Some might say it was refreshing to see Chelsea lined up on a 4-2-3-1 rather than the usual 3-4-3 schedule. But all the goodwill of this would be gone once we saw Chelsea at their best, even if we weighed the usual pre-season rust.
Arsenal were the best team on the pitch from kick-off and they continued to dominate throughout the first half. With sharper passes, better moves on and off the ball and the Blues unable to fill the gaps in a back four, the Gunners easily found scores via Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard at minutes 15 and 36 respectively.
Back at the 3-4-3 in the second half, Chelsea were much better. Playing with a familiar tactic helped the team just as much as Arsenal didn’t like to score as much as they did in the first half, with the Blues dominating possession but not doing nearly enough to create chances against their opponents tonight.
And while Arsenal had done little in the second half, a hard enough push from the Gunners was enough to give them a third goal tonight. Bukayo Saka scored on the rebound after Mendy made two saves in a row.
Unfortunately that was not all for us. Off a cross from Cédric, Sambi Lokonga scored Arsenal’s fourth on a nearly free header in the last minute of the game.
- First half XI (4-2-3-1): Mendy | James, Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Emerson | Gallagher, Jorginho (c) | Mount, Sterling, Havertz | Werner
- Back to the 3-4-3 at the start of the first half, with Malang Sarr, Thiago and César Azpilicueta in the back, and Reece James and Marcos Alonso at fullbacks. Christian Pulisic, Mateo Kovacic, Michy Batshuayi, Hakim Ziyech, Ethan Ampadu, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kalidou Koulibaly were the ones who picked up the subs in the second half
- Timo Werner always tries his best, but some days his best just isn’t good enough for us
- Trevoh Chalobah had a scorching day on the field before leaving the field due to injury. Hope all is well with him!
- Conor Gallagher was (rightly) the subject of much praise in our first pre-season game, but his brightness waned against Charlotte and today against Arsenal. Hope is not all lost, but this was still quite hard to take in
- Hello, Kalidou!
- Following: Udinese at Stadio Friuli in Udine, Italy, as our last pre-season match