Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Premier League: Sloppy Arsenal fall to Chelsea

Everton 1-2 Swansea City
A rough first half was enough to doom Everton into a rather ugly loss. Tim Howard conceded a penalty in the 16th minute to set the tone early. Gylfi Sigurdsson converted from the spot to make it official. The Toffees did equalize through an own goal off of Jack Cork, but they were unable to enjoy the even keel for long. Andre Ayew got the Swans back on top on the 34th minute and they would hold that lead for the duration dealt increased pressure by the home team. Of Everton's 18 shots, only two made it on target and none found the goal. The win moves Swansea four points clear of safety while Everton is stuck in 12th with no real prospects for anything this season.

Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea
We finish with what was supposed to be the crown jewel of the weekend. It was ruined by a nit picky red card in the 18th minute against Per Mertesacker. His slide challenge may have clipped Diego Costa, who was the last man through on goal, but the contact was minimal at best. Costa sold it by flopping to the turf as he usually does. In response, Arsene Wenger brought on Gabriel, the defender who deserved a red card inn the last Arsenal-Chelsea showdown, for Olivier Giroud, essentially ending any chance Arsenal has of mounting a sustained attack. Not that they were able to produce one anyway. The opening 20 minutes featured done of the sloppiest play we have seen from the Gunners all year long. To add further insult, Costa flicked home Chelsea's opening goal five minutes later.

Chelsea backed off on the attack in the second half and decided to defend against Arsenal's lifeless attack. In order to spark something up front, Arsenal brought on Alexis Sanchez, who has been out with injury since before the new year. It didn't help. Chelsea's defense shell ave Arsenal's manpower disadvantage were simply too much for the home team to overcome.

Arsenal got what they deserved. They were sloppy with their passes. They were sloppy on defending and it led to a red card (one that probably could have only been a yellow without any complaints). By the time they gained some composure, it was too late. Leicester are on top. Arsenal drop to third behind Manchester City on goal difference. And Chelsea are a little bit further away from relegation, but not significantly closer to Europe.

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