Arsenal lost at Chelsea on Saturday afternoon thanks to some disgraceful behaviour from Mike Dean and Diego Costa.
After midweek, Arsenal knew they had no room for a poor performance at the Bridge but it would be yet another poor one from the officials that would cost the Gunners a win against Mourinho instead of their own poor form.
It was a fast start from both sides with Costa wasting no time before he got into the flow of diving, calling for players to get booked and generally being the hateful little s**t that we all know and despise. Only 120 seconds had passed when he’d flung himself to the ground twice and waved an imaginary card in Mike Dean’s face who responded by having a stern word with Francis Coquelin who hadn’t even touched the Chelsea man.
The early signs were promising from Arsenal; looking to play Theo in over the top and it seemed to be working with the Englishman latching on to a couple of balls.
Arsenal were showing no signs of the nerves that normally cripple them at the Bridge and as the game settled, Chelsea were, unsurprisingly, happy to allow Arsenal the ball and look to hit on the break initially.
Mid-way through the half, Chelsea began to exert more pressure. Arsenal dropped back but were able to hold Jose Mourinho’s men at arm’s length with the hope that they could spring Theo into the increasing amounts of space that was appearing in the Chelsea half of the pitch but with half an hour on the clock neither side had managed to fashion a clean chance.
Less than two minutes after I wrote that line, Chelsea sprung Pedro behind Nacho Monreal but Petr Cech made a smart and brave save to deny Chelsea’s summer signing.
Chelsea and BTSport both then wanted a penalty for the home side as Gabriel used his strength to hold off Eden Hazard, in a manner which we see many times per game every week. If it was a penalty, then Arsenal are owed a few thousand.
With only a few minutes left in the half, it all sprung back into life as both sides tried to steal the lead before the break but the biggest incident was when Diego Costa should have seen red for slapping Laurent Koscielny in the face. He didn’t get it, of course, because he does it every week and escapes but he managed to get Gabriel sent off just seconds later when the Brazilian aimed a casual flick at his shins and Costa reacted like he’d taken a hatchet to his leg.
How on earth Diego Costa only got a yellow card for this is beyond me pic.twitter.com/sfAoeZwcPy
— Terje (@ArsenalTerje) September 19, 2015
It was unbelievable from Mike Dean, a series of calls so ridiculous that I just sat shaking my head for all of the halftime break.
Calum Chambers was brought on for Francis Coquelin at halftime, the midfielder picking up a knee injury in the first half when he seemed to jar it upon landing, but it was not clear if that is why he was chosen to be replaced in order that Arsenal could bring on another defender.
It took just seven minutes after the restart for the deadlock to be broken; Chelsea scoring from a set-piece but by this point I’d already resigned myself to us getting nothing from the game so I wasn’t surprised.
If I’m honest, I lost much of my interest in the game by the time the ball hit the back of the net, robbed as we were of a fair contest knowing that we’d have to listen to Mourinho whinging after the game about the non-penalty they should have had while mocking Wenger should he dare mention the officials.
It seems to me as if we would be better served simply giving them three points every season and saving our fans the need to go to that sh** hole.
Then Alexis woke me up again, briefly, through with a chance to pull Arsenal level but the Chilean mis-kicked completely and any hope that had surfaced in me quickly sighed, and went back to sleep.
The next incident of the match worth talking about was Diego Costa going down in the box like he’d been grabbed around the waist by an elephant when he felt Hector Bellerin’s arm touch his stomach. Dean gave neither a penalty nor a yellow for diving and Costa was free to keep on cheating.
He happily obliged by doing the same to the Ox as Gabriel had done to him but without any officials noticing. Costa ended the game without one single foul being given against him and just one yellow.
With just over 10 minutes left on the clock, Arsenal were laughably reduced to nine when Santi Cazorla was shown a second yellow for a mistimed challenge on Cesc Fabregas who made sure Dean was given no option.
The game no longer mattered.
It’s easy to feel down after a defeat but such was the manner of the loss at Stamford Bridge that Arsenal fans can take heart.
They were up against a team of cheats and a referee that has demonstrated time and time again that he is incapable of being impartial in games which feature Arsenal.
Despite only having nine men, Chelsea needed an OG from Calum Chambers to double their lead and give the scoreline a bit of gloss, but without significant help from Mike Dean, Arsenal were more than a match for them.
The game ceased to matter when Gabriel was sent off and Diego Costa was allowed to remain on the pitch.
That’s not Arsenal’s fault, that’s Mike Dean’s. And it won’t be quickly forgotten.