Blues handed AFC Wimbledon tie in Checkatrade Trophy
The draw for the Checkatrade Trophy Round of 32 has taken place, with the Blues set to face AFC Wimbledon at home.
The Blues raced into a two-goal lead courtesy of clinical finishes from Pedro and Alvaro Morata, but Arsenal had chances throughout the first half and converted two of them in quick succession to send the teams in level.
It was Maurizio Sarri’s side who showed the greater threat after the break and Marcos Alonso stroked home a well-worked winner nine minutes from time to make it two league wins out of two under the new boss.
All of the Blues’ pre-season goals came early in games, including against Arsenal in Dublin, and we repeated the trick with two inside the first 20 minutes today. The Blues were electric early on, and after Arsenal fought back to level we showed greater control in our play after the interval to deservedly secure the three points.
Mateo Kovacic and Eden Hazard were brought off the bench for the final half-hour and both showed their class as we pressed Arsenal back and seized the initiative in the closing stages. Hazard recorded another assist, this time teeing up Alonso’s winner having set up Pedro at Huddersfield, and it looks like the player on loan from Real Madrid will enjoy playing with our Belgian star.
Three different Spaniards found the net and they were all fine finishes rounding off excellent team moves that will have delighted Sarri. Morata's clever finish will give him plenty of confidence, and Alonso showed his customary predatory instincts inside the box to grab the three points.
There was plenty to admire about our attacking play, and Pedro was at the heart of much of it. He was in the right place to open the scoring, and consistently threatened drifting in off the right, sprinting beyond Arsenal’s backline or linking play on the edge of the box.
Sarri selected the same starting XI as for last week’s win against Huddersfield. Kovacic was named on the bench for the first time and was introduced for his debut on the hour.
9: GOAL, 1-0 CHELSEA: A delicious Chelsea move gives us the lead. Jorginho’s incisive pass splits Arsenal open and finds Marcos Alonso bursting down the left. He takes the ball in his stride and plays a perfect square pass to Pedro, who finishes with ease.
19: It should be 1-1. Hector Bellerin gets clear and picks out Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng who can only blaze over Kepa Arrizabalaga’s goal from a central position eight yards out.
20: GOAL, 2-0 CHELSEA: Morata races on to Azpilicueta’s long ball, cuts inside Shkodran Mustafi and sends Petr Cech the wrong way from just inside the box.
32: This time Henrikh Mkhitaryan is guilty of a bad miss for Arsenal, getting his bearings all wrong as Iwobi’s pass fell invitingly to him.
37: Goal, 2-1 Chelsea: Mkhitaryan makes amends with a fine left-footed shot from the edge of the box.
41: Goal, 2-2: Alex Iwobi equalises with a powerful close-range finish from Mkhitaryan’s centre.
57: Ross Barkley produces an outstanding moment of individual play to create space for a well-struck low drive that Cech tips round the post.
77: Kepa dives to cut out Aaron Ramsey’s cross and bravely collects it at the second attempt under pressure from two Arsenal players.
78: Kante heads Pedro’s lovely curled cross over the bar from close range.
81: GOAL, 3-2 CHELSEA: Hazard weighs up his options before beating Bellerin down the left and sending in a cross which Alonso, who had continued his run, passes into the net from inside the six-yard box.
87: Alonso, still full of running, breaks clear and picks out sub Olivier Giroud whose shot is tipped over by Cech.
The Blues travel to St James’ Park next Sunday 26 August looking to make it three wins on the spin.
Chelsea endured an afternoon of frustration at Stamford Bridge against a dogged and well-organised Everton. The Blues dominated for long periods of the second half with Eden Hazard, Willian and Marcos Alonso all going close to breaking the deadlock, but were left to settle for a point that maintains our unbeaten start to the campaign and makes Maurizio Sarri the first Premier League coach not to lose a match in his opening 12 games. The Italian will not be celebrating the feat, however, and is left to wonder how his side was unable to find a goal to win the game. Alonso clipped the outside of the post while Hazard and Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford seemed locked in a personal battle for parts of the second half, and Alvaro Morata had an effort chalked off for offside. Credit should go to the visitors too, who provided stern opposition and threatened on occasion themselves.