Arsenal lose their second game of the season, and this time to Chelsea; However, the Gunners showed solid resilience only to surrender in the end.
It was back in the 1992-93 season when Arsenal lost their first two games of the Premier League season to Norwich City and Blackburn Rovers, and that has been repeated under Unai Emery, as the Gunners register yet another loss, this time to Chelsea. However, compared to the Manchester City game, Arsenal showed much improvement and determination.
By the time the clock was 20 minutes up, Arsenal were already two goals down, and it looked rather much familiar to some old performances at Stamford Bridge. But Arsenal showed fantastic grit to bounce back within the first half and scored two goals in a gap of four minutes to bring the game level.
Pedro and Alvaro Morata had given Chelsea the early lead, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan came out of anonymity to score one and then set up the equaliser for the Gunners. Arsenal could have taken a considerable lead going into half-time, but missed chances from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and then from Alex Iwobi meant the scores were level at half-time.
Both teams tried, but it was Chelsea who got the better of Arsenal in the second period. Unai Emery and Maurizio Sarri both made some tactical substitutions, but Chelsea’s masterstroke came in Eden Hazard as the Belgian came off the bench to set up Marcos Alonso to score the winner around the 80th-minute mark to down Arsenal.
This is how the Arsenal players rated in their late defeat at Stamford Bridge, although much hope can be taken from this Gunners performance.
Petr Cech – 8
It’s clear why Emery is hell-bent on choosing the veteran in goal ahead of new signing Bernd Leno. Much like against Manchester City in the opening game, Cech was decisive between the sticks, making an all-important contribution to keep the scores intact. Against Chelsea, despite allowing three, Cech made eight saves and seemingly without any errors.
Hector Bellerin – 5
There is pace, which is evident, but much like under Arsene Wenger, Bellerin lacks in the end product. He always tried to do something going forward and failed most times. He did have a hand in Arsenal’s equaliser, but that’s about it. In defence, Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso, much like City players, got the better of him. If performances like these continue from the Spaniard, it won’t be long before Stephan Lichtsteiner takes over.
Shkodran Mustafi – 6.5
Mustafi had a good game. Top defending and seemingly made no errors today against significant opposition. He was excellent against Chelsea forwards and always timed his challenges well to keep their attackers at bay. Some might blame him for the second goal, but in the one-on-one with Morata, the Spaniard only finished perfectly.
Sokratis – 4.5
What was said of Mustafi cannot be said of Sokratis. The Greek defender is seemingly still getting the grips of the Premier League. Although in brief periods he was decent, he still needs massive improvement to help Arsenal not concede goals. Arsenal have already conceded five goals this season in two games, despite shoring up the defence in the summer.
Nacho Monreal – 5.5
Similar to Bellerin, Monreal tried his best to make contributions to attack, with some overlapping runs and link-up play with forwards. Although, unlike Bellerin he was able to control his side of the pitch better against the threat of Pedro and Azpilicueta.
Matteo Guendouzi – 8
The 19-year-old, bounced back from a decent debut to star in the game against Chelsea. He was Arsenal’s best player on the pitch over the course of 90 minutes. In the first half, he had misplaced zero passes which included three long balls and a through ball. The record did not stay intact in the second period, but Guendouzi was always available to make things happen and on the ball. He could be Arsenal’s best buy this summer.
Granit Xhaka – 4
Like us, many others were surprised by his inclusion instead of Aaron Ramsey in central midfield. Much to the talk of Lucas Torreira starting the game, it was Xhaka who got the nod. Again a horrible display by the Swiss International, who was time and again passed by the Chelsea players with the ball and their midfielders bossed him in the centre. Taken off at halftime to be replaced by Torreira.
Mesut Ozil – 4
A chance in the first half which Ozil sent wide was the only notable contribution from Arsenal’s No.10. For all the talk of leaders in the team from Emery, Ozil clearly hasn’t shown any signs in him of being one. As it looks, Emery is trying to make Ramsey play in the No.10 role and performances like these will soon see the German on the bench.
Alex Iwobi – 7
A well-taken finish from the Nigerian to equalise in the first half. Although he would be gutted by his miss just minutes after that goal, which could have given Arsenal the lead going into the second half. Played well and tried to create at times. Taken off in the second half.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 8
Mkhitaryan had a rising from the shadows moment in the Chelsea game. At first, it looked like he was going to have a disaster of a game, with anonymity, but rose to the occasion to first score a goal in style and then set up Iwobi for the second. He also ended the game as Arsenal’s top creator with five chances to his name.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 3
One right cross he sent in that could have been scored and one glorious chance near the six-yard box that he missed and failed to give Arsenal an unprecedented lead at the stroke of halftime. Apart from that nothing from the Gabonese. Performances like these will start the calls for him to be replaced by Lacazette up front soon enough.
Lucas Torreira – 6.5
Torreira’s introduction in place of Xhaka immediately improved Arsenal’s defensive prospects in the centre of the field. Torreira however still seems to be rusty and is nowhere near his displays at the World Cup. Erratic passing and panicking in crucial situations are some of the drawbacks of his game currently, but with more play time that is expected to improve significantly.
Aaron Ramsey – 6
Similar to Torreira, Ramsey’s introduction had an impact on the team. He almost equalised with a beautiful effort. It would be puzzling Arsenal fans as to why the Welshman did not start, and he is undoubtedly the most critical player in the team.
Alexandre Lacazette – 4
Unai Emery has already puzzled the Arsenal fan base with his decision making in team selection, tactics and style of play. Another area of concern is the striking department, and Lacazette, who is apparently considered the better of the centre-forwards present has repeatedly been kept on the bench. However, Lacazette came on and held the ball well for attackers. Unfortunately, it was his erratic pass that led to Chelsea’s winner.