Chelsea 1-3 Arsenal Match Review

Starting Line-up: Mendy; Chilwell, Silva (C), Zouma, James; Mount, Kante (Out 74’), Kovacic (Out 45’); Werner (Out 45’), Abraham, Pulisic

Subs: Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Emerson, Jorginho (In 46’), Havertz (In 74’), Gilmour, Hudson-Odoi (In 46’) Giroud

First Half

Chelsea came to the Emirates as clear favourites due to Arsenals horrible form in recent weeks which found them in 15th before kick-off. Lampard’s men however had the opportunity to go 2nd in the table if they could leave with all 3 points. Despite this, it was the home side which started off lively with Martinelli coming close to converting a Hector Bellerin cross in the opening 30 seconds.

The Brazilian continued to cause problems down Chelsea’s right hand side, particularly to Reece James as Martinelli would drift into the half space and allowing Tierney space to overlap into which was leaving James in a predicament over who to follow. Pulisic was not offering much defensively.

Image credit: gettyimages.co.uk

In the 8th minute Chelsea attacked the Arsenal back line for the first time after Christian Pulisic went on a good run in the central area before playing Timo Werner who made a diagonal run in behind and the German tried to lay the ball off to Tammy Abraham but the ball was cleared by the defender. The American was looking the most dangerous for Chelsea with the Arsenal defenders struggling to get near him. He won a free kick in a good position which Mason Mount hit the post.

Werner was starting off in wide areas however as Chelsea progressed the ball up the pitch the German would go into central areas to open up space for Ben Chilwell to push up into. Timo Werner had a good chance to open the scoring after he capitalised on a deflection and found himself 1v1 with Rob Holding in the Arsenal box, however his left footed attempt was well blocked by the Arsenal defender. A few minutes later Reece James put in a superb cross into the 6-yard box for Tammy Abraham but the cross was well defended by Pablo Mari.

Arsenal were pressing Chelsea well and they made it difficult for them to build up and progress the ball up the pitch to the likes of Abraham and Werner. Chelsea were also struggling to defend down their right hand side with Martinelli drifting centrally and opening space for Tierney to overlap which was causing problems for Reece James and this led to Arsenal winning a penalty after Tierney tripped in the box from a tackle by Reece James. The penalty was converted by Lacazette and Arsenal were 1-0 up.

Arsenal now looked confident and were starting to progress the ball up the pitch well and the likes of Saka and Martinelli were causing problems for Chelsea. This was shown in the 42nd minute where Kante fouled Saka in a central area just outside the 18 yard box, which Granit Xhaka converted impressively into the top corner to send Arsenal 2-0 up at half time.

Second Half

Image credit: gettyimages.co.uk

Lampard decided to change it up at half time by taking off Timo Werner and Kovacic and bring on Jorginho and Callum Hudson-Odoi. This looked to be a good call from Lampard as Chelsea came out in the second half with more urgency than in the first half. Hudson-Odoi had gone to the right and Pulisic went over to his favoured left hand side and they were both driving at the Arsenal full backs and causing them problems.

Chelsea were focusing heavily on getting the ball wide to the wingers to try and create crossing opportunities however with Abraham being the only real threat from crosses Chelsea were struggling to cause any real problems to the Arsenal defence in the air. Arsenal were now struggling to gain control of the game as Chelsea were pressing them well and putting constant pressure on the back line.

Arsenal made it 3-0 in the 55th minute completely against the run of play after Bukayo Saka put the ball over Mendy from the corner of the 18 yard box with what seemed to be a poorly executed cross with his right foot. Chelsea now had a massive mountain to climb if they wanted to salvage anything from this game.

Chelsea continued to pressure Arsenal to try and get a goal back but Arsenal were comfortable as they were putting numbers into the box and it made it easier for them to defend the crosses coming in from Chelsea. Lampard needed to find a way to add some creativity centrally to try and attract some players out of the Arsenal shape. He decided to take off Kante and bring on Havertz to play as an 8 in the hope that an extra threat from midfield would bring one of the Arsenal defenders out of their shape and open up space for Tammy Abraham.

Chelsea had a good chance in the 74th minute as Thiago Silva came close to scoring from a corner but his attempt was off target. The introduction of Havertz did open up some space in the box for Tammy Abraham and the wingers jobs were to now find Abraham with a good cross. But Chelsea still had to concentrate defensively and Mendy almost gifted Arsenal a fourth goal after he passed the ball directly to Lacazette but the Senegalese made amends and stopped the ball from going in.

Image credit: gettyimages.co.uk

Chelsea managed to get a goal late on after some brilliant dribbling from Pulisic who managed to get the ball into the box before laying it off to Hudson-Odoi who put in a good cross for Abraham to finish off with his chest. A few minutes later Thiago Silva had a good opportunity to get a second after a good cross from Pulisic but the Brazilians attempt went wide and he should have done better. Chelsea then won a penalty a minute later with an opportunity to make it 3-2 with 5 minutes to go but Jorginhos attempt was saved by Leno. Although Chelsea pushed for the final minutes it was too little too late for Lampards men.

Next Game

Chelsea welcome Aston Villa to Stamford Bridge in what will be an important game for Chelsea. Lampard will need to find a way to get his side scoring more goals from the wide areas after they made lots of crosses and only scored once. It will also be interesting to see who starts in that front 3, with Lampard already eluding that Hudson-Odoi will start, as well as seeing whether Timo Werner keeps his place in the side.

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