The Debrief: Romelu runs the show as wing-backs prosper

Chelsea dominated Arsenal all over the pitch yesterday, and our statistical analysis highlights the performance of Romelu Lukaku on his second debut, the way in which Reece James and Marcos Alonso exploited the Gunners, and the influence of Andreas Christensen in the heart of our defence.

It was Lukaku and James who found the net in the first half, and with some more efficient finishing after the break we might have recorded our biggest ever win away to Arsenal (currently 4-1 on three occasions).

We had 22 shots at the Emirates, 15 of which were struck from inside the box. Half were blocked. Of Arsenal's six attempts, three were from range. 

Lukaku’s eight attempts was twice as many as anyone else on the pitch, with James and Kai Havertz registering four apiece.

Dominant Rom

On his return to English football, and Chelsea, Lukaku produced an all-round centre forward’s performance. Equally willing to collect passes through the lines with his back to goal or run in behind Arsenal’s backline, the Belgian’s display was epitomised by his involvement in our first goal.

Lukaku misplaced just one pass all game, with his completion rate of 95 per cent fractionally ahead of Mateo Kovacic and Christensen (both 94 per cent) and James (93 per cent). Three of his passes set up chances for others.

The striker also recorded joint-high Chelsea figures for successful dribbles (two, with N’Golo Kante) and aerial duels won (four, with Alonso).

It was the perfect reintroduction to life as a Blue and will have Premier League defences up and down the country sweating at the prospect of coming up against Lukaku this season.

High and wide

Arsenal struggled to handle our 3-4-3 shape, especially out wide where we regularly created overloads, leaving the likes of James and Alonso free.

James became the second Chelsea player to score and assist in the same Premier League away game at Arsenal, after Juan Mata in September 2012, and his five touches in the opposition box in the first half alone was the most he had recorded in an entire Premier League fixture.

On the opposite flank, Alonso played a game-high five key passes and was impressively involved in the build-up to James’s goal having combined with Havertz to open up Arsenal again.

The Spaniard showed his defensive worth, too. As well as his aerial dominance, he also made four interceptions, more than anyone else, while his three clearances were bettered only by Toni Rudiger and Christensen, who made four apiece. It’s been a great start to 2021/22 for Alonso.

Christensen in control

With Lukaku leading the line to great effect, aided by the fluent Mason Mount and Havertz either side of him, and the wing-backs pinning Arsenal back, we controlled the tempo of the game in the middle of the park.

That started with the typically calm Christensen, who played the most passes of anyone (87) at a 94 per cent success rate.

He won three aerial duels, made four clearances and, along with the equally impressive Cesar Azpilicueta, spent the most time in possession (8.4 per cent).

In fact, all our players bar Lukaku spent more time on the ball than anyone wearing red, such was our dominance. Overall, we had a 65 per cent share of possession and collectively recorded an impressive 89 per cent pass completion rate.

London derby victories don’t get much more emphatic than the two we have already recorded this season, with the added satisfaction of consecutive clean sheets at the start of a campaign for the first time since 2010/11.

More from chelsea