Arsenal remain with zero points after their first two matches of 2018-19, losing on Saturday to Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea.
The Gunners fell two goals behind in the first half following efforts from Pedro and Alvaro Morata but Unai Emery’s side fought back to level the scoring before the break – although it could be been a lot different as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi all guilty of missing glorious chances.
That proved to be decisive in the end as Marcos Alonso’s late goal handed the Blues all three points, raising the pressure for Unai Emery ahead of another crucial London derby next weekend against West Ham. Here, we have identified three things we learnt from the game.
Unai Emery is clearly trying to implement a certain style of football upon his Arsenal side, commanding the players to put pressure on the opposition when they do not have the ball and looking to create plenty of opportunities moving forward.
With this the full-backs, who were Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin on Saturday, are given a licence to push forward in attack but that has left the Gunners extremely exposed at the back – something that Chelsea exploited at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues regularly found room to work with, particularly in the wide areas, and that is a major concern for a side that was already leaky in defence last season.
Ozil lacking confidence
Arsenal fans talked the talk on social media after Mesut Ozil’s difficult summer, rallying to support the World Cup winner, but it is clear the Germany ace needs the supporters to remain by his side as he clearly lacks confidence.
Entering the campaign on the back of a disappointing World Cup and a war of words with Germany’s Football Association, Ozil played against Chelsea like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders – similar to his display against Manchester City last week.
Ozil was certainly not the worst performer for Arsenal at Stamford Bridge but he was clearly way off his best form and Emery has a big decision to make in the weeks ahead as to whether he sticks or twists in the number ten role.
“I am happy with Mesut because he worked hard. I decided to change it because I think we needed a little more of a push in the middle, so that we couldn’t let Chelsea progress easily with the ball.”
Arsenal may have finished empty-handed in their trip across London to face Chelsea but the performance was a lot better than similar displays we have seen in recent years where the Gunners have fallen behind against top-six rivals.
Unai Emery’s side did not let their heads drop, despite missing a number of glorious chances, and earned their reward by levelling the scorer. In Arsene Wenger’s later years, it’s difficult to imagine that happening after a number of heavy performances against top sides.
That fight is positive despite the defeat and should raise optimism ahead of the coming weeks, as it is clear that Emery has a plan he is looking to install. As such, Arsenal’s woes should not be a lengthy issue and things should improve imminently.