abysmal defending and even removed the cover

  • Comment number 17.

    JT is due a serious fall. I love the way Boas said the issue was over...I am sure the police took that on board and went back to eating pizza.

  • Comment number 18.

    RomanPhilosopher, the point is that despite the fact that sczcesny should have been sent off AVB decided not to complain.

    Great win for Arsenal - just what the team needed. Nothing i enjoy more than seeing that money can't buy ypu happiness.

  • Comment number 19.

    It seems to me the point was that your fellow Arsenal fan was saying Chelsea benefited from several poor decisions. I thought it was therefore worth reminding the poster of that particular incident just to offer a more balanced and objective viewpoint than his own rather blinkered opinion. And yes despite that AVB did not get drawn into making comparisons with decisions made in last weekend´s game against QPR.

  • Comment number 20.

    by midweek you mean Carling Cup

  • Comment number 21.

    Arsenal have only papered over the cracks of their defence. Both full backs were absolutely woeful.

    Chelsea's is not much better, with Asley Cole's form this season, a cause for concern.

    All that today's match highlighted is that neither team is equipped to match the two Manchester sides.

    As for RvP and his contract will Arsenal match the £200,000 a week that Man City could offer him, especially with his injury record.

    A great match for the neutral, but for both sets of supporters, very worrying.

  • Comment number 22.

    @16 - What the hell makes you qualified to say if AVB is a prem manager. The guy is 33 and has won the Portuguess league and cup and the UEFA cup, not bad I would say.

  • Comment number 23.

    As a Chelsea fan I should probably feel disappointed but I don't. Similarly with our game vs Utd there is very little negative to take from the match apart from the result. We created an open, attacking and end to end game. You may claim bias but I think the 2 most entertaining matches so far in the premier league (this season) are Man Utd v Chelsea and Chelsea v Arsenal. Both games had a little bit of everything.

    Both sides defending was suspect. From a defensive point of view I think the positioning from the full backs was just awful. There is a logical explanation for the defensive frailties currently seen in Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal. Utd and Arsenal have rotated their defences so much this season. This due to injuries, poor form and blooding youth. Chelsea are still adapting to AVB's style of play and it will take some time. I only have to remind you of Mourinho's start.

    It is fair to say that either team could have won the game. Chelsea could have killed off the game after about 20 mins. Arsenal could have done the same 20 mins after that. In the end Arsenal deserved the win. They took their chances we didn't. Torres could have had 2 or 3 tap in's with a better ball to him but besides that he didn't really make much of an impact. Poor Sturridge couldn't do anything right. The Arsenal front 3 were sharper and more composed.

    We are always improving and it will take a little more time for us to fully settle under Villas-Boas. We desperately need a ST to hit form. I only found out recently that the ref had got the Szczesny decision wrong. A bit of luck for Arsenal but ultimately Chelsea should have been less wasteful. The ref had a good game otherwise. Against QPR we lost because of wasteful finishing by Anelka and a ridiculous challenge by Drogba while we were down to 10 men. The decisions will go for you and against you. What annoys people is inconsistancy by referees and he was inconsistant in that match (against QPR).

    Final note: Great match, only 3 points but we will probably still get ignorant comments posted.

  • Comment number 24.

    Call me cynical but am I alone in thinkingm having watched it again, that Terry realises that his lack of pace will exposed by RVP and decides to take to ground to cover any embarrassment?

  • Comment number 25.

    @20 - Carling cup against Stoke, what's your point as you haven't actually made a valid one yet!

  • Comment number 26.

    He is rubbish period, only 12% Goal convertion rate which is poor, if i wanted to watch a player that dribbles i'll Watch Quaresma or the portuguese league, Football is about taking chances not Dribbling. Aguero is better, Rooney better, Silver better, even Balotteli and Adam Johnson, Nani better even Young, Mata better, Van Der Vart better, Van Persie better, Even Dzeko, Lampard, i can go on and on. You are just Blinded by his Tricks to see how wastefull he is. You cant Dive your way to Penalties or Red Cards all season, thats why Liverswimmingpool would not get top 4 no win without the Referees help, he has even tought Downing and Chalie Adam how to dive.

  • Comment number 27.

    Paddy Stockwell
    I won´t call you cynical, but after your comment may I call you insane?

