A good first half showing got Chelsea a goal from Kai Havertz, and a couple of good chances to increase our advantage in the scoreline against Arsenal. The second half was as high tempo as the first one, with the most noteworthy miss being Hakim Ziyech’s fumble following a great assist from Christian Pulisic. A header from Granit Xhaka to tie the score tried to end our fun, but the Blues’ second score from Tammy Abraham put the party back on.
Some notes from the two halves:
- 3-4-3 remains in the house, with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic as wing-backs. Antonio Rüdiger, Kurt Zouma and Trevoh Chalobah are the starting centre-back trio, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic in the pivot. Kai Havertz gets the “false-nine” role, as Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech start on either side of attack.
- Loftus-Cheek is a man on a mission to show he deserves a better look at by manager Thomas Tuchel. It certainly helps when you are partnered by Kovacic, CHO and Pulisic.
- It is a friendly, but Chelsea are taking this as more than just a fitness-building match. That is the spirit! (as long as we avoid getting injuries in the process)
- As expected, having two natural attackers as wing-backs will leave you exposed to advances. But nothing too dangerous coming out of these plays by Arsenal thus far. In fact the central midfield has been the “danger zone” to Chelsea, with Thomas Partey trying to make something out of our mistakes in the sector.
- Smart counter from Ziyech’s control to Kovacic’s pass to set Werner forward, and his assist to Havertz to open the scoring for Chelsea. Good stuff to see a few weeks ahead of official matches.
- Two Arsenal plays in the 18-yard box, two penalty shouts rightfully dismissed.
- Almost a second! Werner gets the ball from an inattentive Elneny near the penalty box, setting Ziyech up on the left flank. He finds some separation from the midfielder trying his best to compensate from his mistake and the shot beats goalkeeper Bernd Leno, but not the goalpost.
- And right before the end of the half, Hudson-Odoi finds an opportunity of individual brilliance by beating Pablo Marí with a “hip-breaker” and earning himself loads of space to shoot against Leno, who manages to parry the ball away for a corner.
- Loads of changes made to the starting lineup, as usual. Inicial substitutions made from half-time are Tammy Abraham for Timo Werner, Dujon Sterling for Kurt Zouma, Malang Sarr for Antonio Rüdiger, Davide Zappacosta for Kai Havertz, and Danny Drinkwater for Mateo Kovacic.
- Chelsea still maintaining the attacking impetus here, with Arsenal trying to hit us whenever our defences are down.
- Good thing Ziyech decided to fumble the golden chance set up by Pulisic in a friendly. Not as costly!
- Drinkwater did his best to defend Xhaka in the box. But the effort was not enough to stop the hosts from scoring the tying goal from a corner play.
- Might be a supreme lack of match fitness and sharpness from Bellerín that gave Tammy a golden chance to score our second goal today. But we should not complain about it!
- High tempo from both teams, with neither looking very good defensively — although Arsenal had much worse moments, especially with Leno trying his best to gift as many goals to Chelsea as possible.