Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2

Laurent Koscielny continues to be a player who can exhilarate and frustrate in equal measure. His two defensive relapses against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday unfortunately served as another reminder of what Koscielny is capable of doing, and before anyone points out his leveller against Manchester City last week, we must remind ourselves that at 1-1 in that match, he almost gifted Sergio Aguero the winner with yes you guessed it, another poor defensive clear out which the disbelieving Argentine hit wide. Fernando Torres was gifted the opener with Koscielny looking the other way from a free-kick, and although Gervinho equalised with a well taken strike, the unfortunate France defender got a touch on Juan Mata’s free -kick to deflect Chelsea’s second beyond the exposed Vito Mannone. Now in now 16 years in charge at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger was furious at the calamitous defending.

They had three shots on target and scored two goals, from soft set-pieces. Defensively we were just not at the level you have to be in a game like that “- Wenger

We should have not lost that game - Wenger - Listen

 

” We did not attack the ball, on either goal. The difference between Chelsea on set-pieces and us was the way they were in the air – it was obvious today. Every time you are behind in a big game you have 65 per cent of chances to win the game. We came back last week and did so again today, but then straight away gave away another goal again. It is impossible because you have to take all the risks and open yourself up. You play against good players and they can hit you on the counter-attack. That is where we were not at the level.”

Wenger was hampered in his plans with an early injury to Abou Diaby who faces another 3 weeks on the sidelines with a hip injury. So imperious at Anfield, Diaby was a big miss for the Gunners. Chelsea enjoyed midfield possession when it mattered and also had Petr Cech to thank for the result.The Czech Republic ‘ keeper saved from substitute Olivier Giroud’s deflected effort and Lukas Podolski’s header which seemed destined for the net. There would be one final chance for the Gunners but with fellow substitute Theo Walcott open and screaming for a square pass, Giroud having nipped round Cech hit the side netting with the open goal in front of him to Wenger’s visible annoyance.

” It was a top chance, and Cech kept them in the game as well on many occasions. He had an outstanding game. I feel we played against a good team, but we gave the game away. They had three shots on target and scored two goals, from soft set-pieces. Defensively we were just not at the level you have to be in a game like that, which is where we were punished today. For the rest, we have shown quality and spirit but we have to show more personality and authority on the goals we conceded, ” continued Wenger, who defended his decision to leave Per Mertersacker on the bench despite Arsenal’s good defensive record prior to the Blues’ loss.

” That is a decision which was based on the opposition we played. You can say it was a wrong one maybe, but I believe is a lowering the quality of the players who played, they are internationals. If you do not play Koscielny or Vermaelen and cannot win the game, you will ask me the same question. Nobody can play all the games, it is simple.” reasoned Wenger.

His assistant Steve Bould looked mortified at the ease with which the Gunners’ defence was twice breached. His message to defend as a unit needs to be re-informed and quickly. Arsenal next face West Ham at Upton Park, followed by a trip to Norwich with QPR at home, then a trip to Manchester United. Two further London derbies against Fulham then Spurs at the Emirates after that. With that run of fixtures, the immediacy finding the solutions to the Arsenal defence becomes wholly apparent.