  • Comment number 28.


    he got given a yellow card lampard nearly scored from the free kick what more did u want?

    and as for your goal which made it 3-3 with santos clearly flattened? no booking, no free kick and you score.

    level playing field? springs to mind.

  • Comment number 29.

    @26 - wow you really are full of it aren't you. Sounds like you have been reading too many manc and Fergie comments rather than watch games..oh dear treacle, try formating your own opinions

  • Comment number 30.

    level playing field? springs to mind.
    But that is not what you were saying in your earlier post was it? Hence the need to correct your blinkered view

  • Comment number 31.

    I can sort of see why the Arsenal keeper wasn't sent off. As soon as the ref blows for the foul 2 or 3 players were back very quick which could have clouded his judgment....possibly!

  • Comment number 32.

    Its funny how Chelsea fans are taking positives from loosing to ARSENAL at home by 5 goals, thats not Chelsea and AVB does not have time, you dont pay £14M for a coach to finish 3rd or 4th, you pay for him to bring the goodie, his achievements in Porto counts for Nothing even Fulham got to the Europa final yet Hodgson flopped in Liverswimmingpool, Coaching Porto is like Coach Celtic but without a Rival like Rangers, Benefica isnt that much of a Rival. Even i could see how open the game was from the 1st Minute badly needing someone to calm it down. Liverswimmingpool next fo Chelsea, another point dropped.

  • Comment number 33.

    I agree with the general consensus that it was a great match to watch. Lot's of attacking chances, partly due to woeful defending, and partly due to some excellent football. As an Arsenal fan I was impressed with RVP, Koscielny, Walcott and Ramsey. Its a shame we failed to sign Mata though, what a talent.

    But looking forward, I think Arsenal shouldn't get ahead of themselves. Even though this does look good now, not every issue with the squad has been addressed and in season's past that has cost the team. We get a stellar momentary performance to prove the critics wrong but fail to realize that the key issue is still there: poor defense.

  • Comment number 34.


    The foul itself was worthy of a red card,it was still a scoring opportunity and even the GK admitted he was lucky not be sent off.

    But as I said earlier, Arsenal fully deserved their win today and I did not bring it up to try and devalue their performance or result. I brought it up to challenge the rather fantastical claim that Chelsea got the benefit of the ref´s decisions today.

  • Comment number 35.

    One of the best matches I ever saw was a 5-3 Arsenal win, against my team Newcastle at Highbury on an icy pitch on which defenders struggled. Terrific attacking play, former NU hero MacDonald scored a hat-trick. The match was very even and could have gone either way. Even the Geordie fans were elated at the end. 1975-76, I think.

  • Comment number 36.



    fair enough i stand corrected

    and your response to a " level playing field " is ?

    bearing in mind of course one of the manchester clubs would have been very impressed with mariners performance today as it gives them hope the 1-6 mauling was just a blip and with mariner added to their bench to join both webb and clattenburgh red nose's squad rotation will be put to good effect as the season progress's.

  • Comment number 37.

    Pahgy Loves Manchester

    AVB is being paid to transform Chelsea into a more attacking and yes winning team. He is being paid to develop new players and young players and maximise what he can from the more experienced players. The point that has not yet quite got through your skull is that he has more than one season to achieve this.

  • Comment number 38.

    I agree it looked like a foul before Mata scored, so the ref made two big howlers. No surprise there though?

  • Comment number 39.

    @34 - I agree, looking at replays it was a sending off. What I meant was the second(s) after the ref blew for the foul, Arsenal players were back so when the ref has a quick glance he maybe see's that and can't be 100% that the keeper was the last man.

  • Comment number 40.


    did you also notice Webb trying to get AW Booked and sent to the stands

    he was a parrot on Wengers shoulders all match even when not representing the red half of manchester Webb continues to provide as much support as possible to the outcomes in other games.

    and i have to admit it would be folly indeed to write man u of after the 1-6 mauling
    a squad made up of Clattenburgh, Webb, Friend and now Mariner remains a threat.

  • Comment number 41.


    its Abramovic he doent give coaches time to build, he wants to win not become the New arsenal. AVB has to go far in the Champions League or else he would not get a second season. Ancelloti was not given a second chance and he has proved himself as a Top Manager. After all its Chelsea they have sacked Managers that did well, Scolari didnt last a season yet he was attacking minded with beautiful football.

