LET'S TALK FOOTBALL REVIEW: ARSENAL 1 VS CHELSEA 1 (4-1)
It’s the traditional season opener as the Premier League champions Chelsea face the FA Cup winner Arsenal in the Community Shield at Webley.
Firstly, let’s take a look at how the two teams started out:
CHELSEA: Courtois | Cahill – David Luiz – Azpilicueta | Alonso – Fabregas – Kante – Moses | Pedro - Batshuayi – Willian
ARSENAL: Cech | Monreal – Mertesacker – Holding | Chamberlain – Xhaka – Elneny – Bellerin | Iwobi - Lacazette – Welbeck
Looking at the formation, both teams adopted the 3-4-3 formation which enables wingbacks to help with attack and also covers for their 3 defenders. However, Chelsea started the game brightly with early pressure on Arsenal’s wing backs which led to Cech making early appearance in the contest.
Chelsea seem to start their attack from the back, with David Luiz known to be very good with the ball. Luiz so many times launches the ball from the back to start the attack for Chelsea. Pedro and Willian switch so many times, at times Willian makes lots of diagonal runs for through balls.
However, Arsenal seeing the way Chelsea played, they decided to press with one man in the opposition half. Arsenal were always patient to soak up the pressure and hit Chelsea on the counter (Chamberlain & Iwobi). Whenever Elneny or Xhaka has the possession of the ball, Welbeck stretches the Chelsea’s defence even without the ball by making runs behind the Chelsea’s back three which create more space for Lacazette. In the course of the match Mertesacker got injured and was replaced by Kolasinac, Kolasinac played from the left hand side of the back three and offered some energy and urgency bursting forward.
This same style enabled Arsenal to counter from the wing which led to Lacazette hitting the post. It was becoming obvious Arsenal were pressing Chelsea for the ball, marking them and also stretching them from wide areas when they are with the ball. Welbeck was stretching and tracking back at the same time. El Neny and Xhaka were fantastic against Kante and Fabregas.
Early in the second half Chelsea scored from Arsenal inability to deal with a cross properly leading to Victor Moses making a superb run to beat the offside trap and putting the ball past Cech.
After the goal, Chelsea began to press Arsenal hard when they’re not with the ball. Kante was a bit alive with interceptions and he also offered Chelsea some composure. Arsenal introduces Walcott and Giroud to find an equalizer. In an attempt to stop El Neny’s run Pedro was sent off for his challenge on El Neny and the Free Kick led to Arsenal getting back in the game with Kolasinac scoring from an header with Chelsea’s new signing Rudiger having to take responsibility for the goal.
Alvaro Morata was introduced and had little effect on the match aside him nodding wide from a fabregas cross. The 90 minutes arrived and it had to be settled on penalties. Courtois and Morata missed their spot kicks while Arsenal converted theirs to win 4-1 on PK.
They were the better team. Arsene Wenger’s new found love in 3-4-3 seems to be the new system Arsenal will be using this season. They seem to be well organized at the back and given that Ozil, Ramsey and Sanchez were absent they attacked well. Rob Holding seem to be a good defender for them and they were patient while trying to attack.
Antonio Conte was without Eden Hazard, Bakayoko but still they didn’t put in a Premier League champions performance and they were all over the place. The Midfield of Kante, Fabregas and Bakayoko needs to be sorted out quickly.
Also, I noticed Conte’s men seem to struggle against opponents who uses same formation as them or a team that presses their back 3. Tottenham, Manchester United and Crystal Palace last season pressured their CBs and they found it difficult to switch tactics.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE MATCH?