21 August 2005

Chelsea - Arsenal Liveblogging

FINAL: Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal. Drogba turned out to be the difference, though not on a counter as I suspected. As in the Shield, Arsenal had a lot of half-chances but couldn't make anything count.

The report on Ljungberg is a recurrence of his calf injury. Doesn't sound bad, but still he went off on the stretcher. I wish he could have continued; his fight would have served the Gunners well.

Fulham next weekend. We'd better do a job on them.

90+2: One last run forward for the Gunners. Chelsea are able to counter and Senderos makes a meal of the header back.... but Lehmann saves the shot.

90+1: A card for Senderos, for a shove on Drogba. Chelsea go straight for the corner.

89 min: Cole loses posession and takes a frustrated kick at Essien, earning a card for his trouble. The Gunners look more frustrated than fiery, which I hate to see. 3 additional minutes.

87 min: Arsenal working hard but Chelsea have 10 behind the ball; it'll take something amazing to break through now. The Gunners are starting to look a bit desperate.

85 min. Del Horno wasting time by going down on the side. Arsenal brings off Fabregas in favor of Flamini.

84 min: Toure finds Henry, with time to turn, but his shot is straight at Cech.

77 min: Tough shot for Henry takes an awkward bounce; Cech has to put it out for a corner. The short corner comes to nothing and Chelsea break. Gallas has an open look at goal from 30 yards and takes a hard shot, but Lehmann makes the easy catch save.

76 min: Yellow card for Makalele, as van Persie tries to break free on the counter.

73 min: GOAL 1-0 Chelsea. Quick free kick finds Drogba in the box, and he muscles past Senderos and shoves the ball past Lehmann.

An ugly goal but it still counts. I thought Drogba was offsides but I'll need to look again. We'll see if the Gunners can find an answer.

72 min: Hell of a run from Toure, cutting past and making a dangerous cross, similar to the one that Freddie fired last week. This time, van Persie can't hold it.

70 min: Giberto gets a header from van Persie's long free-kick; it's on target but an easy save for Cech.

68 min: The game is heating up; I think neither team is content to take a point just yet. Good back and forth.

67 min: Hard work from Pires wins a corner off Del Horno, who takes some time getting up. Long corner from van Persie is collected by Cech.

66 min: Long ball finds Wright-Phillips, who fires in a dangerous cross for Drogba, but Lehmann calmly collects.

64 min: Nice work from van Persie to win a great cross on the left. But nobody is home to collect. It does win Arsenal a corner however. That one's out, and a second is taken short to Cesc; the shot is blocked.

63 min: It's become a very cagey match. Both teams are still attacking, but they're being quite patient about it. I'd still be surprised to see it end 0-0, but it's looking a lot more likely that in the first 20 min.

59 min: Gudjohnsen off, Essien on. Guess we'll see how match-fit he is. Also Wright-Phillips on for Robben.

58 min: Drogba again, beating the trap, but he shoots quickly and scoffs his shot.

55 min: Long ball finds Drogba in a dangerous position, but Senderos recovers quite well to clear the danger. Good ball from the kid.

54 min: Nice ball from Cole, but Henry mishits.

53 min: More Arsenal posession around the 20-yard box, ending with a confused shot/cross from Cesc. You can smell Chelsea trying to draw the Gunners in.

50 min: van Persie loses posession on the box and makes a silly foul on Duff. Gallas tries to start something but Robin simply stands his ground; Gallas gets a yellow for his trouble. The foul was silly but good to see the kid recover his composure.

48 min: Chelsea seem willing to give a lot of posession to Arsenal. I think they're definitely looking for the counter. It'll be interesting to see if the tactics pay, or if Arsenal are able to strike first.

46 min: Drogba in for Crespo. Crespo is a good player but I don't think he's the man for the counterattack style that suits this game. Drobga will be a bigger challenge there; we'll see how often Chelsea can get him the ball.

HALFTIME. 0-0. The first 15 minutes were really fiery football, back and forth. The game inevitably settled after that. Chelsea had more of the pressure, but the Arsenal defense has done well so far, and in particular Jens Lehmann has done some good work. Arsenal have had their pressure too. Typically for them, they've not put many shots on goal but have been able to hold lots of posession around the box. Cole had a penalty claim around 15 min, but I don't think there was quite enough to it. Close, though.

It's quite disappointing to see Ljungberg off the field, particularly because he'd played well in the season so far. But he already made a key impact with his clearance off the line. Hopefully it's nothing serious, but I do worry.

45+2: Lehmann comes waaaay out to claim from Crespo, but does a nice job of it. Back the other way, and Pires has a decent look at goal, pushing it wide left.

43 min: Close, too close. A bit of chaos in the Arsenal box, but Lehmann makes a nice save on Robben, and the defense does enough to clear after a couple anxious seconds.

40 min: Extended posession from Chelsea, but Arsenal are able to keep it contained fairly well. Now Arsenal hold, but aren't able to get near goal.

35 min: Bad ball from Lampard. He's not been as sharp as usual. Could change in a hurry though.

33 min: Arsenal corner, Lampard makes a meal of it. Another... and Eidur puts it out. Third... finally cleared after Senderos is upended looking for the header.

31 min: Dangerous from Senderos... that header could have easily looped over Lehmann. Worked out OK though.

23 min: Not good to see Ljungberg still favoring his knee. Seems like they may bring in van Persie instead. Too bad, Freddie was key to the early moments of the game.

20 min: The game has slowed a bit, but it's still good football; both teams are changing things up and looking for the goal. I can't believe we'll end up 0-0 like last year.

17 min: nice tackle from Toure to save the breakaway. Followed by nice work to strip the ball from Crespo.

12 min: Oooh! Great turn from Hleb, nice pass from Henry, and Ljungberg came awfully close. Nice work, but needed a better finish.

8 min: Wow, risky play from Cech, almost took it out of the area. The foul on Henry saved him. Not what you usually see from Cech.

7 min: Looks like Robben is adding a weave up top. Good for him.

5 min: Some nice movement from Arsenal. They're bringing some threat too. Hleb could bring an interesting new dimension to their attack today.

1 min: Crap! Hate to see that kind of early pressure. Nice play from Lehmann though. Also a nice clear off the line from Freddie. Jaysus.

0958: Love to see that legend: "Starting in 1:18" on the TV. Let's get going!

0951: Lineups:

Arsenal: Lehmann; Cole, Senderos, Toure, Lauren; Gilberto, Fabregas, Hleb, Ljungberg, Pires; Henry. (Hmm.)

Chelsea: Cech; Del Horno, Gallas, Ferreira, Terry; Duff, Lampard, Makalele, Robben; Gudjohnsen, Crespo.

I'm a bit worried that Arsenal look to be using the 4-5-1 they used in the FA Cup final. But then again, Henry is a more dangerous threat than Bergkamp. We'll see.

0945: It's pretty interesting to see what'll happen with the game. I don't think either team will expect anything like the Community Shield. In fact, it'll be interesting to see how similiar the teams are to the ones that started that game. I wouldn't be surprised to see 3 or 4 new faces from the Chelsea side of two weeks ago.

Arseblog called for a Henry - van Persie partnership up front for Arsenal, and I can support that. The boy is incredibly efficient, putting away a high percentage of his strikes. We'll need some of that today.

0935: $19.95 for the Pay Per View. I don't mind the money, but it's depressing not to have a destination for the game, to watch with others, now that Rob And Jay's chippy has closed.

0932: I'm on the first cup of coffee and pretty wound up for the game. We'll try the liveblogging... maybe just hitting key points. Don't know that I can type and watch at the same time.

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