  • Comment number 42.

    Its all ready been made clear by the Chelsea board that AVB will keep his job even if he does not win trophies this season. If it looks like Chelsea won´t qualify for the CL then yes Roman may get trigger happy, but as long as we do at least that this season then AVB will be here next season 100%.

    Scolari did not last because we were not going to qualify for the CL under him.

  • Comment number 43.


    I missed quite a lot mainly because I watching the game with my hands in front of my eyes.

  • Comment number 44.

    Roman, I would ignore Pahgy, it's apparent from this blog and others he has no clue on football and only basis his comments on information fed to him with no real foundation of his own thinking.

  • Comment number 45.

    Roman :

    a big guy like you scared of the boogy men ? surely not :)

    i do have sympathy of course having had to sit and watch us beaten 8-2

    and can i add for the benefit of others as a Gooner I'm not gloating over this victory, i am in fact surprised at the result bearing in mind every sports journalist and pundit had written Arsenals season of .

    i consider therefore i am entitled to be happy

    but, its a fluid situation :)

  • Comment number 46.

    Not sure why everyone, particular Villas-Boas, keep saying John Terry simply slipped, and seem to want to gloss over it as though it was just bad luck.

    Terry didn't "slip", he was done for pace, knew he had Van Persie over his shoulder, and managed to lose his balance trying to get up to speed. It all happened very quickly, but it was a simply case of sub-standard athleticism and poor balance from a supposedly elite footballer.

    This is the same John Terry who once again "slipped" when attempting to convert a Champions League Final winning penalty. Funny how he always seems to "slip" when the pressure's at his highest. He's simply got bad balance, which, as with most flaws, reveals itself when the stakes (and pressure) are at their highest.

  • Comment number 47.

    I think one can blame referees for the amount of goals scored this season. Players are afraid to even breathe on an opposing player in case they get sent off. This season players have been sent off for good tackles that weren't even fouls. I have also noticed a lot of goalkeeping errors, even from some top rated goalies (yes Joe Hart I mean you). So with this combination the goals will flow.

  • Comment number 48.

    Great game to watch, when you have two good attacking teams with lousy defences it's always likely to be entertaining. It should be a good fight between Liverpool and Arsenal for fifth place.

  • Comment number 49.

    So even when he praises Arsenal, McNulty spends half the article going on about Robin van Persie's contract. We get it. For years we have been told that he is crap, but now he isnt and he is our entire team, with only a year and a half on his contract like about 1/4 of all the players in the league.

    But were we not going to find it impossible to compete this year, because we lost Nasri and Fabregas? Seems like we are competing just fine thanks. Excuse me then if I dont think much about your opinion that we wont be able to replace RVP, IF he decides not to sign a contract.

  • Comment number 50.

    The game could literally have been any score line and either team could have ended up winning. The defending was appalling, but Arsenal took their chances really well. Chelsea had some great chances in the first half but the final ball (twice across the box) was wasteful.

    Arsenal defended better in the second half, whereas Chelsea were probably just as bad which is why Arsenal picked up the points

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    Interesting comments all round and it is nice to see Chelsea fans being realistic about the situation and not bitter.

    Phil McNulty who doubtless thought Arsenal would get destroyed still found ways to have a dig at the defense ... despite the fact that 3/4 of the first choice weren´t even playing.

    Arsene signed Mertsacker as the big dominant defender ALL the pundits were saying we needed, and then Arsene gets criticised because he isn´t the quickest. The defending wasn´t so awful today, just one of those games that both teams went out to attack and actually made it enjoyable, shame more teams don´t.

    Great result for Arsenal and a real 2 fingers to those who wrote Wenger off constantly. Arsenal may not win anything, but Chelsea probably won´t either.

    Have to say that Silva and Van Persie are surely up there with Ronaldo and Messi as the world´s best players at the moment, it is just incredible to watch.

    Kudos to Chelsea for a great game played in good spirit, could really have gone either way - but the league has been crazieeeee this year.


  • Comment number 54.

