EPL 2016: Arsenal vs. Chelsea.

arsenal-defender-per-mertesacker-chelsea
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker reacts after being given a red card by the referee. | Photo by BleacherReport.

This season alone has seen Arsenal falling at the hands of Chelsea at both the Stamford Bridge and at the Emirates Stadium. And both times, Diego Costa had played a role in eliminating the Gunners, and had a hand in influencing players in getting sent off.

Last year, the Brazilian-born Spanish striker was involved in a bust-up with Arsenal’s Gabriel Paulista which resulted in the latter being sent off for retaliating. This year, he was the centre of attention again when Per Mertesacker was believed to have clipped him when the lanky German slid in for a tackle, causing Diego Costa to theatrically fall to the ground.

In both scenarios, it is hard to dispute that Diego Costa has a personal vendetta against Arsenal and is hell-bent on making at least one player get red-carded so that it affects the overall team cohesion and cause the Gunners to stumble and fall. I’m sorry if this is my view on how it pans out but it has already happened twice, and both times had Costa in it.

It is perfectly fine with me if Costa had genuinely scored a goal against Arsenal and won the match because of it. But it is completely unnecessary for players to fall like leaves in the autumn wind when football is a contact sport and players are meant to fall at some point of the game.

You don’t hear rugby players complaining about migraines, sore hips, and knocked-out teeth when they crash into each other as they pummel for the ball. Fall if you must after being tackled, but if it doesn’t hurt, get up and stop being a baby about it.

I don’t like it either when Arsenal players do it. You all are full grown men, having signed contracts to agree that you will spend full 90 minutes chasing after a ball together with ten other teammates and eleven others on the opposite side. If you had a problem with that, then football isn’t your career.

While I seethe and grit my teeth at Costa’s unexplainable behaviour, Arsenal is not spared from my wrath either, as a fan. I can’t fault Chelsea for winning. I knew that no matter where they are in the table, they will find a way to claw their way back up.

There were many games prior to the Chelsea match that they should have won. Like the one against Stoke City. And so many more before that. If they had won the games they should be winning, then a loss to Chelsea wouldn’t have mattered so much because they’d still be on top with a few points to spare between them and Leicester City.

Now that they have lost first place, with Leicester City back in the game and striker Jamie Vardy back on the scoresheet, I think they deserve to win the Barclay’s trophy more than ever. They have displayed impeccable playing quality since the start of the season last year. They have displayed a determined, fight-to-win character. That used to be Arsenal. Now we’re back to third place. Our favourite position.

Are we doing something wrong? Is Wenger fielding the wrong players? Are the players losing sight and focus everytime they jog out of the tunnel? Have we bought the wrong players? What happened to Arsenal’s first signing at the start of 2016? Do we buy players for the sake of buying? So many questions that we fans have, yet they all go unanswered. Wenger can be as frustrated as we are with the team but frustration from him will take the team nowhere.

Change is imminent, better now than never.

Of course, I’m glad that Manchester United is nowhere near us.

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