Post-Match Report

Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea: Match report

Granit Xhaka in action against Chelsea

Chelsea -

Emirates Stadium
Premier League
Premier League
  Arsenal
   crest
Arsenal
0 2
  Chelsea
      
              Lukaku (15)
               R. James (34)
          
   crest
Chelsea
Lukaku (15) R. James (34)

WHAT HAPPENED

Our return to playing in front of a full crowd at the Emirates proved to be a disappointing occasion.

Two goals in the first half proved our undoing, and left us without a point from our opening two games of the season.

And the afternoon had promised so much more. After an absence of 533 days, attendance restrictions were finally lifted at Emirates Stadium, and the roar that greeted the kick-off was long, long overdue.

The players responded, and within moments we had our first shot on target - Emile Smith Rowe brought a save from Edouard Mendy from the edge of the area. Kieran Tierney was also getting forward down the left, seeing one cross blocked, then another cleared for a corner as Gabriel Martinelli lurked dangerously.

Nicolas Pepe also got the crowd on their feet with an incisive run down the right wing, but for all our encouraging opening, it was the visitors who took the lead.

Reece James was onside to receive the ball on the right, and his low cross was turned home from close range by Romelu Lukaku.

Twenty minutes later James appeared in a similar position up from right wing back, and this time finished himself high into the net.

Bukayo Saka appeared to be tripped in the area late in the half, but referee Paul Tierney awarded just a corner. 

We rallied again to force a couple of late half-chances, but failed to work Mendy.

The rain began to fall heavily as the second half got underway, but Saka tried to lift the spirits with a dipping shot from 20 yards that was just tipped over.

Rob Holding headed wide when well placed from a corner, but Chelsea were looking dangerous on the break.

Mikel Arteta then turned to his captain, bringing on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for his first action of the season. He forced a save from Mendy with virtually his first touch.

At the other end Bernd Leno made a superb reaction save to push a Lukaku header on to the bar and away.

It made little difference though, and we travel to the Etihad next weekend still seeking our first points - and goals - of the season. 

TEAM NEWS

There were three changes from the side that lost to Brentford last week, with Cedric, Rob Holding and Bukayo Saka coming in for Calum Chambers, Ben White and Folarin Baolgun. White was missing due to Covid, but Lokonga made his home debut, with Nuno Tavares on the bench.

Aaron Ramsdale completed his transfer in time on Friday to be included in the squad, and was also named on the bench. Fellow new signing Martin Odegaard has to wait to resume his Gunners career however, he's still awaiting his visa.

Aubameyang recovered from Covid to also be named among the subs.

WHAT'S NEXT

We travel to Championship side West Brom in the second round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, with the match kicking off at 8pm (UK time). Then we're on the road again in the Premier League to face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the early kick-off next Saturday, August 28 - before the first international break of the season.

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