    This was definitely one of best ever matches in the Chelsea v Arsenal rivalry history. Both sides defence were weak and Chelsea's defense was even more exposed than Arsenal's defence. Arsenal finally got their first away win of the season. VNP is Arsenal's best player by far this season and its very important Arsenal keep him fit all season. Arsenal are a completely different team without him. Arsenal better make him sign a new contract soon otherwise he may leave next summer. This result sums up the new premier league season so far, its had loads of goals and poor defending.

  • Comment number 55.


    woeful fullbacks? Djourou is a center back and In Sagna they have the best right back in the league ;) and Andre Santos only joined in the summer, bit more time and he can adapt

  • Comment number 56.

    and the arsenal are back! well, we never left actually, the media (mr. mcnulty included) were just trying to brew a storm in a tea cup...long live the gunners!

  • Comment number 57.

    Firstly, to Pagy love Manchester, I believe you wrote if the Manchester derby didn't finish 2-1 to united you would "post on any BBC blog again". I note that you are back spouting your claptrap less than a week after posting that. I have taken this to mean you are not a man of your word, you don't mean what you write and therefore your opinions will never hold any water with myself again. That is all.

    What a game! As a Gooner, I was on the edge of my seat from about 20 minutes in!

    It could quite easily have finished 4-4 or a Chelsea win, there was very little in it and luckily RVP the player of 2011 was on our side.

    Both us and Chels suffered some strange decisions, Chezzer should have been sent off, and Mata's goal should have been disallowed; but nevertheless these things even themselves out, if not over the course of a game, certainly over the course of a season.

    Torres looked impotent and petulant, which was a shame. Mata is a player I wish Arsenal had paid up and bought, he looks a proper signing. Walcott had one of his better days, I have to say I thought Santos played fairly well too but Mertesacker was all over the shop, thankfully TV will be back soon.

    And it was worth it to see everyone's favourite footballer JT lying face down as Robin danced it round his 'keeper to put us ahead.

    Special mention to the Arsenal away support, fantastic, you make the rest of us proud. I don't understand why everyone is so quiet at the Emirates, whenever I go there if I'm not in the lower tier, everyone around me may as well be studying long division.

    Up the Arsenal!

  • Comment number 58.

    Arsenal without Van Persie = NOTHING.

    Struggle to be a top 6 team without him.
    Good luck after jan transfer window hahahhaha

  • Comment number 59.

    It looked to me that the reason Terry slipped was a very bad pass from Malouda

  • Comment number 60.

    "Arsenal without Van Persie = NOTHING.

    Struggle to be a top 6 team without him.
    Good luck after jan transfer window hahahhaha"

    Troll alert.

  • Comment number 61.

    "miles off the pace as a defender"

    You're having a laugh about Santos, easily a contender for MOTM.

  • Comment number 62.

    worst game of football .none of the players on ground applied their minds, just looking for goals and i dont think with these tactics these teams are going nowhere - champions league will remain elusive

  • Comment number 63.

    Mr McNulty, how on earth are you the chief football writer for the BBC? Winter is just as bad at the Telegraph. It looks as if you hadn't been involved with soccer before. Your insight is so poor. Stop criticising teams and managers as you are not knowledgible enough in the game to offer a learned opinion.
    All you go on about is that van Persie signing as important, as if Arsenal have won nothing in the past without him. He's a great player but instead of looking at the game, you go on about his contract. It's irrelevant. He has 1 and 1/2 years to go and then he'll be thirty. It would be a bad decision on his part if he left at that age. Would not be any good elsewhere as he would have to have time on his side to settle into a new regime and he doesn't have that time.
    Arsenal will have moved on by then and although he would be valuable to have, others may have come in by then. Suggest you just look at the present without eyeballing the future. You find the present difficult enough.

  • Comment number 64.

    Great game, thoroughly entertaining but I still have concerns for us Gooners. LK had a fairly solid game but Mertesacker looks all at sea and so ungainly. I was expecting a brick wall in the centre of defence when he was bought but the wall appears to be made of papier mache.
    And Santos has to be the poorest left back Arsenal have had in my lifetime. I can excuse the odd positional faux pas but he has absolutely no pace. I used to openly criticise Clichy but at least he had speed.
    The qualities and class of RVP have already been exemplified so there is nothing to add there but two other Arsenal players had outstanding games.
    Firstly Theo. To some Walcott is an enigma but over the past 18 months he has matured into an outstanding winger. He still might not always take the best option but his passing and crossing are so much better now and this must be down to the confidence he has gained since becoming a regular on the Arsenal team sheet. Wenger plays him more often than not now.
    But for me the best player on the paddock at Stamford Bridge was Aaron Ramsay. He is turning into the sort of midfield player Arsenal have craved for since the departure of Vieira & the Romford Pele. Intelligent passing, good movement in attacking areas and solid defensively. He seems to be wearing his heart on his sleeve and his desire to perform well is there to see.

