Always good to beat Arsenal.
Chelsea took on Arsenal at the Emirates for the first match of the Mind Charity Series to raise awareness of mental health issues. It was a noble cause and it being such a high profile friendly broadened the awareness globally. Arsenal had their whole squad minus Saka and were four games into their pre-season. Chelsea went into this game as their 2nd official friendly and with several first team players back but still missing around 7-8.
Mendy started in goal with Zouma, Chalobah, and Rudiger as the 3 centre backs. Kovacic, and Loftus-Cheek started in the midfield with Pulisic as the right wing back and Hudson-Odoi as the left wing back. Ziyech, Havertz and Werner started up front for Chelsea. The opening few minutes were intense as the two teams exchanged a few chances. The game itself was end to end and each team had chances on the counter. The first half saw a few good chances with the first goal coming in the 26th minute as Kovacic played Werner through on the counter and the German found his compatriot Havertz who smashed the ball past Leno. Smith-Rowe then hit the post for Arsenal while Ziyech did the same with some impressive technique for Chelsea. Hudson-Odoi made a good chance for himself in the final minutes of the 1st half but saw his shot saved by Leno.
Sarr, Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Sterling and Tammy came on for Rudiger, Havertz, Kovacic, Zouma, and Werner for the 2nd half. Ziyech had a brilliant chance to make it 2-0 as he broke the line and chipped it over Leno but he failed to finish the follow up as new Arsenal defender Ben White made a crucial block. Kante, Michy, Kepa, Barkley, and Rahman came on around the 63rd minute. With 10 out of the 11 players changed it of course brought some instability at the back which allowed Arsenal to equalise from a corner in the 69th minute via Xhaka. Chelsea had a good chance before the goal but Barkley fluffed his shot. Arsenal then allowed Chelsea a free goal in the 71st minute as Bellering played a poor back pass which found Tammy who finished past Leno to make it 1-2. Clarke-Salter came on for the final few minutes while Tammy had another chance but we couldn’t finish. A good win at the end of the 90 though.
Chelsea Team Review
Mendy had a smooth ride in the 1st half and the first 15 of the 2nd half. The save from Lacazette was probably the hardest one he had to make. Kepa was a bit more involved mainly due to the changes as Arsenal had some good chances. Nothing could be done for the goal but other than that it was a few routine saves. Bettinelli did not feature but probably will against Spurs.
The first half was routine for the defenders as Zouma and Rudiger got their first minutes of the season. Chalobah played most of the 90 and had a good game at the centre of the three defenders. Whether he stays or not is yet to be seen but he has caught Tuchel’s eye. Sterling impressed the most out of all the subs as he made a great block on Pepe and he showed his pace and strength again. Sarr, had a routine game and Clarke-Salter had very few minutes. Pulisic was decent as a right wing back but flourished more when he played further forward while Hudson-Odoi did well on the left and had a few good chances he created for himself. Zappacosta and Rahman had decent games.
Kovacic and Loftus-Cheek had a good 60 minutes in midfield. Kovacic looked like he was playing his first minutes of the season but Loftus-Cheek impressed. RLC used his physicality to shake off challenges and made tracked back to make tackles. RLC also showed pace and strength to bomb forward on occasion. It’s good to see him gradually returning to his normal self. Ziyech did well in this game and was one of the better players. Several brilliant passes and he pressed well in the middle of the pitch. Ziyech managed to snatch the ball on a couple of occasions to spark counters. Ziyech should have scored though which would have capped off a good day. Drinkwater and Kante had good games with Kante looking his normal self as usual. Barkley did not have a great game and has not impressed.
Havertz and Werner returned to the starting lineup and had good halves. Havertz got a brilliant goal and Werner got the assist. Werner could have scored as well but he hit the side netting. Everyone’s hope is that they score several goal for Chelsea this season. Tammy and Michy came on in the 2nd half and the two looked lively. Tammy got the winning goal but also missed some key chances as well. Michy had some good interplay but saw his shot saved. A decent game from our proper strikers but it also showcased why Chelsea want a striker.
Tuchel would have seen more of his fringe players in this game. A win against Arsenal is always nice and some good minutes for the first team players as well. Tuchel will want to see more goals though because yet again we created several good chances but failed to finish them.
Chelsea now have a few days of training and should have Mount, Chilwell, Reece, Jorginho, and Emerson back on Monday. Those players probably won’t feature against Tottenham but Christensen, and Azpilicueta should feature in that game. Spurs at Stamford Bridge will be fun. COME ON CHELSEA!!!