Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud
Subs: Fabianski, Monreal, Jenkinson, Flamini, Cazorla, Bendtner, Podolski
Arsenal failed to go back the top of the table as we drew 0-0 against Chelsea at the Emirates tonight.
Arsene Wenger recalled Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta, while Theo Walcott retained his place after his two goal salvo against Man City 9 days ago.
The game started in tentative manner with both sides getting to grips with the difficult conditions. The first 10 minutes saw a number of misplaced passes from both sides.
Mike Dean allowed Chelsea players to get away with yellow card offences, when Azpiliqueta and Lampard fouled Ramsey and Sagna respectively, which showed the Gunners had to contend with the officials as well as the wind and the rain.
It remained a cagey affair with neither side creating much in the way of goalscoring chances. In the 25th minute a good Bacary Sagna cross created a spell of Arsenal pressure but no real attempt on goal, while at the other end a Ramires header failed to trouble Szczesny.
In the 32nd minute the visitors fashioned the best chance of the game. A ball over the top found Lampard in our box, and the England midfielder cracked a shot which beat Szczesny but cracked back off the underside of the bar. In the immediate aftermath, Torres had a shot which Szczesny saved easily, before Per Mertesacker had to be alert to block another effort from the Spaniard.
At the other end Theo Walcott clearly had his leg caught in the area by Willian but Mike Dean played on, as you would expect, just moments after ignoring a challenge by Obi Mikel on Arteta which saw his studs scrape the shin of our man. It was a 50-50 and Arteta got there first but it was, at least, a yellow card. As usual, Mike Dean let the opposition away with it.
Arsenal looked most threatening from set-pieces but when Aaron Ramsey gave the ball away from a corner, Chelsea broke down field and Szczesny had to make a smart save from Willian.
It meant the teams went in level at the break but Arsenal would have the wind at their backs for the second period.
It began in much the same way as the first, although there were signs the game might just open up a little bit as an Arsenal move caused a measure of danger before a Chelsea break had to be stifled by alert Giroud defending.
A foul on Ozil resulted in a drop ball – of course – as both sides tried to find an opening on a dirty night. It might well have been Chelsea after both Arsenal full backs got caught upfield, but with a man over Hazard’s touch at the far post was clumsy.
Ramires received a yellow card for trying to amputate Arteta’s ankle, but to even things up Mike Dean booked Walcott moments later for a mild trip. Szczesny then had to make a decent save from a low fizzing Lampard shot.
Mesut Ozil then took exception when Ivanovic tried to kick his face off, as Dean lost further control of the game. He then booked Tomas Rosicky for what looked like a foul, but little more than that. Aaron Ramsey drew the ire of his teammates by putting the ball out when that cheating little twat Ramires was down injured and Arsenal had a chance to press Chelsea deep in their half.
But a few moments later Ramsey created Arsenal’s best chance of the game, setting up Olivier Giroud at the back post, but from 8 yards, and a bit of an angle, the Frenchman sliced his shot wide. He had another chance a few moments later when he got on the end of a low Gibbs cross but Terry blocked it out for a corner.
Mourinho brought on a clutch of substitutes as he looked to secure a point away from home, while Wenger’s bench remained unused. Bacary Sagna saw a header cleared off the line and a late David Luiz free kick hit the Arsenal wall.
In the end a draw was probably fair but Arsenal will be replaying that Giroud chance and thinking that was a great opportunity to take all three points.