It was set up to be possibly the most influential clash so far in this season’s unpredictable title race. Both Arsenal and Chelsea lined out at the Emirates knowing that a win would see them top the table on Christmas Day, as all of the previous four Premier League champions have done so.
However, as the 90 minutes faded away, neither Arsene Wenger nor Jose Mourinho’s men looked as if they had the attacking menace that would prove pivotal in who would take home all three points and the game turned into, in the words of Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand, a “snorefest”.
Throughout the whole 90 minutes, a mere six shots were on target (two from Arsenal and four from Chelsea). This fact alone conveys just how desperately both London clubs need a clinical striker in the final third.
Mourinho has had his fair share of critics due to his decision to let Romelu Lukaku go out on loan to high-flying Everton at the start of the season. During the summer transfer window there was major speculation that Chelsea were on the brink of landing a top class striker; Wayne Rooney and Falcao were two names that were mentioned.
However, 32-year-old Samuel Eto’o was the only striker the former European champions acquired.
The lack of a summer striker signature could prove instrumental in Chelsea missing out on the coveted crown of English football this campaign. The Stamford Bridge trio of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Eto’o have netted just five Premier League goals so far this season and have yet to score away from home this year.
These facts are made even more unbearable for all Chelsea fans as Lukaku has scored eight goals already this term for the blue half of Merseyside, and has cast fear into countless Premier League defences with his power and strength.
Arsenal undoubtedly have a similar dilemma, although under much different circumstances. Olivier Giroud has silenced a lot of his critics this season with outstanding performances at the pinnacle of the Gooners’ attack at the Emirates. But, the fact that there is no back-up striker within Arsenal’s ranks has resulted in the continuous playing time taking its toll on the French international.
The form which has seen Giroud obtain an impressive tally of seven goals and four assists in the league, as well as helping Arsenal mount their most promising title challenge in years, is beginning to dry up and many believe Arsenal must add to their attack in January.
With 17 games already ticked off this season, Arsenal have scored 33 goals alongside Chelsea with 32 goals. This in comparison with the current Premier League favourites Manchester City - who are priced at 6/5 to be lifting the trophy come the end of the season - is significantly inferior.
The Etihad elite have already netted a staggering 51 league goals with Liverpool second in the goal-scoring table with 42.
It will be the tight, tense affairs in which the goalscoring niche possessed by Manuel Pellegrini’s side in particular will be the difference in May.
Fixtures such as when Chelsea visited Old Trafford in August, when Arsenal also made the trip to the Theatre of Dreams where they lost 1-0, and last night when neither side could break through the opposing defence emphatically illustrate that Wenger and Mourinho must improve their attack if they are to achieve the ultimate accolade in English football.
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