There are draws, and then there are draws ...

N'Golo Kante did a very good impersonation of John Terry's slip against RvP when Martinelli raced past him for Arsenal's first equaliser last night. Or, come to that, Steven Gerrard's considerably more famous slip against Chelsea. This was one of the very few highlights of the away draw at Stamford Bridge; although the way the game finished and the effort on show makes one wonder if this was a watershed for the side? - that remains to be seen.


But I do have two matches to review in this post, having not posted following the Sheffield United game. And the two games do sum up where Arsenal are at the moment. The Sheffield game showed where the team needs to improve, and the Chelsea game shows where it has improved; because I don't see how that result could have come about under Emery.

Against Sheffield United, it was a case of Arsenal failing to turn their dominance into sufficient goals, and succumbing to a late equaliser - shades of the shattering home defeat to Chelsea. And then there was the Pepe penalty incident...

To be honest, I didn't think it was a penalty at the time (many around me did) but having watched it back, and having seen similar incidents this season awarded as penalties (including against Arsenal, I should add) you'd have to be disappointed that it was not awarded. I'm not having any of that Mike Dean nonsense. He's not biased; he's full of self-importance, but he likes to let the game flow and I'd suggest that he's merely inept (many of our referees are; look at the season Martin Atkinson is having!).

So Arsenal weren't far enough ahead, one goal is never comfortable, and they paid the price. Typical, one might say; if just half of these draws had turned into wins, we'd be far better off in the table.

And so to Chelsea. A slow start and very much on the back foot, and then ...

Now, Shkodran Mustafi - bear with me here - is not a bad defender. He's strong, good in the air, not slow, and works hard. But boy, is he prone to mistakes!!! It feels like there's a major rick in him every time he goes onto the pitch.

Having watched his recent video, I do have some sympathy with him. Centre halves do get badly punished when they make mistakes. And it's clear that this preys on his mind, as of course does the abuse he gets on social media as a result. Who wouldn't be susceptible to that? The trouble is that there are just too many mistakes, and as a result of that it seems clear to me and many others that for everybody's sake he should move on. The rarified atmosphere of the Premier League is clearly beyond his abilities; for all that he has a World Cup winner's medal.

And yesterday's mistake cost the team dearly. An awful back pass that exposed both Leno and Luiz, and the inevitable triple threat; penalty, red card, suspension. Chelsea fans had it in for David Luiz from the start of the match - I'm really not sure why - and they simply loved it when he got sent off. One for the team and all that, but a goal down, down to 10 men at Stamford Bridge after just 25 minutes should be the death knell for any side, should it not?

But what we saw from then on was really interesting. Sure, Chelsea failed to capitalise by putting their foot on the Arsenal throat, but we saw a combination of things that really got Arsenal fans' pulses racing.

Firstly, it did seem inevitable that Holding would have to come on; for Martinelli or perhaps Ozil. But Xhaka did such a fine job dropping alongside Mustafi that Arteta felt that he could hold off on that change; as he himself explained it, from a mentality point of view it would have looked defeatist, and could have knocked the side even further. In fact, Arsenal possibly looked better with 10 than they had with 11, as they started pushing Chelsea back.

And they rode their luck, as Chelsea missed several presentable chances to extend their lead. And not long after BT Sport's revelation that Arsenal hadn't had a single attempt in the first hour of the game did the equaliser come. Mustafi's powerful headed clearance from a Willian corner cleared the two Chelsea players on the edge of the Arsenal box, and Martinelli was away. He had loads to do, with Kante to deal with on the half-way line, but the Frenchman obligingly fell over and left our boy with a clear run on goal. Chased hard by Emerson, Martinelli held him off comfortably and slotted easily past Kepa. Lovely stuff, and cue pandemonium in the Arsenal end.

Remember, this is still a teenager. And for him it wasn't just about the goal. Stats showed that he put up over double the amount of high intensity sprints than any other player on the pitch; helping Saka out, popping up all over the place, and generally making a bloody nuisance of himself. I did say when Auabameyang got suspended that I was looking forward to seeing him step up, and with two goals in two games he has done that; and more!

And then, following Chelsea's regaining of the lead late on (and for me, Abraham was offisde and was interfering with play; the Law is an ass in this case), came Hector Bellerin's late equaliser; curled in with his left foot. Wow! Cue further pandemonium, both in the Arsenal end and in my living room!

And so to other notable performances: Xhaka at centre half, Torreira as per usual, Saka and the returning Bellerin all outstanding, and Leno once more made some crucial saves. And props to the coach, too, who believed in his 10 men and stuck with them, and then once more nailed his post-match interview. We've struck gold with Mikel Arteta.

However, as I alluded to in the very first paragraph, there weren't that many Arsenal highlights throughout the 90 minutes. Yes, they worked hard - bloody hard! - but were on the back foot for long periods, and there were heroes amongst them, but... just two attempts on goal in an entire match?

However, whilst results like the draws against Palace and Sheffield United were ultimately disappointing, I sense that this team is capable of building on this result. Let's hope I'm right. 13 points to fourth would have been insurmountable, but after that 10 looks a hell of a lot closer.

FA Cup next. Come on you Gunners!

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