Old rivalry, new faces. Maurizio Sarri took charge of Chelsea for the first London derby of the season and looked to improve on the Blues’ recent form against Arsenal. Two draws last season, 0-0 and 2-2, saw fans asking for more from their respective teams before kick-off.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Chelsea were without star man Hazard who was on the bench, and on-loan Mateo Kovacic also failed to make the starting 11. This allowed for Ross Barkley to attempt to make an impression after failing to kick-start his Chelsea career following a move from Everton.
Stamford Bridge has been somewhat of an impenetrable fortress for Arsenal in recent years. Chelsea have won five times and drawn three against the Gooners since Arsenal were last victorious away from home.
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6
It was a difficult home debut for Chelsea’s number one. An early save looked to settle any matchday nerves and was quiet for most of the opening 20 minutes. Positioning wasn’t great for Arsenals first goal and was too weak for Alex Iwobi’s shot that powered into the back of the net.
Arrizabalaga had a quiet second half and eventually managed to smother the ball after he fumbled Arsenals only big chance of the second half.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 7
Had a quiet first half, with most of Arsenal’s attacks coming down the right hand of the pitch. Amazing long ball to assist Morata that will be hard to beat all season. Seemed confident in possession, but vulnerable going back. A few good blocks and tackles in the first half but wasn’t the best performance from the Spaniard.
Half-time team talks seemed to have an effect on the Spanish defender. He offered more going forward and seemed to be more confident when relied upon going backwards. He made a vital tackle which denied Arsenal a way back into the game on the hour mark.
Antonio Rudiger – 7
Had a solid first half before the goals. Saw Iwobi out of the game and was excellent in possession. Found Willian and Alonso many times with inch-perfect switches and long balls. Didn’t look as promising defensively, something that has to be said for the whole of the defence in the first half. He was responsible for both goals as he switched off. This allowed Arsenal to fly past him and get the equalizer.
It was more of the same in the second half going forward. He spent most of the second half in a central midfield area, due to Chelsea’s dominance. This allowed him to grow into the game and show the fans what he is capable of on the ball.
David Luiz – 7
An average day at the office for Luiz. First half saw him make many errors defensively. He lacked focus and failed to track back when going forwards. He had a few decent shots saved including a second-half free kick that forced a save from Petr Cech.
Had a quiet second half, which isn’t particularly a negative thing. Chelsea had most of the ball which allowed Luiz to see the game out without having to be called upon by his teammates.
Marcos Alonso – 9.5
Alonso was very eager to get forward from the beginning of the match. The defender showed his chemistry with Willian, who he seemed to bounce off. He always looked as if he was going to have an impact on the game. He did just that, leaving Mkhitaryan for dead with pace before creating the assist for Alvaro Morata to double the lead.
Alonso continued to perform in the second half, picking up man of the match for his efforts. When the game looked to be heading for the third straight draw, Alonso scored in the bottom left corner with ten minutes to go. Hazard made light work of the defence before putting the ball on a plate for Alonso. Alonso looked more like a winger than a defender for most of the game. Deserved man of the match for his performance all over the pitch.
N’Golo Kante – 8.5
Kante was classic Kante today. He made great runs, perfect passes, and nearly scored multiple times. He played more of an attacking midfielder in the second half, something that Chelsea fans will be glad to see. Kante showed his class in the first half, proving he isn’t just defensive minded, creating the most chances for both teams with three.
He returned to his defensive midfield position in the second half, allowing Jorginho to dash forward and create his own chances. Was very solid in all areas of the pitch.
Jorginho – 7.5
Jorginho was very active in the first half. He picked out Alonso with a fabulous long ball, allowing him to assist Morata. The Brazilian was useful out of possession, tackling hard, and intercepting the ball whenever called upon. He distributed the ball well, showing his range of passing all across the park.
More of the same in the second half, as he probed Arsenal’s defence many times. He looked very keen to score and help his team get the 3 points they deserved.
Ross Barkley – 7.5
Barkley had a lot of pressure on him to perform, with Kovacic hot on his heels, and Hazard being the obvious choice in the attacking role. The Englishmen stepped up to the plate, playing positive football going forwards and backwards. He had a very good shot narrowly miss in the 12th minute. Barkley played some excellent one two football, and looked to play well with Pedro. He showed he can defend too, winning the ball back many times in the opposition half.
Was subbed off in the second half for Kovacic as he looked to be tired. He didn’t make many more key impacts on the game. However his first half performance was very promising.
Willian – 8
Willian showed that he is happy at the club with an excellent performance. He showed attacking flare from the start and caused problems all game. High pressing, great movement and accurate passes showed his consistency. He played wide and narrow allowing players to run behind and around him in bags of space. This tore Arsenal’s defence apart, and was a major advantage for Chelsea.
Only negative was for the Arsenal goal. He was dispossessed too easily, which caught the defence off guard allowing Mkhitaryan to claw one back. He was subbed off for Hazard midway through the second half after a good game.
Alvaro Morata – 7.5
Scored Chelsea’s second goal after Azpelicuata found him from his own half. Was a good finish after catching Arsenal’s defence asleep. The goal came 55 seconds after Aubameyang skied his shot over the bar.
Morata nearly scored again, straight after Arsenal equalised. He forced a good save from Cech who had a very busy day between the sticks. The striker had a few more chances in the first and second half before making way for Giroud.
Pedro – 8
Pedro was simply electric today. Good darting runs, making Monreal work very hard. Skipped past defenders as if they weren’t there nearly the whole game. He scored very early on, taking his chance very well. He looked likely to score throughout the game and will score many goals for Chelsea if he keeps up his form.
How Did the Substitutes Get On?
Eden Hazard – 9
Hazard made an instant impact on the game. He came on and looked fresh after a busy World Cup. The Belgian attacked whenever he had the chance, and changed the dynamic of the game. Typically, he demanded the ball of players, found gaps and chiselled away until he set up Alonso to bag what ended up being the winner. Chelsea fans will be glad that he stayed as he looked electric in the London Derby.
Mateo Kovacic – 7
Had a good 30 minutes of football and had very good chemistry with Hazard. He seemed to be cautious of committing himself going forwards, often passing it to another player and sitting off. This is something that will change in the coming weeks as he settles into life in the Premier League.
Olivier Giroud – 6.5
It is always hard playing against your old club and Giroud perhaps felt the occasion too much. Additionally he made a few chances and opportunities for his team, but failed to score when the net would normally be bulging. He will for sure perform better in future games.