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Premiership - Arsenal Home 30th November 2008 - 1-2


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Stuttering Chelsea Succumb to van Persie Double

By Alan McGuinness

Chelsea’s recent slip in form continued as a quick-fire Robin van Persie double stunned the Blues and gave Arsenal a very welcome three points at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.

Chelsea dominated the first half and went ahead when Johan Djourou diverted Jose Bosingwa’s cross into his own net.

However Chelsea failed to make their advantage count and van Persie struck with two expert finishes to give Arsenal’s season a much needed shot in the arm.

The game began at a breakneck pace, with Arsenal fashioning most of the early openings.

Samir Nasri tested Cech with a shot that William Gallas just failed to make a connection with. Fabregas tried his luck soon after, but the shot was easy for Cech to deal with.

Frank Lampard managed to connect with a Jose Bosingwa cross on 23 minutes, but his header lacked power and was held comfortably by Manuel Almunia.

And then, from seemingly out of nowhere, Chelsea went ahead. Almunia carelessly gave away possession and Bosingwa took full advantage, whipping in a cross that Djourou diverted into his own net.

Nicolas Anelka - playing against of his numerous former clubs - could have doubled Chelsea’s lead going into half time, but he only managed to divert his header wide.

Chelsea knew that a second goal was needed to put the game to bed. Lampard almost provided it just after half-time, but his instinctive shot was wide.

Controversy then reigned as van Persie restored parity. Emmanuel Adebayor’s knock down found Denilson, whose pass found van Persie in space - and also alleged Chelsea - offside. But the flag never came and van Persie was left to power home an expert finish into the top corner.

Adebayor also played a role in van Persie’s second, heading the ball down to the Dutchman who produced an expert finish across Cech and into the far corner.

Chelsea look stunned, and the momentum and vigour that had typified their play for most of the game suddenly deserted them.

Anelka looked lost up front, and Salomon Kalou was ever the enigma, constantly getting caught offside. Deco began to bear the brunt of the home crowd’s frustration as lost possession cheaply and was muscled off the ball.

Florent Malouda and Miroslav Stoch were sent on in an effort to reinvigorate a stagnant looking attack, but Chelsea never looked like getting back into the game.

Indeed, things could have been even worse had Cech not saved Denilson’s shot in injury time.

The final whistle was greeted with jeers by the home fans, leaving manager Luiz Felipe Scolari under no illusions that his brief honeymoon period in the Chelsea hot-seat is well and truly over.

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