The London derby had pace, chances, rain and a lot of fouls. It didn’t have goals, or enough bravery, especially from Chelsea, deciding that a 0-0 draw is quite alright with them. Arsenal were the better side and probably the more dangerous as the match dragged on, but not enough to make a real difference.
The best chance of the match came right in the start, as Frank Lampard rattled the crossbar from close range. Arsenal had almost 75 minutes without a shot on target, before Olivier Giroud missed twice from very close range and another header (Vermaelen) was cleared by Cesar Azpilicueta from the line.
Chelsea played well in the first half, being able to destroy the Arsenal quick passing game, and getting out to counter attacks which created quite a few chances early on, all stopped by Wojciech Szczesny. Mourinho decided that if he won’t win the match early on, he’ll give up on doing too much in the second half.
So Arsenal took control, as Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott became a lot more involved, but except for the two late chances from Olivier Giroud, they didn’t get anything special. All of their corners were cleared by the Chelsea defense, which was on the verge of playing quite brutally, enjoying a free hand from Mike Dean, very lenient on using the yellow card and even the red on one instance after John Obi Mikel slid in too late with what seemed like malicious intent.
Jose Mourinho, like in his previous away match against big teams (Manchester United, Tottenham), didn’t want anything more than a draw, playing without a striker in the final five minutes. Arsenal were probably the more ambitious side for most of the match, but right now were slightly happy with stopping their losing streak and not slipping away too far from the top spot.
The big winners? Liverpool, who remain on top of the table heading into the Christmas matches, and Manchester City, remaining in third, one point above Chelsea.