    Let's hope this is the catalyst for a concerted push up the table going forward.

  • Comment number 65.

    Did'nt see the game so can't comment...but what the hell is happening?
    My beloved Utd dish Arsenal 8-2..who then get mugged by the bitters 6-1..Now Wengers boys put Chelsea to the sword..and we're still in October!
    Van Persie can do no wrong at the moment,his goals per game is very impressive,but it's only a matter of time until injury strikes the bloke yet again,so if that happens,who else will put the ball away?
    But,credit to Arsenal, who have come back well from the Old T mauling.
    Chelsea seem to be struggling a wee bit at times. The spine of the team are not the lads of 5yrs ago and Father Time and his scythe waits for no man.
    Get the cash flowing again Roman.

  • Comment number 66.

    A great match for the neutral, but for both sets of supporters, very worrying.

    I can assure you that as a gooner who just saw his team win 5-3 away to Chelsea, that I am not worried in the slightest.

    Who should be worried? Try fans of Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan.

  • Comment number 67.

    Mr McNulty, how on earth are you the chief football writer for the BBC?

    A question almost every poster has had at some point ....

  • Comment number 68.

    To the Spurs fan that suggested that Arsenal are going to come fifth, i hope Man City recall Adebayor to spite you xD

  • Comment number 69.

    "....their breaking system had failed so comprehensively...."

    Is that a pun Phil or did you really mean braking...........

  • Comment number 70.

    Some observations (from a gunner's pov):

    1) 99 times out of 100 you would see players who fall near the penalty area stay down, writhing in pretend agony. What a pleasure to see Walcott pick himself up, sidestep a couple, and score so emphatically. More of that please!

    2) I also lost count of the decent centres Walcott managed in this game ... probably more than in his entire career! WD.

    3) I don't think Terry would have reached that backpass even if he had stayed on his feet. He'd probably have been left with dragging down RvP as his only option ... and a red card for sure. I'm not sure that wouldn't have pleased me more!

    4) I see Cech is still wearing headgear. I know he had a bad head knock, but that was ages ago. It tells me he's lacking confidence.

    5) Anyone else noticed how well Rosicky is playing in the limited opportunities he's had this season?

    6) Mertesacker, just another white man who can't jump? Nor can he run for that matter.

    7) Koscielny seems a vastly improved player this season. I take back my demand for two quality CBs, perhaps we only need one.

    8) Song is still giving away far too many stupid free kicks in dangerous areas. Anyone else thinking Vermaelen should play the midfield holding role? Where he could also help out his CBs as required - until we buy another quality one.

    9) Gervinho, another Chamakh? One act of unselfishness (RvP's goal) doesn't excuse the number of cheap giveaways.

    10) Never mind Clapton, RvP is God right now. 28 goals in his past 27 Premier league matches ... is that humanly possible in this day and age??

  • Comment number 71.

    We are seeing some very entertaining games already this season and as Mourinho would say a 'Hockey Score'. This game could have gone either way with so many defensive mistakes and some clinical finishing, it was both entertaining for neutrals and a emotional roller coaster for fans. Still after Malouda's error and RVP's finish Chelsea could have got back in it it was that close, I think that in the end Chelsea are struggling to adapt to a different style, the high line is simply suicidal for many teams and some of their players likes Torres are just not performing.

    The way Chelsea set out it very much allowed Arsenal to utilize their superior pace but errors at the back allowed Chelsea back into the game.
    Arsenal and Chelsea are going through a transition but I think Wenger has done a goodjob patching things together after a tough summer and worst start of a season ever although the players deserve alot of credit for their their fighting spirit, it is bizarre that this same team lost 4-3 to Blackburn not long ago.
    Chelsea are transitioning to a more open attacking style except AVB is young manager still learning the trade, he needs to know that he must tweak his philosophy to fit the players if it does not suit the current players as there hasn't been quite a overhaul of the squad yet.
    I don't think both look like title contenders though, I feel in terms of stability and quality the Manchester clubs have set the standard so far and the fight for 4th is going to be a close one. The January window will be quite important for some clubs it's not too far away especially with a international break delaying the ongoing seasons.

