Havertz did not spare his former team, Arsenal steamrolled Chelsea. The championship intrigue is still alive

Lon­don der­by rout.

Eng­land. Pre­mier League. 29th round

April 23, 22:00. Emi­rates Sta­di­um (Lon­don)




Mikel Arte­ta, of course, did not spare com­pli­ments to his oppo­nent. He assured that the colos­sal invest­ments in trans­fers, the qual­i­ty of the squad and the work done by Mau­r­cio Pochet­ti­no will def­i­nite­ly yield results. But it’s clear that all this will hap­pen some­time lat­er. If it will be. And the cur­rent Chelsea is too young and unsta­ble. For exam­ple, on Tues­day the Blues field­ed a start­ing line-up with an aver­age age of under 24 for the sev­enth time this sea­son. This has not hap­pened in the Pre­mier League since the begin­ning of the cen­tu­ry.

It’s no sur­prise that Chelsea’s graph is a sine wave. You don’t even need to dig deep to prove this idea. Take the last match­es and you will under­stand the mean­ing of the expres­sion “it throws you hot and cold.” A crazy game with Man­ches­ter Unit­ed (4:3) and humil­i­a­tion of Ever­ton (6:0) alter­nat­ed with draws with rel­e­ga­tion-bound Sheffield Unit­ed and Burn­ley, and the claret won back at Stam­ford Bridge in the minor­i­ty.

Pho­to by Reuters

This Chelsea can make some noise. For exam­ple, take four points from Man­ches­ter City, giv­ing an incred­i­ble game with an amaz­ing 4:4 on the score­board. But sys­tem­i­cal­ly it doesn’t work. Both at a dis­tance and in games where every­thing is at stake. That’s why the League Cup final was lost to Liv­er­pool, and last Sat­ur­day — in the FA Cup semi-final — the last hopes of sav­ing the sea­son died.

It is clear that a hypo­thet­i­cal pass to the Europa League or Con­fer­ence League is not some­thing for which more than a bil­lion pounds are spent on new play­ers. Many (not with­out rea­son) con­sid­er this an invest­ment in a bright future. Only here and now Arse­nal is a fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent lev­el. More­over, tak­ing into account the morale of the blues and — what is even more impor­tant in rela­tion to a par­tic­u­lar game — the absence of the ill Palmer.

At the moment, he is the only Chelsea play­er who can con­sis­tent­ly make a dif­fer­ence.

The rest may fray Rayet’s nerves, but what is more telling is not the Spaniard’s saves, but the moment in the first half when the goal­keep­er ran almost to the cen­ter cir­cle to take part in the ball in a pro­tract­ed posi­tion­al attack. The Gun­ners’ field play­ers stran­gled the oppo­nents with the most bru­tal pres­sure, and on the approach­es to or inside the penal­ty area they played with the Blues like a cat and a mouse. The mis­take of Petro­vich, who, after Trossard’s shot, fired the ball into the near cor­ner, is obvi­ous. But how many times did he save in sit­u­a­tions where the ball should have end­ed up in the net!

The red and white’s 13 shots in the first half and 27 by the final whis­tle are their best result against Chelsea in the last twen­ty years. And after the break, quan­ti­ty turned into qual­i­ty, and every­thing that was pos­si­ble flew into the goal. And it’s not even pos­si­ble — as when White tried to vol­ley the ball clos­er to the goal. Lucky, acci­den­tal — what’s the dif­fer­ence?! This shot into the far top cor­ner looked beau­ti­ful. The guests broke down after fin­ish­ing off the same White, who in 33 match­es this sea­son scored more (3) than in 106 pre­vi­ous games in the Pre­mier League.

Pho­to by Reuters

Although the cre­ative suc­cess­es of a defen­sive play­er are rather a pleas­ant bonus. And who real­ly needs to be not­ed is Havertz, who twice upset his for­mer team­mates. The play­er, who was once called the main tal­ent of Ger­man foot­ball, had dif­fi­cul­ty adapt­ing to Eng­land. Yes, Kai scored the win­ning goal in the Cham­pi­ons League final three years ago, but Chelsea clear­ly expect­ed more from him. That’s why they broke up last sum­mer with­out any vis­i­ble regret, but Arte­ta need­ed him.

The coach was ready to endure and wait. First, the first goal at the end of Sep­tem­ber, when the whole team touch­ing­ly con­grat­u­lat­ed the new­com­er on his con­vert­ed penal­ty. Then there were two months before the sec­ond goal was scored for Arse­nal. And then Havertz became a full-fledged fight­ing unit and long ago sur­passed his best per­for­mance at Chelsea and did not spare his for­mer ones. The Blues haven’t been so crushed in a der­by since 1986, when they fell under the hot hand of QPR. And for the Gun­ners this is their biggest suc­cess with this oppo­nent.

Bukayo Saka and Enzo Fernandez. Arse­nal defeat­ed Chelsea. Online broad­cast of the Pre­mier League match

There can be no sen­ti­men­tal­i­ty in the cham­pi­onship race, which is still ongo­ing. Arse­nal are now plus three points from Liv­er­pool, who face the Mersey­side der­by on Wednes­day, and plus four from Man­ches­ter City with two games in hand. And ahead is a trip to vis­it our worst ene­mies from Tot­ten­ham. The fur­ther you go, the more inter­est­ing it gets!