What A Game!!
Sarriball continued to take shape in our game against Arsenal with the positives and negatives of the game on display. Sarri stuck with his lineup from Huddersfield with Hazard remaining on the bench and Kovacic replacing Loftus-Cheek on the bench as well. Emery selected a similar lineup to the one against City, Ramsey made way for Iwobi while the rest remained unchanged. With Ramsey and Torreira on the bench it seemed that Arsenal would most likely be playing on the counter.
Chelsea dominated the first 30 minutes it was amazing, our first goal came via Pedro after Jorginho played a brilliant through ball for Alonso who crossed for Pedro to tap-in in the 9th minute. Chelsea continued to carve out chances and Arsenal remained firmly on the back foot. Aubameyang missed a glaring chance in the 19th minute to equalise after Alonso had been caught out in the left back position. The resulting goal kick led to our second goal after Azpilicueta played a brilliant ball for Morata to run on to and he held off Mustafi to slot in for the second goal and his first of the season. The high pressing seemed to take a toll on the players as the last 15 minutes of the first half were dominated by Arsenal as Iwobi and Bellerin caused Alonso, and Azpilicueta problems down the flank. Mkhitaryan scored in the 37th minute after Barkley and Willian had some poor play and Iwobi tapped in a cutback from Mkhitaryan to equalise for Arsenal going into the second half.
Half-time seemed to come at the perfect moment for Chelsea as we returned and dominated the whole second half. Arsenal seemed to have retreated and did not show up for the second half. Hazard, and Kovacic came on in the 60th minute and immediately impacted the game, Giroud was also brought on for Morata. The winner came in the 81st minute after Hazard dribbled past a defenders to slot back for Alonso who in similar fashion to his winner against Spurs last season slotted in at the near post. Chelsea continued to dominate the final minutes and if not for Cech Chelsea could have easily scored three or four more goals.
There were several positives to take from the game, the intricate play seems to have come naturally to the forward players and it can only get better. Kepa was good and the goals were not his fault, the backline except for Rudiger had some suspect moments especially down the left hand side with Alonso, and Luiz. Alonso is brilliant going forward but if Sarri is to continue selecting him then he has to beat a full back into him. Luiz is great on the ball but his lack of pace and defensive awareness caught him out at times. The midfield was great Jorginho dictated the play brilliantly while Kante seems to be enjoying his forward role, Barkley had a good game although he has the tendency to slow down play and make the poor pass on occasion. Willian was decent although his place appearances will probably diminish as Hazard returns, Pedro is showing glimpses of his Barca form and with two in two he could really thrive under Sarri. Morata is growing into the forward position again and his goal will only add to his confidence, hopefully he can carry on and prove all the negative fans wrong. Hazard was brilliant when he came on and hopefully he will start against Newcastle, Kovacic was brilliant as well and allowed Jorginho to play further forward with the two switching positions in the 30 minute spell on a few occasions, Kovacic will most definitely start when fully fit. Giroud made a good appearance and linked up well with the players around him he could still have a decent impact this season and manage loads of goals.
A work in progress and pundits still don’t believe we have a chance at top four, but thats what Chelsea thrive on, Sarriball is developing step by step and I already can’t wait for next Sunday when we travel to Newcastle. COME ON YOU BLUES!!