Match Report

Report: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 1 (Arsenal win 6-5 on pens)

Chelsea and Arsenal played out a 1-1 draw in Dublin, with a last-gasp Alexandre Lacazette goal cancelling out Toni Rudiger’s early opener, before we were beaten on penalties at the Aviva Stadium.

Rudiger had headed us in front after just five minutes before Alvaro Morata passed up the opportunity to extend our lead when his penalty was saved by Petr Cech.

The Spanish striker and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was superb throughout, both went close before the break and we were denied what would have been a deserved victory very late on when Lacazette converted from close range for Arsenal.

Both teams scored their first five penalties in the subsequent shoot-out, with Danny Drinkwater, Tammy Abraham, Victor Moses, Emerson Palmieri and Lucas Piazon successful for the Blues. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, though, was denied by Cech, and Alex Iwobi then scored to win it for the Gunners.

Willy Caballero started in goal for the Blues with both Cesar Azpilicueta, who skippered the side, and Toni Rudiger coming into the defence.

Callum Hudson-Odoi retained his place in the side after impressing in our first two pre-season fixtures and it was Alvaro Morata tasked with leading the line once again. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was among the subs.

Hudson-Odoi started the game in lively fashion and it was a direct run from the 17-year-old which led to the first opportunity. After advancing at speed from deep the youngster’s burst was thwarted, but after Ross Barkley intelligently slipped the ball back into his path, Hudson-Odoi looked up and picked out Fabregas, whose left-footed strike was tipped over by Cech.

It was from the resulting corner that we took the lead as Rudiger evaded his marker to head Fabregas’s delivery beyond Cech and into the bottom corner to give us the perfect start.
 

The pace and trickery of Hudson-Odoi was causing Hector Bellerin plenty of problems and when the Chelsea forward got ahead of him to race on to an Alonso pass and burst into the box, he was brought down by the Spaniard, winning a penalty for his team.

Morata stepped forward to take the kick but his effort was saved by Cech down to his right-hand side.

Sarri’s side, much like in the previous two matches, were playing some nice one-touch stuff, moving the ball quickly even in pressurised situations inside our own half.

At the midway point of the half, Hudson-Odoi pounced on a loose ball deep inside the Arsenal half and advanced toward goal before smartly slipping Morata through, but the striker was thwarted by the legs of Cech.

At the other end, as the half-hour mark approached, Arsenal were yet to seriously threaten as the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggled to exert any type of influence proceedings.

Those three players, however, almost combined for an equaliser as Ozil found Mkhitaryan, who fired the ball across the face of goal with Aubameyang, arriving at the far post, unable to apply the finish.

Caballero hadn’t had a great deal to do for much of the opening 45 minutes but the Chelsea goalkeeper did well to race off his line quickly in order to thwart Sead Kolasinac, who looked to get his shot away inside the box after exchanging passes with Smith Rowe.
 

Four minutes before the break Hudson-Odoi almost scored the goal his first-half performance had merited after he was put through by a clever ball over the top by Jorginho but Cech, who was enjoying a solid game, denied the youngster with another good save, before Kolasinac headed the loose ball away from goal.

Sarri opted to make a couple of changes at the break with Andreas Christensen replacing David Luiz and Danny Drinkwater coming on for Fabregas.

Hudson-Odoi continued where he had left off prior to half-time, looking a real threat every time he picked up possession. The youngster supplied one superb delivery from the left-hand side early in the second half which was bundled away by Cech before Morata could force it home, and moments later Rudiger almost scored an identical goal to his opener, this time heading inches wide from a Pedro corner.

Five further changes followed as Davide Zappacosta, Ethan Ampadu, Emerson Palmieri, Victor Moses and Tammy Abraham were introduced just after the hour. Moses, for the first time in his Chelsea career, took on the captain’s armband.

 

With 15 minutes left to play Arsenal passed up their best opportunity of the game until that point when Alexandre Lacazette, only on as a sub moments earlier, got away from Christensen inside the penalty area only to steer his shot inches wide of the post.

Loftus-Cheek was then given his first opportunity to impress Sarri when he was introduced for the closing 13 minutes, alongside Tiemoue Bakayoko and Marcin Bulka.

It was a youthful looking Chelsea team finishing the game and 18-year-old goalkeeper Marcin Bulka produced a wonderful save to preserve our advantage, getting down low to his right to palm Alex Iwobi's close-range strike away to safety in the closing stages.

Bulka did brilliant ly to deny Lacazette in added time with another fine save, but there was nothing the keeper could do as the French striker stole in at the back post to tap home from close range and make it 1-1 right at the death, sending the game to penalties.

After both teams had scored their first five kicks, Loftus-Cheek was thwarted by Cech, leaving Iwobi to score the decisive penalty for the Gunners.

We now turn our attention to Sunday's FA Community Shield against Manchester City at Wembley.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Caballero (Bulka 77); Azpilicueta (c) (Zappacosta 62), David Luiz (Christensen h/t), Rudiger (Ampadu 62), Alonso (Emerson 62); Fabregas (Drinkwater h/t), Jorginho (Loftus-Cheek 77), Barkley (Bakayoko 77); Pedro (Moses 62), Morata (Abraham 62), Hudson-Odoi (Piazon 84).
Unused subs: Green
Scorer Rudiger 5

Arsenal (4-3-3): Cech (c); Bellerin, Mustafi, Papastathopoulos, Kolasinac (Maitland-Niles 69); Elneny, Smith Rowe (Iwobi 62), Guendouzi; Mkhitaryan (Nelson 71), Aubameyang (Lacazette 71), Ozil.
Unused subs: Leno, Holding, Mavropanos, Chambers, Nketiah.
Scorer Lacazette 90+3

 

 

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