  • Comment number 72.

    @sirHellsBells - "arsenal still won't win anything though".

    Except perhaps a glorious victory at Stamford Bridge against all the odds, in defiance of every pundit and forum troll plodding around the place. Ha ha. We'll take it, smile and move forward. Looking more like Chelsea in crisis rather than Arsenal now. But of course you won't hear it. It's much more fun heaping rubbish on a team striving for attractive football without comparable, infinite resources, yet still competing for everything, right?

  • Comment number 73.

    Phil, go on say it: Chelsea in Crisis. Go on Phil, you know you can, even if you don't want to. Chelsea in crisis. Let's capture headlines, and set the world media on a Villas-Boas blitz. Yeah, that'll learn em.

    Arsenal. Arsenal. Arsenal.

  • Comment number 74.

    @Oskar_the_dog - bit harsh on Song. Always among our best. Gritty performances and if we could defend set pieces better, his doggedness in those areas would be praised rather than criticised. Not his fault Per can't jump, as you rightly said. Put Thomas in DM and you lose him at the back. Players keeping their feet.... Ramsey also did in the box when Cashely tried to bring him down. Legend.

  • Comment number 75.

    @ 72 "yet still competing for everything, right?"

    deja vu? HAHAHA thank you for that

  • Comment number 76.

    Walcott may have impressed capello but what about the ineptness of terry and cole. Seems u let them off lightly here . Along with an ageing Ferdinand ,England's defence looks like a disaster waiting to happen.

  • Comment number 77.

    John terry is over rated by british journalists.It was laughable the way some journalists launched a propaganda to have him reinstated as captain.Capello should drop him from the team forever

  • Comment number 78.

    standupforthechampions wrote:
    Walcott may have impressed capello but what about the ineptness of terry and cole. Seems u let them off lightly here . Along with an ageing Ferdinand ,England's defence looks like a disaster waiting to happen.


    Agreed. That's why its time for England to move on especially as the last generation has not exactly delivered. Unfortunately, like with Beckham, we're going to have to watch Terry, Lampard, Ferdinand, Gerrard and Cole all play internationals for another 4 or 5 years because no-one in charge will stand up to them.

    Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Keiran Gibbs, Martin Kelly, Kyle Walker, Ryan Shawcross, Leighton Baines, Micah Richards... these are the players England's defence should be built upon.

  • Comment number 79.

    Have to say it was a masterstroke by Wenger, making RVP captain after Cesc. Of course there have been exceptions, for example Shearer but strikers for several reasons, rarely make good captains.

    He has taken to the role, accepted the responsibility and on the pitch he leads by example. He looks like he is enjoying the added responsibility and I think players are responding to him. The only thing he has to do now, is stay fit.

    It's hard to say how good Arsenal actually are right now but one thing is a certainty, they are nowhere near as bad as many scribes have made them out to be in recent months. I do believe they need two or three players whose skills are defense minded rather than attacking.

  • Comment number 80.

    john terry did not slip, he realised he wasn't going to catch RvP and decided to go to ground. it was so clumsy that I'm surprised people are trying to pass it off as a slip. not too shocked though I must admit, whenever Arsenal win the media are always trying to find excuses why that happened or what was not right with the gunners performance, sad.

    I'm not going to allow myself to be sucked into pointless wallowing about the negatives from this game, instead I'll savour this famous win from a team that was deemed not good enough to finish in top 8 because of their 'dreadful' start to the season despite that their first 3 games of the season they'd played with 10 men.
    Come on gunners!

  • Comment number 81.

    This is already one crazy PL season! Arsenal hammered in a ten goal game, United hammered in a seven goal game, Chelsea hammered in an eight goal game and all in matches featuring our CL teams. That's 25 goals in the three Top Four matches so far. When will City get their thrashing?

  • Comment number 82.

    May I add if Arsenal were that rubbis as the media would like us believe how come they have been doing so well in the champions league? It's all exaggerated to have an effect on the team, just as much as RvP's contract is being made, or how 'poor' Metersacker is being made out. We can see through it all....

