Chelsea have made a good start to the London derby against Arsenal at the Emirates, even if they have so far failed to score in what has been a frantic first half.
The game’s first opening came when Arsenal won a free-kick on the left hand side after Branislav Ivanovic fouled Alexis Sanchez, Thibaut Courtois easily gathering the freekick. As expected, Chelsea started the game sitting back in their defensive half inviting the home side to attack in order to catch them on the counter. Their first attempt to do so resulted in Oscar being denied what appeared at first a clear penalty when he was tripped by Hector Bellerin, but closer inspection suggests that it would have been a soft penalty had it been given.
Another penalty was not given just over five minutes later – this one far more obvious – when a superb pass from Arsenal’s former captain Cesc Fabregas put Oscar in again. The Brazil international was clattered by the oncoming Gunners keeper David Ospina, who made no attempt to play the ball which was eventually cleared off the line, to consternation of Jose Mourinho. Referee Michael Oliver then made it a hat trick of penalties and a brace of bad decisions when Fabregas was tripped by Santi Corzorla in the 22nd minute, Oliver compounding his error by incorrectly booking the Spaniard for diving.
Arsenal had their own appeal for a penalty after the half hour mark when Gary Cahill appeared to block an Olivier Giroud shot with his arm, but the referee waved it away before the half’s best chance fell to Ramires who ran on to a pass from Willian, the toe poke on goal being too weak however.
The game has generally been fast paced so far with both sides willing to get forward in order to create chances. The most productive approach play has come from Chelsea as Arsenal, though having the bulk of possession, have created little in the way of clear chances on goal, the best coming from Mesut Ozil just before the break after a series of neat passes resulted in a shot that was easily caught by Courtois. Chelsea have been able to find space in the Arsenal back line and this gives hope that it will be Chelsea to break the deadlock in the second half.