Chelsea kept their 10 point lead over Arsenal intact with a 0-0 draw at the Emirates. The Blues had several penalty appeals turned down during the game, and eventually had to settle for a point that moves them ever closer to securing the title. With five games left, it looks impossible for Chelsea to blow that 10 point lead.
This looks like a point gained when you take a look at the starting 11. Coming into the game Jose Mourinho wasn’t able to start with any of his recognised strikers, as they were all struggled with injury. Diego Costa and Loic Remy were both out, with Didier Drogba only fit enough for the bench. Oscar played up front as a false nine, which gave the visitors limited options going forward.
It’s not hard to imagine that team would struggle to get too many shots away, and their best chances really came from turned down penalty appeals, of which there were three. Twice Oscar went down in the box, and after one he had to receive lengthy treatment. First, he was taken down by a shove from Hector Bellerin, and then he was taken out by goalkeeper David Ospina.
That second challenge left Oscar down for a while, which rubbed salt into the wound as far as Mourinho and his team were concerned. After that, Cesc Fabregas threw himself to the floor after a slight contact from Santi Cazorla, and he received a yellow for diving, which pleased the home supporters. Aside from that, Fabregas wasn’t too involved on his homecoming, although he didn’t have much in front of him to work with.
Drogba was introduced at half time, but he was nowhere near the player who recorded 13 goals in 14 games against Arsenal in his first spell. He looked sluggish, not quite the fit for a Chelsea side which needs a pacey forward in these kinds of games. As the match went on it became more obvious that this was a destruction job for the Blues, as they dropped deeper and deeper, denying the Gunners space as they controlled possession.
They were successful, as they kept the in-form hosts under control, earning a valuable point. Had Costa been available, things could have been very different. Without him and Remy, it became all about keeping things tight, as they had little going forward to trouble Arsenal. The hosts tried to play through the compact back four, which played right in to the hands of John Terry and company. The captain was fantastic, showing just why he should have been in the running for PFA Player of the Year with his form this season.
In the end, coming back from north London with a 10 point lead isn’t a bad result, but having that kind of advantage you’d have thought Chelsea could have taken a risk or two. They now need another six points to seal the title, and they could do that on Sunday against Crystal Palace, providing they beat Leicester on Wednesday night.
LCN Man of the Match: John Terry