3 reasons why Arsenal lost to Chelsea
Arsenal were beaten 3-2 by Chelsea, losing the first two Premier League fixtures for the first time since 1992-93. The result also did nothing to improve their poor record at Stamford Bridge, where the visitors have remained win-less for 7 years now.
The London derby – unlike recent times – was no cagey affair, though. Both teams created opportunities and the scoreboard had the potential to read 8-all at one point.
Maurizio Sarri’s men opened the account with a lovely goal from Pedro in the ninth minute. It was soon followed by Alvaro Morata’s deceptively slick cut inside to outfox Mustafi and Cech, doubling the hosts’ lead with just over 20 minutes on the clock.
Arsenal’s first goal came after the half-hour mark, Henrikh Mkhitaryan lashing at the ball with power and precision after being played in by Iwobi. The equalizer arrived minutes before half-time, with the roles reversed and the Armenian fashioning the goal for the Arsenal number 17.
A much more evenly poised second half – with the scores still level – changed markedly when Eden Hazard was brought on. With less than 10 minutes of regular time to go, the Belgian arrowed in a ball for Marcus Alonso who shot home, unmarked in the box.
In this piece, we look at the three major reasons for the Gunners’ loss.
#3 Learning phase with Emery
Changes have come and will continue to, but Arsenal need much more in terms of rebuilding after Wenger’s two-decade-plus reign at the helm.
That they are still learning to play with each other was quite evident as a midfield pivot of Granit Xhaka and Mattéo Guendouzi proved. The two were stretched and Xhaka especially was often left out of position.
The overlapping and communication on the channels was not exceptional either between Hector Bellerin and Mkhitaryan. Bellerin was also guilty of lapses of concentration and keeping tabs on his opponents.
Unai Emery needs to be given time and freedom to improve the squad as well as impress his style and stamp upon them. It is easy to say that Chelsea are under a new management too and therefore the comparison does not hold water. However, Sarri took over a squad that won the title with Antonio Conte (and Jose Mourinho before that) in recent seasons (albeit with its share of additions and departures, notably Diego Costa).
Emery deserves credit for his constant barrage of encouragement and advice from the side-lines that made a comeback seem more than a possibility despite the initial blow and ineptitude to retain possession for over 35 minutes.