A surprisingly attacking display from Chelsea which led to the game being more stretched vertically than I had anticipated.
In terms of the individual performances of Arsenal’s players during the clash:
Arguably Arsenal’s best on ground as he displayed his shot stopping skills to great effect (stopping 5 shots on target). Despite the plethora of Chelsea crosses, he handled them with assurance.
A quiet day for Bellerin defensively as his opponent Alonso, failed to dribble at the young Spaniard or attempt any crosses. Alonso was able to attempt 3 shots on goal though, 1 of which was on target. This was reflective of Bellerin’s struggle to track Alonso when he cut in field. Offensively, he was very poor with no forward dribbles and just the 1 attempted (albeit inaccurate) cross.
A relatively quiet day defensively for Chambers too, as Hazard struggled to influence the game (only 2 successful dribbles, 1 (off target) shot on goal, and 1 accurate through pass). Consequently, Chambers didn’t have many tackles (2), interceptions (0) or aerial duels (2) to make/win. What really impressed me with Chambers’ performance though was his no nonsense approach to defending which was reflected in a whopping 9 clearances.
Another solid albeit passive performance from Mustafi. His defensive positioning was very good, which was reflected in his 3 interceptions for the match, he took a no nonsense approach to his defending with 9 clearances and he was strong aerially with 5 successful aerial duels (to Morata’s 1). My only criticism of his performance was (like in his previous match versus Chelsea) his lack of aggressiveness. He was too passive in his defensive approach which allow Morata opportunities to strike on goal on at least 3 occasions (one of which was on target).
Like Chambers, it was a relatively quiet day defensively for Holding, as his opponent Drinkwater really struggled (only 1 successful dribble, 2 (off target) shots on goal, and 0 accurate through passes). While his defensive positioning was solid (2 interceptions), Holding could have been more aggressive in his defending when Drinkwater did venture forward (0 tackles). Aerially he was solid (2 successful aerial duels) though not particularly challenged.
LWB: Maitland Niles
An underwhelming tackling performance by Ainsley (0 tackles for the match), as his opponent Moses dominated him (4 shots (2 of which were on target), 1 successful dribble, 4 crosses). Positionally he was okay with 2 interceptions but his defensive unsuitability to the left wingback role Wenger has shoehorned him into was again evident. Offensively he was poor with just the 1 successful forward dribble and 2 attempted (albeit inaccurate) crosses.
Great defensive positional play from Xhaka (3 interceptions) but he struggled to stop his opponent Kante when he surged forward (1 tackle). Offensively, his passing accuracy (83%) was very good, though he wasn’t creative or risky enough with the ball (no attempted through passes). He did though show some goal scoring intent and accuracy (1 out of his 2 shots was on target). However, he needs to shoot more frequently.
Not quite as good as Xhaka, but Wilshere’s defensive positioning was still solid (2 interceptions for the match). While his opponent Fabregas wasn’t particularly influential (1 shot on goal, no dribbles and no attempted through passes), Wilshere needed to be more aggressive in his defence (0 tackles) to unsettle his opponent. Offensively, his passing accuracy (93%) was fantastic and his through pass to Lacazette was beautifully weighted. That said, he offered no threat on goal (0 shots) and overall he wasn’t creative enough with his passing (just the 1 attempted through pass for the match).
A good performance from Iwobi, who has come in for a lot of unfair criticism in recent weeks. Both of his shots were on target and he had 3 forward dribbles for the match. His 86% passing accuracy was also very good, though like his midfield colleagues, he failed to show any real creativity with his passing (no attempted through passes for the match).
Welbeck was about as useful as tits on a bull (as the saying goes). Offered very limited goal threat (only 1 attempted and off target shot for the match), attempted no through passes and made just the 1 forward dribble. His passing accuracy (83%) was his only saving grace. A poor choice by Wenger.
Another difficult match for Lacazette as the likes of Bellerin, Xhaka, Iwobi, Wilshere, Welbeck and Maitland Niles again failed to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for him. The only exception was Wilshere’s beautifully weighted through pass, which the Frenchman should have at least hit the target with. I have a feeling he is regretting joining the Gunners (at least while they are being managed by Wenger) and not waiting for Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban to expire.
Another match in which Arsenal’s midfield and wingbacks struggled to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities for Arsenal’s centre forward, despite Chelsea’s attacking ambition. Defensively, the midfield continues to be porous and the back line again struggled to assert their presence when required to absorb pressure in their own half. But for Ospina and some poor finishing from Chelsea, this could have been another humiliating defeat for the Gunners.