If only Chelsea could play Arsenal every week by John Cross


It is not as simple as Chelsea turning it on and off like a tap.

They have got to be in the mood. And nothing puts them in the mood quite likeArsenal .

Their performance at the Emirates was a throwback to last season when they won the Premier League title at a canter.

Cesc Fabregas was back to his old self, Oscar and Willian were excellent and, of course, Diego Costa loves nothing more than winding up Arsenal.

Costa scored and got Per Mertesacker sent off. A few weeks ago, Chelsea fans were booing him, there were banners calling him a snake and yet when he was substituted he went off to a standing ovation from the travelling fans. All is forgiven.

John Terry was superb in defence, marshalling the back four and it was arguably Branislav Ivanovic’s best game of the season.

Chelsea were battling, scrapping and they were up for it. Down the years, Jose Mourinho has clearly instilled a pure hatred of Arsenal into these Chelsea players. And, even though Mourinho has gone, old habits die hard. It’s now nine league games since Arsenal beat Chelsea.

Deep down from within, the old Chelsea was stirring. Yes, it’s frustrating that they cannot produce it more often. But at least it shows it’s still there.

If Guus Hiddink can somehow get a momentum going again then they are still in the FA Cup and they’ve also got a Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain to come.

Diego Costa scores the opening goal past Arsenal's Petr Cech
…and Diego Costa popped up with another goal

Maybe some of these players won’t be given second chances. Not when they’ve let themselves down so badly at times this season.

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But it’s wrong to say they just downed tools on Mourinho. They lost their way. Throughout the Roman Abramovich era, Chelsea have rebuilt and evolved through several generations.

While this season and the Mourinho fall-out has scarred them, the Chelsea core remains.

Chelsea proved at the Emirates they are still a force to be reckoned with. Now Hiddink must get on to the Premier League to ask if they can play Arsenal every week. That’s one way to get their confidence back.

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