Arsenal threw away 83 minutes of good work to lose against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, in Mikel Arteta’s first home game in charge.
For a while, it looked like Arteta might have been able to work some early magic with his struggling squad. Arsenal came out much the stronger of the two teams and took a deserved lead over Chelsea.
They retreated into their shell in the second half, but they still looked like seeing out the 1-0 victory. Then individual errors from Arsenal’s recent saviour Bernd Leno and the two centre-backs turned victory into defeat.
Let’s have a look at our player ratings for the match.
- Bernd Leno 4 – Arsenal’s best player this season had a really bad day. The goalkeeper made a couple of mistakes in his distribution, but mostly made up for it with some saves and punches. Then he undid all the team’s good work by swinging and missing the ball to allow Jorginho a tap-in. The ball also went through his legs for the winner, though it was a close-range effort in fairness.
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles 7 – Very strong performance at right-back, didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. Maitland-Niles made six tackles, a couple of interceptions and aerial duels and played a few really nice forward passes to Reiss Nelson.
- Calum Chambers 7 – The football gods really hate Arsenal. Chambers was playing well as the team restricted Chelsea to next to no chances, and he assisted the opening goal. So he picked up an injury, that’s how it works.
- David Luiz 6 – Arguably man of the match until the final 10 minutes, when he threw all his good work away with another round of running away from a counter-attack until it’s too late. He had been excellent before that, making a number of goal-saving clearances and winning everything in the air.
- Bukayo Saka 6 – Generally dealt with the threat on Arsenal’s left-hand side well. Created a good chance for Aubameyang. He could’ve blocked Willian’s assist for Abraham, but he looked shattered at that point. Worrying ahead of the United game.
- Matteo Guendouzi 6 – Worked hard throughout, though he’ll be disappointed not to have had more of an impact in possession. When he did get on the ball he did well, but only Saka (23) made fewer passes than Guendouzi (25) from Arsenal’s entire defence and midfield. Also lucky not to give away a penalty.
- Lucas Torreira 8 – Torreira’s work in possession was about as good as I’ve seen from him. He had so many clever touches and passes and saw more of the ball than anyone in Arsenal colours. He had a slightly more mixed game defensively, but he did make a few key interceptions.
- Mesut Özil 7.5 – Generally had a great game, and it’s certainly no coincidence Arsenal’s collapse was after he came off. The team lost any remaining control they’d had on the game before that. Slightly worrying his only chances created came from set-pieces, but on the other hand, those set-pieces were very good.
- Reiss Nelson 7 – Probably his best performance since returning from injury. The winger won free-kicks and caused problems for the Chelsea defenders, and when it mattered he put in an excellent cross for Aubameyang. It’s just a shame the striker’s layoff to Lacazette didn’t quite work out.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8 – He scored the goal, should’ve had an assist for Lacazette and went close with another shot after running in behind the defence. He also tracked back excellently to make six tackles and interceptions (combined). Only Maitland-Niles made more.
- Alexandre Lacazette 5.5 – If Lacazette took his chances against Bournemouth and Chelsea there would be no justification to complain about the Frenchman playing alongside Aubameyang. As it is, he missed key chances in both games and his all-around play wasn’t good enough to make up for that, even if it was definitely better here.
- Shkodran Mustafi 5 – Everyone knew what was coming when Mustafi came on. In fairness, he did put in a committed performance, especially following a head injury by winning three aerial duels in a minute or so. In the end, the inevitable happened, as he backed off a counter into his own six-yard box and didn’t get anywhere close to Abraham for his winner.
- Joe Willock 5 – Had one good shot that went close, didn’t have any other impact, making two passes in almost 20 minutes.
- Nicolas Pepe N/A – Came on for the final moments, completed a couple of passes, should’ve gone down to try and win a penalty after contact in the box. The Chelsea players wouldn’t have hesitated to do so against us.