By Noah TanFollow @@Noah_Tan
It was obvious by the end of the night that many fans still at the Modestos bar in Elizabeth Hotel had not properly digested the way Arsenal self-imploded defensively to present Chelsea with what many considered to be an undeserved victory.
Failing to pick up three very winnable points was one thing but the manner in which Arsenal lost the game to leave them seventh after Saturday's round of Barclays Premier League games, with only nine points from six games, certainly rankled even the most ardent of Gunners fans, also affectionately known as Gooners.
Yet, the slightly disconsolate vibes which permeated the bar after the game could not have contrasted more with the jovial cheer and genuine optimism pre-match.
"I have a good feeling about tonight [Saturday]. We have been quite convincing in our previous displays while Chelsea have failed to really convince so I think we can pull off a comfortable victory, especially since we're playing at the Emirates Stadium," proclaimed university student Daryl Tan.
Brave words indeed, considering how Chelsea had yet to lose a single league game this season but it was a fair reflection of the bullish mood the Gooners were in.
The perfect pantomime villains for the night were John Terry and Ashley Cole; the former was embroiled in the recent high-profile racism row where he was found guilty by the Football Association of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand while the latter had long earned the ire of Gooners worldwide when he traded the red and white jersey of Arsenal for the blue of Chelsea in 2006.
Unsurprisingly, both Cole and Terry were subject to the most creative and amusing jeers pre-match but this entertaining sideshow soon made way for the all-important footballing spectacle on the pitch once referee Martin Atkinson started proceedings.
The atmosphere at the bar was electrifying to say the least. Hearty, expectant cheers rang out from every corner of the bar each time Arsenal launched an attack, while boos rained freely whenever a player in blue touched the ball; the vitriol of the jeers grew exponentially when they saw the Chelsea players, in particular Fernando Torres, go down easily under several innocuous looking challenges, with cries of "Same old Chelsea, always cheating!" being belted out in harmonious unison by the fans.
It seemed a touch ironic then, that Torres should be the one to put a dampener on proceedings when he put the Blues in the lead following some shambolic defending by Wenger's men.
The Gooners were deflated but for a moment however and they were soon in full voice once again, cheering and doing their utmost to rally their team round for a comeback. "We only win 5-3," someone cried out proudly, to a chorus of approvals from the crowd, as memories of the Gunners incredible victory by that scoreline over Chelsea last season were invoked.
And then, Gervinho scored.
Cue wild scenes of celebrations in the bar and it was then that the fervent passion which the Singapore Gooners feel for their favourite club really came to the fore; Delirious fans jumped up and down, hugged each other and high-fived everyone in their immediate vicinity as the line between strangers and friends were wiped out completely, united by their love for Arsenal.
There was a real buzz of anticipation amongst the Gooners as the second half started but another sloppy goal conceded by Arsenal, this time when a Juan Mata free-kick curled past a static Vito Mannone, had them a little subdued but they were soon once again up and about urging their team to fight back.
Unfortunately, there was precious little for the Gooners to cheer the remainder of the game as Arsenal manfully tried, but failed to breach the Chelsea defence, leaving Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger having to wait till at least the next game before he can reach the landmark of 350 BPL wins.
The result consigned Arsenal to their first loss of the season but the outlook is still positive for most of the fans who I spoke to after the game.
"We will bounce back from this defeat definitely," lifelong Arsenal fan Mohamed Fareed declared.
"There wasn't much between the two teams tonight [Saturday] and we certainly did look the better side for majority of the game.
When I pressed him for what he thought went wrong in the game for the Gunners, Fareed added: "It's a shame we conceded two cheap goals. I thought overall the defence didn't do too badly in open play but we looked really shaky at set-pieces.
"It definitely wasn't as impressive a performance defensively as compared to the previous games and I think a lot of it is down to the absence of Per Mertesacker. We missed his organisational and leadership skills at the back and with him in the side, we probably wouldn't have let in such silly goals."
Shaiful Rahman, a committee member of the Arsenal Supporters Club and captain of the Arsenal Singapore Supporters football team concurred with Fareed's sentiments about the German international.
"The partnership between [Thomas] Vermaelen and [Laurent] Koscielny is not working," Shaiful said.
"Mertesacker is probably the most important defender in the side right now, he can pair up very well with the other two defenders and brings an added stability to the backline.
"Overall though, Chelsea played a very good tactical game tonight [Saturday] and we were too weak in attack. We tried to attack from the flanks and deliver crosses into the box but this tactic was never going to work against the aerially dominant Chelsea defenders.
Olivier Giroud missed a glorious chance late in the game to score the equaliser for the Gunners when he was put through by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - the French striker could only find the side netting from a tight angle after having been forced wide by the onrushing Petr Cech.
It was a missed opportunity for the former Montpellier player to open his Premier League account and Shaiful was understandably unimpressed with the profligacy shown by Giroud.
"Giroud still has to prove himself as a striker capable of playing for a top club like Arsenal. His miss was really poor and this is not the first time he has failed to hit the target when it seemed easier to score," Shaiful added.
"Gervinho should not be playing upfront either. If I had to choose, I'd go with Lukas Podolski as the main striker, with Theo Walcott playing off just behind the German striker."
Wenger's deployment of Gervinho as striker in this game as well as in the previous two league games has understandably raised a few eyebrows and for 25-year-old Arsenal fan Ashraf Rahim, the Ivorian's display against Chelsea was proof that the former Lille player cannot lead the line.
"Gervinho was anonymous for majority of the game, especially in the first half, although his finish for the goal was top-class" Ashraf mused.
"I don't think he managed to make a single successful dribble in the game! He is more suited to playing on the wings in my opinion as he can then run to the byline and cut-back for our strikers and midfielders to score from.
"Nonetheless, whatever Wenger does with Gervinho, or indeed with the team, we'll still keep faith in the manager and I'm sure that Wenger will be able to lead us to success this season!"
The hope Arsenal fans have of winning the Premier League this season has definitely not abated despite this setback but even if the Gunners endure yet another barren campaign, none of the Gooners in the bar will ever stop supporting the Arsenal.
The defiantly uplifting cries of "We love you Arsenal, we do!" resonating around the ground floor of the hotel as I left the bar is proof of that.