If you thought this match was a dull London derby, you’d be quite wrong.
Chelsea and Arsenal entertained the fans at Stamford Bridge and here are the 5 things we got to know from the clash:
The final score doesn’t say everything
All things considered, the game was action-packed. The fans could have felt let down by the 0-0 result but, nevertheless, it was quite a spectacle.
A grey Chelsea performance left Antonio Conte with more questions than answers as his team go reduced to ten men in the final minutes of the match after David Luiz received a second yellow card for an atrocious challenge on Sead Kolasinac.
Arsenal looked more compact compared to the 4-0 loss to Liverpool and were unlucky not to take home all three points from the Stamford Bridge. Aaron Ramsey hit the post at one point were as Lacazette missed an incredible chance though away fans can be happy earning an important point.
Conte’s Tactical Traps not successful
Both Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger used 4-3-2-1 formations in Sunday’s derby. No surprises here as this has been the default system for the two sides for some time but their starting line-ups had a few tricks up their sleeves though.
Antonio Conte started without new arrival Tiemoue bakayoko and of his best players, Eden Hazard. The £40 million ex-Monaco man was left out due to tactical reasons while Hazard did have some fitness issues following his injury recovery.
Bakayoko replaced Pedro in the 46th minute and bossed the midfield area, proving his manager’s trust, who seeked tactical and physical improvement.
Noticeable absence from Ozil and Sanchez
Arsene Wenger had his team start the match without their two best players Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean got the play from the bench as the German playmaker surprisingly wasn’t within the group at all
The Arsenal gaffer didn’t say much about his decision, quickly informing press that Ozil is injured and could not participate in the match.
It can be said with confidence that The Gunners play quite differently without Ozil and Sanchez. Ramsey and Xhaka were both preoccupied with defensive work whereas forwards Welbeck and Iwobi couldn’t provide the much-needed ideas in attack and fluidity in attack
Sanchez’s introduction awoke things upfront but he made it to the headlines rather for his frantic laughter at Alexande Lacazette’s stunning miss.
Arsenal’s Defence On Point
Arsene Wenger’s backline had been criticised not once for starting with four players but his switch to three-man defence from last season turned to be a success.
It’s can be said that Arsenal’s back-three was the best part of the team. Previously condemned center-backs Nacho Monreal and Shkodran Mustafi set out an impressive display against the Blues and turned away every threat to Petr Cech’s net.
The German international was exceptional though. He pulled off some key interceptions besides scoring in the second half only his goal to be disallowed due to an offside position.
Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac should also be praised for their work on the right and left backs respectively. Both ran lines in attack and had their defensive contributions proving to be the right tactical choices for the clash.
All in all, Arsenal were rather unlucky for not winning against a rather uninspired Chelsea side.
Lacazette’s Poor Form Worrying
Quite a figure was paid for much anticipated transfer target Alexandre Lacazette from Olympique Lyon. The french striker was impressive during preseason matches but his current form causes concern.
Shaky performances are to be expected as former League 1 striker needs time to adapt to new surroundings but far more was expected from him after just two goals in five Premier League matches.
His low count of goals is also followed by an agonizing nerve in front of goal, displayed once more at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal should have been in the lead after 42 minutes when Lacazette struck on a rebound which looked like a definite goal but somehow his shot went far away over the bar.
Lacazette also had an excellent opportunity to score early on, when he caught a loose pass into the penalty area only to have his strike to be easily picked up by Thibaut Courtois.
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