“Dominant, I would say dominant”
Chelsea travelled to the Emirates on Sunday evening to play Arsenal who were playing their first home game of the season. Arteta stuck with a 4-2-3-1 when I had expected him to switch to a back 3 while Ben White missed the game due to Covid. Tuchel started Mendy in goal with Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger in defence and James along with Alonso as the wing backs. Kovacic, and Jorginho started in the midfield while Havertz, Mount, and Lukaku started up front. That final name was the big one, Romelu Lukaku was finally starting a game as a Chelsea player!
It took Chelsea a bit of time to get going as Arsenal were obviously boosted by the home support. Chelsea got the goal in the 15th minute as Lukaku held up the ball with Mari at his back and played it into Kovacic who found Reece James making run down the right hand side. Reece drilled a perfect cross into Lukaku who had made he run and battered Cedric to finish past Leno. 0-1 to Chelsea, Lukaku getting a goal on his second debut and shushing the crowd it was perfect. It was all Chelsea as Lukaku went close via header that went over the bar. Mari just could not cope with Lukaku who’s physicality was too much to handle. The 2nd goal came in the 35th minute as Kai Havertz did well to set Alonso free who passed the ball to Lukaku who dummied for Mount. Mount found Reece James who smashed it past Leno. A goal and an assist for Reece and Chelsea were in cruise control. At half time Chelsea were not at their best but it was boys against men as the Blues were well worth the lead.
Arsenal fought a bit harder in the 2nd half and forced Mendy in to a save or two. Lukaku also came close a few times but his shots were blocked. Saka made Mendy pull of a very good save while Holding heads just wide of the post. Azpilicueta made a brilliant tackled to block a shot from Smith-Rowe. Leno then made a stunning save from Lukaku as Mount found the Belgian with a perfect cross and the header was stunningly saved and bounced of the post. Lukaku’s reaction was one of utter shock as he was surprised Leno was able to save it. Lukaku then sent Havertz through on goal who should have scored but Leno made a save again. The game then ended to boos from Arsenal fans but Chelsea fans jubilant after finally ending that weird Arsenal hoodoo.
Chelsea Team Review
Mendy get’s clean sheet no 2 for the season. Not much to do in the first half but made a key save in the 2nd half to keep Arsenal at 0. There was a moment when Aubameyang was through on goal but Mendy was quick of the line to sweep the ball. A routine game all around.
Azpilicueta, Christensen, and Rudiger were dominant at the back. The pace of Arsenal at times was a problem but the likes of Christensen and Rudiger were able to recover. Christensen should start to play more ahead of Silva this season as he continues to develop into that commanding central role. Alonso was also a threat down the left hand side and caused problems but the standout was Reece James. A goal and an assist and he should have had a few more as his final pass was let down by his decision making. As we continue to build chemistry with Lukaku I expect our wing backs to thrive. Also a clean sheet.
Kovacic and Jorginho were dominant in the middle of the park. It was a routine game but Kovacic again showed his willingness to play that forward pass this season as he got a pre assist for the first goal. Mount did well to get an assist as well and was his hard working self as usual. Kante came on in the 2nd half and in his brief cameo showed why he’s one of if not the best midfielder at the moment. Nicking balls, dribbling forward the whole package except the finish.
Havertz did well and was crucial for the 2nd goal. The German should have had a goal himself after Lukaku played him through. Lukaku was elite. From minute one he held up the ball well, handled Mari like he was nothing and got the goal. Lukaku should have got an assist or two as well and should have probably had a 2nd goal if not for Leno. It was just the start for Lukaku and there is way more to come but my god did it feel good to see a proper striker up front. The only problem is that our midfielders and defenders need to spot his runs and find him more. Countless times he wanted the ball and it didn’t come. More work needed to build that chemistry. Ziyech did well when he came on and probably could have scored himself while Werner had little time to make an impact.
Tuchel get’s his 2nd win of the season and another clean sheet. Lukaku scoring in the first game will be a good thing for TT and now it’s all about building on that. Tuchel will know Chelsea were no where near the best and there were components of our game that were off but it’s only early stages. A solid win all around.
3 points, top of the table for now, Lukaku score, a clean sheet, against Arsenal, it was just a feel good day. Next up for Tuchel and Chelsea is a trip to Anfield on Saturday night to play Liverpool who are in a similar situation. A good start though and can’t wait. COME ON CHELSEA!!!