  • Comment number 83.

    @63: Mr McNulty, how on earth are you the chief football writer for the BBC?

    Thats bcos most at BBC are anti Arsenal (Chris Bevan was focussed whole day on labelling Arsenal as one man team)...and Phil hates Arsenal the he is chief. I can't think of the any other reason.

  • Comment number 84.

    Great Arsenal win, in a very entertaining game and Chelsea definitely played their part. Towards the end no one could have predicted how it would go, but there was one bonus for Arsenal fans yesterday, and that was Torres on instead of Drogba. Torres played like a joke and his price tag is even more laughable when compared to Van Persie. Drogba would have caused us problems and always plays his best against us.

    Keep the faith and support coming Gunners, we are on the way up! ;)

    P.S. Can always watch terry's slip, and Van the man rounding Cech! :)

  • Comment number 85.

    Was it not a couple of weeks ago they were written off as rubbish? Why can't a good club with lots of history have a bad start without it being a "crisis"

    Either team good enough to win the PL? Not a's going to Manchester!

  • Comment number 86.

    Superb entertainment.

    Whilst it is a blessed relief to Arsenal climb back into contention for a top 4 place I still have little faith in the club making the right moves in January and next summer to balance the squad. Last summers transfer dealings were so incompetent and following the AGM there is no reason to suspect the next transfer window will be any different. Only Arteta was really worth the money. Mertesacker and Gervinho are not up to it. Is the club going to sign the quality centre half and striker we need? or just a couple more cut price signings from the reduced to sell shelf? Will we get down to business when the window opens and make a bold confident move or will we dither, reportedly linked with every player in the french league and then panic buy on the last day? I know where my money is.

  • Comment number 87.

    Hey Phil, how come your first match report said Terry headed the ball for the goal. Don't they replay the goals on the screens at Stamford Bridge?

  • Comment number 88.

    I like the dramatic approach you portray Phil, that AW was going for broke with a win or bust mentality but not sure if that was actually the case.
    Chelsea had an off day, just like Arsenal did at Old Trafford. On another day it coud have gone another way. But I agree that Arsenals desire to attack was almost breathtaking at times especially considering that Chelsea looked likely to cut them to ribbons at any time.
    In the end - Arsenals's day and I hope they dont get too cocky but just keep steadily moving on.
    After performances like this, all the "get-rid-of Wenger" advocates will crawl back in their holes!

  • Comment number 89.

    "Arsenal will still win nothing, they are too reliant on van Persie & he just doesnt stay fit for 38 games."

    Name a Premier League striker that does stay fit for 38 games. They get roughed up as much and as often as the referees allow, and in England that's quite a bit. The real point is how good is a striker when he is fit. Van Persie is top class.

    "They will struggle against teams that put a solid 5 in midfield."

    Like Stoke a week ago? Remind me, how did nine men behind the ball work out for them?

    Otherwise it's the same partisan sniping, isn't it?

    And the writer sticks to the tried and true Arsenal narrative - crisis apparently still sells. 30% of the column writing about the fact that it doesn't suit van Persie - and it shouldn't - to stop now and fix his price for the future. How is it the club's fault that a player whose value rises by the match won't commit to a price almost sure to be too low if he stays healthy? His agent would be shot if he let that happen.

    It doesn't matter if Arsenal win anything. It sticks in a few craws, but Wenger's made his point. He still knows how to manage.

  • Comment number 90.

    #88 one swallow doesn't make a summer.

    I for one still firmly believe that AW is not a very good manager. He is without doubt a world class coach at getting a team and indiidual players to play one very particular, predictable, style of football but as a manager looking at the wider skill set that role demands, he is average at best. Arsenal will never challenge consistently for the PL and CL with him at the helm. To be fair he is stuck with a totally useless Chief Exec in Gazidis.

  • Comment number 91.

    Am an African, i played football to a certain level and believe me i know football better than most of you English fans. am an arsenal fan yes, but i don't like sentiments in football. football is football no matter who's teams is involved. For me the most important thing in a football match is entertainment and This very match is just all about it.

    Phil, good to see you write something positive about arsenal this season.

    No complain.

  • Comment number 92.

