After a huge 2-1 win over our future Champions League rivals, Manchester City, in the Premier League, and seven changes made to our starting eleven, Chelsea were not in their sharpest form. Neither were Arsenal, even though their previous match — a 3-1 victory against relegated West Bromwich — was likely more of a breeze.
We were still able to create a great chance to score via Kai Havertz, who got the ball from an absent-minded Arsenal player. But on the 1v1 the shot was too strong to hit the net, going over the crossbar instead.
And the hosts were the ones who would pay for this lack of attention. Arsenal pressure in the final third led to an awful backpass from midfielder Jorginho, straight into our net. Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga did what he could to save his teammate from utter embarrassment, and he was almost successful. But the rebound fell on Arsenal’s feet, and the great chance was eventually converted by Emile Smith-Rower.
Chelsea had to answer, and they really tried to do so. The best chance came via Christian Pulisic, infiltrating Arsenal’s penalty box to assist Mason Mount. The shot from the Englishman would have been enough to beat Bernd Leno, if it was not for a timely block from defender Pablo Marí.
More chances to Mount would come through, first from Havertz and then from Chilwell. But Leno and Arsenal’s defence would not be beaten by those.
Half-time demanded changes, and they were first made by the introduction of Callum Hudson-Odoi to the pitch in place of Billy Gilmour. It had immediate results, with CHO linking very well with Reece James and Mount to create chances for the hosts.
At the 61st minute, a glimpse of hope emerged for Chelsea. From a Mason Mount corner and Kai Havertz flick, Pulisic appears in the box to take the ball into the back of Leno’s net. However the American wonderkid was completely offside before the flick, and the goal was nullified as a result.
The last minutes of the match were mostly in Chelsea’s favour, as Arsenal decided to focus on defending their lead. Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi led our attempts at infiltrating their lines, and Olivier Giroud had a really good chance to tie in the final minutes of the match. But at the end of the day, their stronghold was just too hard to beat.
- Several chances made from the Manchester City match. Kepa Arrizabalaga takes over from Edouard Mendy in goalkeeping, and Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma slot in as centre-back in place of Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger, respectively. N’Golo Kanté is rested, with Jorginho in his place; and Ben Chilwell returns in place of Marcos Alonso. Upfront, only Christian Pulisic stays from last weekend’s game as Mason Mount and Kai Havertz cover Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, respectively.
- Subs are Callum Hudson-Odoi for Billy Gilmour, Oliver Giroud for Kai Havertz, and Hakim Ziyech for César Azpilicueta.
- Why, Jorginho?
- Outside of an egregious individual error, it was still a good performance from Chelsea. At the very least this loss works as a reminder that mistakes can be fatal, and we should do the utmost to avoid them if we want to lift trophies in the upcoming weeks.
- Next up: the FA Cup final against Leicester City, at Wembley.