Of all the times to call Arsenal too weak, this is not it.
After years of being bullied at Stamford Bridge, the Gunners stood up for themselves on Saturday afternoon. The result? Two red cards which helped Chelsea on their way to a 2-0 win against a depleted Arsenal side.
Diego Costa’s disgusting antics were strongly ignored (by Laurent Koscielny) and strongly responded to (by Gabriel). As a result, Diego Costa remained on the pitch while Gabriel was sent off.
Later on in the game, Santi Cazorla was shown a second yellow card. So why did Arsenal lose according to someone paid to have opinions on football?
“They weren’t mentally tough enough and they didn’t deal with the situation,” John Richardson said on Sunday Supplement.
“Sometimes Wenger must look at that Chelsea side and think, ‘I wish I had some of that aggression in my side’, because it’s needed.
“We all know Arsenal, very good and pleasing on the eye but they lack that mental toughness. Arsenal need players like that, someone with a bit of fight.”
Arsenal showed some fight on Saturday, and we were punished.
Gabriel stood up for his teammate by grappling with Diego Costa and was booked. Diego Costa dived, asked for Francis Coquelin to be booked, hit Koscielny in the face twice and grappled with Gabriel, and was booked.
The mentality and application of Arsenal players was not the issue at Stamford Bridge this time around, but the referee’s handling of the game.
But don’t let that stop the media’s narrative.
“I think Arsenal are very flimsy,” Richardson continued. “I’m afraid that was a defining moment for Wenger on Saturday. A lot of players let themselves down and Arsenal look a million miles away from winning the title, which is sad because we like the way Arsenal play at times.
“But you’ve got to have that bit of aggression in you, that bit of devil, and they lack that.”
Arsenal weren’t at their best on Saturday, but the game was finely balanced before a spate of poor refereeing decisions, with different rules applied to the two sides, gave Chelsea the upper hand.
If Arsenal are a ‘million miles away’ from winning the title based on this weekend, Chelsea are too. But they won it back in May. Don’t get me started on Manchester City, who lost to West Ham United. Perhaps they weren’t aggressive enough.