Gunners and Blues fire Blanks
Written By: Robert Halter
It was contrasting fortunes for both clubs going into the Saturday lunchtime clash between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in April, as the Gunners suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Wigan Athletic in their last outing while the Blues were playing on the back of a 1-0 aggregate win over Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi final but goal scorer Didier Drogba was missing for the Arsenal match through injury as sixth placed Chelsea trailed the Gunners by seven points, who remained in third position prior to the London derby. On six minutes, Tomas Rosicky tested Petr Cech with a low long range drive from outside the box. A clear cut chance fell to Robin Van Persie on fourteen minutes, when he clipped the outside of the right post from Theo Walcott’s free kick following a foul by Michael Essien on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. On forty two minutes, Arsenal hit the woodwork again from a free kick when Van Persie put the ball in for Laurent Koscielny, who crashed a header against the crossbar, after John Terry’s challenge on Oxlade-Chamberlain had been penalised. The Gunners pressed forward just before the break, when Alex Song picked out Van Persie, who from the left side of the penalty box, drove the ball against Cech’s body. In an evenly contested second half, Arsenal had a penalty appeal turned away after Van Persie dropped to the ground when being challenged by Gary Cahill in the area, with less than ten minutes of normal time remaining. Van Persie then struck the ball wide from an acute angle, after being supplied with a long ball from Bacary Sagna. On eighty seven minutes, a close range block by Cech, kept out Van Persie again, following Gervinho’s trickery in the box but despite the Gunners attacking options it was matched by a strong Blues defensive display as honours ended all square.