Chelsea vs Arsenal: 5 Talking Points & Tactical Analysis
Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-2 in their Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge on Saturday in a game that saw 37 shots in all from both sides. Early goals from Pedro and Alvaro Morata gave Chelsea a 2-0 lead as early as the 20th minute.
However, Arsenal quickly fought back and ended the first half with more chances, scoring twice to make it 2-2 with goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi.
The second half saw both sides a bit more evenly matched but it was the home side that eventually took all three points after Marcos Alonso's goal in the 81st minute.
Here are the major talking points from the game.
#1 Chelsea's midfield runs get the better of Arsenal's high line
The problem with Arsenal playing a very high line was that their centre-backs were not the quickest. Both Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos were easily beaten for pace when Chelsea played long balls over the top.
There were early warning signs when both Pedro and Ross Barkley were onside with the defenders quite a few yards behind them. If Barkley had managed to control the ball, it would have left Petr Cech in a 2-v-1 situation.
However, the Blues made it work when Jorginho pierced a ball through the left channel to find Marcos Alonso who had made a run down the flank. With the centre-backs reacting late, Pedro was free to receive his compatriot's cross and score past Cech to make it 1-0.
The home side weren't exactly playing on the counter-attack but that's what it looked like when they had acres of space to work with. The second goal also came too easily when Arsenal's defence pushed up to the half-line and inside Chelsea's half - an error that saw the linesman have no need to even consider an offside decision.
Another long ball (this time from Cesar Azpilicueta deep in his own half) saw Alvaro Morata sprint clear of Mustafi, control the ball, and shoot past the German's challenge and a wrong-footed Cech to double the lead in the 20th minute.