Chelsea took on local rivals Arsenal for MW 36 of the Premier League season Wednesday night. Chelsea knew a win would all but seal top four while for Arsenal they had to win to stand a chance at a place in the Europa League. Tuchel made 7 changes to the lineup something that he would go on to say might have been a mistake. Kepa started in goal to give him some momentum before the FA Cup final. Azpilicueta, Silva, and Zouma started at the back with Jorginho and Gilmour in the pivot. Reece James and Chilwell started as the wing backs with Mount, Pulisic, and Havertz up front. On the face of it it seemed like the usual lineup but a lot of these players were coming back from a rest. Arteta went with a 3 at the back as well and started Aubameyang up front.
Arsenal began the game with a bit of possession but it was all Chelsea from the 10th minute. Havertz had the biggest chance for Chelsea in the 11th minute after he nicked the ball of Mari at the back and got one on one with Leno. Havertz put his shot over the goal and it would be a prelude to the rest of the game. Arsenal then got the lead in the 16th minute as Jorginho played a poor back pass no where near Kepa. Kepa then had to scramble back to avoid an own goal and he managed to save it but the ball landed to Aubameyang who played in Smith-Rowe and his shot just about got into goal. Technically an own goal to concede and Chelsea now had a mountain to climb. Chelsea had all the chances for the rest of the half and Mount had a shot handled by Holding but VAR decided to turn a blind eye for that one. Havertz drew a save from Leno as well before the half ended.
The 2nd half was all Chelsea as well and it was rather funny how Arsenal had all 11 players behind the ball. The Gunners showed no intention to make it 2 and were happy to defend for what was literally 40 minutes. Pulisic had the ball in the net around the 61st minute but he was judged offside by VAR. Right before that Havertz had been brought down in the box but VAR again decided to not give anything when the likes of United would have got that penalty. The best chance again came late in the game as Zouma rose highest to head the ball but Leno managed to deflect the header onto the post. The rebound found Giroud at a tight angle but he managed to get a shot on goal but that also hit the post. It was a frustrating day and Arsenal got lucky and parked the bus to victory.
Chelsea Team Review
There’s no point doing a section by section review today because everyone was generally poor and lacked energy. Gilmour was probably our best player in the 1st half but was taken off at half time so that we could get more offensive players on the pitch. Jorginho had a poor game but there’s no point saying more than that. Tuchel acknowledged that Chelsea were not up to the races today and maybe it was his fault because he might have given the indication that the final was more important.
Either way probably what is Arsenal’s worst side in a decade do the double over us this season and that in itself is an indication of how unpredictable football can be. Chelsea drop down into 4th and once again a point behind Leicester. Chelsea remain 6 points ahead of West Ham who have a game in hand. Liverpool are one to watch as they are 7 points behind us with 2 games in hand. Everything is still in Chelsea’s hands and Tuchel knows that. The squad need to know that this is a wake up call before 4 games that are literally finals. Let’s bounce back and get the job done! COME ON CHELSEA!!!