Arsenal were defeated for the first time this season as Chelsea came away with a 1-2 victory at The Emirates. Arsene Wenger opted for Laurent Koscielny ahead of Per Mertesacker, despite the German’s excellent performance against Manchester City the preceding weekend and it soon became apparent that it was a mistake from the Frenchman. Chelsea took the lead when Fernando Torres connected with a cute volley from a Juan Mata cross, but that lead was not to last as Arsenal’s Gervinho fired home before the break to level things at one apiece.
Yet more shaky defending did for Arsenal as Laurent Koscielny failed to deal with Juan Mata’s in-swinging free-kick which deceived Vito Mannone to give Chelsea the lead. Despite chances including a well saved header from Lukas Podolski and two missed opportunities from Olivier Giroud Chelsea held on to win. We take a look at how the defeat emphasised the growing importance of Per Mertesacker to the Gunners squad.
Jack Wilshere has played for the first time in 14 months with an hour’s display against West Brom in the under-21 Premier League. The England international, 20, has struggled with a series of injuries to his foot, knee and ankle but now is on a steady road to recovery after this turn-out, despite Arsenal being gunned down 1-0 by The Baggies.
Dusan Basta has been linked with a January move from Udinese to Arsenal. The Serbian, who can play anywhere along the back line has been linked with shoreing up Arsenal’s defence a they look to push for elusive silverware this season.
As Vito Mannone lays a claim to number-one-jersey at Arsenal another man coveting Wojciech Szczesny’s first-team standing is young Argentine Damian Martinez. The 20-year-old made his debut in the recent 6-1 thrashing of Coventry in the League Cup. He hopes that earning a spot in the Arsenal first team could one day see him earn his spurs at international level for Argentina.
Andy Carroll is likely to start against Arsenal this weekend. The on-loan West Ham striker has not played since picking up a knock on his debut against Fulham but the Liverpool farmed Geordie features against QPR in Monday Night football and be available for selection for the Game with the Gunners which could see a recall for Per Mertesacker.
Kieran Gibbs is pleased he has managed to stay fit long enough to have an extended run in the first team. The young full-back has struggled with injuries ever since breaking into the first team but has been an ever present in The Gunners promising start to the campaign and feels this is finally the year he gets his career of the projected path.
John Terry has got used to having his handshakes ignored but he was left hanging in an all new embarrassing fashion this weekend as Arsenal’s mascot Gunnersaurus left his hand dangling in the air at The Emirates before the game with Chelsea. The mischievous mascot had already shook his hand earlier in the day but it is not known how John Terry took the latest blanking.
Arsenal Ladies have shown the men once again how it is done as they secured their ninth title in a row. After closest rivals Birmingham drew earlier in the day the title was already sewn up before a ball had been kicked in their game against Doncaster Belles, which they won 3-2 with Kelly Smith among the scorers.
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image: © Ronnie Macdonald