Let me start by saying that Arsenal have been more than a tad unlucky in the last two games. Back-to-back defeats are the result of three red cards in two games with Gabriel and Cazorla joining Giroud in referees' bad books. They say fortune evens itself out over the season and, of course, let's not forget that Coquelin should have been sent off against Palace. Now it's a case of Arsenal rueing their luck.
Fortune favours the brave though, and it would have been braver for Gabriel to ignore Diego Costa. Gabriel's petulant kick was slightly reminiscent of David Beckham's in a World Cup quarter-final against Diego Simeone of Argentina. And guess what: both offences were just as ill-judged.
However, I would like to add that I do like Gabriel's attitude; he's clearly not fazed or intimidated by the likes of Costa. That's a good sign, especially if he can learn from this experience.
Cazorla's red was just an accumulation of two silly yellow cards: the first was cheap but deserved, whereas the second was dangerous. Personally, I think the ref, Mike Dean, had no option but to send both off.
Nevertheless, how Costa remained on the field after striking Koscielny in the face twice is beyond me. And had Costa been sent off for that, then the Gabriel incident would never have occurred; Arsenal have paid the price for a lack of protection from the referee. When players don't feel protected, they often take matters into their own hands. I'm not saying it's right, but that's simply what happens.
Meanwhile, had Arsenal's deadball deliveries been better than Chelsea's then maybe the Gunners could have taken an early lead. I distinctly remember one free kick in a dangerous area which was more or less wasted: it resulted in a corner. Without Giroud or Mertesacker to aim at, there seems little danger when Arsenal have a set play. At least the big German is back in training so should be back to add an aerial threat upfront and more security at the back when it comes to dead balls.
Lots more work is required on the training ground, it seems, if Arsenal are to make the most of their opportunities and to stop giving away sloppy goals at the other end.
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