A late strike from Marcos Alonso fired Chelsea to a dramatic 3-2 win over local rivals Arsenal at the Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Chelsea made it two wins in two games in the 2018-19 Premier League season, as they beat Unai Emery’s Arsenal 3-2 to jump to the top of the league table.
Spanish forward Pedro gave the Blues an early lead in the ninth minute, before his fellow countryman Alvaro Morata made it 2-0 eleven minutes later. Arsenal mounted a strong response, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi making sure the two teams went into the break with parity restored.
Both sides continued in their pursuit of the winning goal after the break and it was the home side that eventually came out on top, as Alonso sealed the win with a composed finish after some brilliant work by substitute Eden Hazard on the left-flank.
FULL-TIME: CHELSEA 3-2 ARSENAL! 🙌
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 18, 2018
Here’s how the Premier League leaders fared on the day against their London rivals;
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 5.5/10
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper will have been disappointed to have let go of Mkhitaryan’s shot, having gotten his hand to the ball. Almost cost Chelsea the game in the second half, when he spilled the ball but reacted fast to stop the Arsenal players from capitalizing. Good in bits, but needs to do more to live up to the price tag.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6/10
Continued his excellent understanding with Morata, setting up the former Real Madrid striker for the Blues’ second goal of the game. Defensively, the Spaniard was not his usual steady self as Arsenal enjoyed a lot of joy out wide on his flank, with Iwobi and Nacho Monreal constantly getting in behind him. Needs to tighten things up.
Antonio Rudiger: 5.5/10
The German international put his power and physicality to good use on occasions, but was part of a defence that crumbled under intense pressure from the Gunners towards the end of the first period. Distributed well from the back, but his defending alongside David Luiz left a lot to be desired.
David Luiz: 4.5/10
The Brazilian carried the ball out from the back with composure and confidence, but was caught out of position and left exposed on numerous occasions by the visitors towards the end of the first period.
Did improve after the break with Arsenal not carrying the same threat but continues to be a liability at the back for the Blues. With Andreas Christensen and Gary Cahill waiting in the wings, Luiz might find himself out of the starting XI sooner rather than later.
Marcos Alonso: 7.5/10
Brilliant attacking performance from the Spanish full-back on Saturday. Caused Arsenal all sorts of problems with his sharp movement and intelligence on the left-side. Set Pedro up for the opening goal, before bagging three points with a composed finish late in the game. Defensively however, Alonso was a bit ropey throughout, with Arsenal exploiting the wide areas at every given opportunity.
N’Golo Kante: 7.5/10
The French World Cup winner seems to be relishing in the new attacking role under Sarri. Created the most number of chances by any player on the day, had the most number of touches by a Chelsea player in Arsenal’s half and had a couple of promising opportunities to add to his goal from last week. However, the Blues did miss his resilience and doggedness at the back.
N'Golo Kante's game by numbers vs. Arsenal:
93% pass accuracy
4 chances created
2 tackles won
Sarri's bringing out his creative side. 😲😲😲 pic.twitter.com/e43ywzn1Qs
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) August 18, 2018
The new signing from Napoli continued to enhance his reputation at his new club with another masterful display in the middle of the park. Controlled the tempo of the game brilliantly in the first half. Started the move for the first goal by finding Alonso with a killer pass, continued to pierce the Gunners with his precise distribution.
Does lack a bit in the defensive side of his game, that allowed Arsenal a foothold towards the end of the first half. Apart from that though, the Italian international is looking like a classy signing for the West Londoners.
Ross Barkley: 6.5/10
The former Everton man’s renaissance under Sarri continued on Saturday, as he produced an encouraging display filled with sharp movement and positive intent. Ran at the defenders, looked to make things happen and almost managed to find the net, only to be denied by Petr Cech. Encouraging signs for the player and the club.
The former Barcelona ace grabbed his second Premier League goal of the season slotting home very early in the game. Continued to cause problems to the Arsenal defence with his energy and running, worked hard when not in possession. A solid start to the new season for the Spaniard.
Alvaro Morata: 7/10
The former Real Madrid forward will be a relieved man, having scored just his second Premier League goal of the calendar year, his first in four months. Led the line with confidence and aggression, linked up well with his teammates. Plenty more to come for the Spaniard though, but the goal will come as a major boost of confidence for the player.
The Brazilian winger started the game on a positive note, looking to exploit the spaces behind the Arsenal full-backs. Got himself into dangerous positions at times but failed to make the most of the opportunities. Faded with time and was the first player to be taken off for the Blues.
Eden Hazard: 7.5/10
Changed the complexion of the game after coming on to replace Willian in the 60th minute. Posed problems with his directness and did exceptionally well to set Alonso up for the winning goal. In contention to start the next game after two accomplished displays from the bench.
Mateo Kovacic: 7/10
An extremely promising debut for the Real Madrid loanee, who came on for Barkley at the hour mark. Perfect distribution, strong in tackles, exuded calm and composure.
Olivier Giroud: 6/10
Replaced Morata with 15 minutes left on the clock. Kept the Arsenal defenders occupied and forced a save from Cech late on.