What can we say? Two games against our two main rivals and we come out with two wins , not half bad eh? The first game, a potential title decider vs Manchester City, showed two teams with possibly the two strongest line-up's in the league. In a fraught game Chelsea and City were very evenly matched, but the extra commitment shown by Chelsea, and in particular Fernando Torres, was enough to see them win 2-1 against their biggest title rivals.
Now Chelsea had a problem, each and every player on the pitch vs Manchester City had given their all and would surely be too drained of energy to play against Arsenal in 48 hours. In his pre-match press conference confirmed that he would make plenty of changes for the game against Arsenal and he stuck by his word when the team sheet was released an hour before kick off. In total he had made 10 changes, only centre back Gary Cahill remained. However this was by no means a weak Chelsea side with players such as veteran keeper Schwazer, David Luiz, Juan Mata and Samuel Eto'o all starting.
The game began with complete and utter domination by Chelsea, for the first 10 or 15 minutes Arsenal rarely touched the ball as Chelsea dominated possession with good passing. Arsenal were playing like the away team and Chelsea were passing well and beginning to create chances. Just as Arsenal appeared to be settling into the game and keeping the ball much better, Chelsea's goal came.
Arsenal won a corner but a poor delivery, which didn't beat the head of the first man, allowed Eto'o to pick the ball up on the edge of the box. Chelsea straight away committed players to the counter attack and Eto'o picked out Willian who had been full of running since kick off. Willian ran unchallenged to the half way line where Arsenal left back Monreal came to close him down. Willian spotted Essien next to him making a good run and decided to play the pass rather than try and beat the man. Essien took a heavy touch which meant he just stook a leg out and kicked the ball toward the Arsenal goal. Arsenal right back Jenkinson got a block on the ball and sent it looping into the air, he followed the ball back and jumped for the header on edge of his own box. However he mis-hit the header back to his keeper and produced barely any power, this allowed Azpilicueta who had run some 70 yards down the field to chase the loose header. He beat on rushing Arsenal keeper Fabianski to the ball to prod the ball into the bottom corner, before jumping up to celebrate his first ever Chelsea goal in front of the 9,000 fans who had made the short trip North to watch the blues play. Azpilicueta finished his goal with aplomb and showed the predatory instinct of a striker.
This goal kicked Arsenal into life, a few minutes later a mistake by the goal scorer allowe Monreal to hit a shot from the edge of the box, however it was always heading wide. Arsenal started to hold onto the ball without really creating many chances, they also looked very vulnerable to the pace of the Chelsea counter attack. The half ended with Arsenal beginning to look more composed but Chelsea still by far and away the most likely team to score.
After the break Arsenal continued to push for an equaliser, but it was Chelsea who had the first sight of goal as new boy Samuel Eto'o curled a shot from 20 yards just wide of the post. Arsenal responded with two shots in quick succession, both from the in-form Ramsey. His first shot from inside the box took three deflections off of Chelsea players before rolling out for a corner, his second from just outside the penalty area drifted just wide of Schwarzer's left hand post. Arsene Wenger could see his side were lacking a killer blow so he brought on Giroud and Ozil whilst the woeful Bendtner was dragged off. These subs could have swung the game in Arsenal's favour but just a few minutes later they were left with a mountain to climb as Mata scored his first goal of the season to wrap the game up.
A simple throw-in on the left had side by Bertrand was flicked toward the edge of the box by Eto'o, Willian jumped with his man and headed the ball Back to Mata who was 20 yards out on the edge of the box. His first touch with his left foot was exquisite and set him up perfectly for the shot on his right food. How swung his foot and connected perfectly with the ball sending it flying past the diving Fabianski. Mata had been superb all game and this goal was just another word in the ear of Mourinho when he thinks about his starting 11 for the game on Saturday against Newcastle.
Arsenal had really given up the ghost and the game drifted by. A decent shot from 8 yards by Giroud, from a tight angle, was comfortably saved. Ramires then had his shot cleared off the line by Koscielny, some good quick passing down the Chelsea right involving the ever growing Willian allowed Ramires to run in and use his pace to outrun the defender only to his shot from an impossible angle just cleared by Koscielny. The Chelsea fans, who had outsung their North London rivals were in fine voice in the last minute as Chelsea secures their place in the last 8.
Chelsea now look ahead to a tough game against a struggling Newcastle at St James' Park on Saturday.