    So it is looking like a 4 horse race for 3rd &4th . With due apologies to newcastle

  • Comment number 93.

    talkagoodgame -

    It seems you are a 'half empty glass' type of bloke, and your statement that Wenger is a bad manager is completely off the mark, as he could walk into most top clubs in the world if he wanted to, but luckily he doesn't, and is happy at Arsenal. Please remember this is the same bad manager that has won us many trophies! The rules of football have changed, and you are playing against teams that have huge unlimited resources, please bear this in mind. We should only spend within our means, and I for one applaud Arsenal and Arsene for this stance.

  • Comment number 94.

    POW - Right in the kisser wrote:
    Firstly, to Pagy love Manchester, I believe you wrote if the Manchester derby didn't finish 2-1 to united you would "post on any BBC blog again". I note that you are back spouting your claptrap less than a week after posting that. I have taken this to mean you are not a man of your word, you don't mean what you write and therefore your opinions will never hold any water with myself again. That is all.

    So 1 week exile is not enough? i think eating my words was enough punishment and the 1 week exile too.

  • Comment number 95.

    I see Cech is still wearing headgear. I know he had a bad head knock, but that was ages ago. It tells me he's lacking confidence.
    He has to wear the headgear. The medical advice clearly stated he must always wear it and as a result no insurance company will cover him if he plays without it.

    Now VDV has left he is the best GK in the league, not a great game for him yesterday, but he is a top class keeper, if you don´t believe me,ask the Everton fans who were at Goodison last Wednesday.

  • Comment number 96.

    Terry didn't "slip", he was done for pace, knew he had Van Persie over his shoulder, and managed to lose his balance trying to get up to speed.
    Hmmm I would suggest the pass back from Malouda was the main issue here, it was simply dreadful.

  • Comment number 97.

    @90 No one will challenge consistently for the PL unless they match the spending in Manchester, and in Europe the money is in Munich, Paris(PSG) and Spain. You won't find a manager with Wenger's budget outperform him. Watch Spurs and Liverpool try.

  • Comment number 98.

    WHy is everyone slating Santos and Mertesacker? They just arrived, what, a month ago? I remember last season everyone was slating Dzeko but look at his production this season. You have to give players time to adapt. Please. This is the problem we have today: instant gratification. Not every player will be an Aguero! I have followed Santos' career and I do admit he is a better left winger than left back but that does not mean he is shocking. Some games, players just get beat! Maicon got schooled by Bale, but does that make Maicon a bad right back? No.

    As an Arsenal fan, great win. Our defense was nervous in the beginning, but in 2nd half, Song stayed home and they stabilized. They got beat only by a masterstroke of a goal from Mata. I personally believe the "woeful" defending tag was gone in the 2nd half..we were very good defensively. And hats off to Koscielny...that lad is improving game after game!!!!

    Anyway, great win for us. Moving on up!

  • Comment number 99.

    I see phil doesnt like my Liverswimmingpool bashing, well you keep writing about United and Arsenals Defense but Chelsea is worse, conceded in 9 consecutive game with all thier defenders FIT, United where without Vidic, Raphael and now Smalling but we coped, Arsenal without Vermalen, Sagna, Gibbs and coped but Chelsea are still open with Terry, Luiz, A Cole, Bosingwa, Ivanovic and co FIT, so what would happen if Terry or A Cole get injured? bad runs is what i foresee

  • Comment number 100.

    Roman, whether AVB should get time and whether he will are two different things. I think the majority of people think he should get time, as I think most people thought Ancelotti was owed a season to put things right. But I see no evidence that Mr Abramovic is anything but trigger happy. True, Bruce Buck has said that AVB will get time. But he is not the man in control and unfortunately the owner has form, and so while I admire and agree with your stout defence of AVB, I do not share your view that he will be given time if Chelsea do have anything but a good measure of success this season.
    On the game, essentially AW got lucky in that he has a player like Robin Van Persie who is top drawer and that AVB has yet to sort out Chelsea's defence (personally Bosingwa and Terry would be dropped in favour of Luiz and an alternative). This meant that Arsenal's lesser attacking players (Walcott, Ramsey, Gervinho), who are generally shut out against better sides, were able to run riot. Arsenal deserved the victory, but I would still bank on Chelsea being higher placed come the end of the season, and they themselves will fall short of the title.


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