Chelsea and Arsenal met at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon in a clash which will have left fans licking their lips at the prospect, but neither side could find a way through and ended the game sharing a point apiece.
Arsenal thought they had taken the lead when Shkodran Mustafi’s header was ruled out for offside, whilst David Luiz’s late sending off provided another twist. Their draw instead gave a boost to challengers like Manchester City and United, both of whom enjoyed a rout this weekend.
These are three things that The Boot Room learnt from the game…
David Luiz’s stupidity could cost Chelsea dearly
After a commanding display in which David Luiz appeared to have shown just how far he has come over the past 12 months, he returned to his old traits with a dangerous late challenge on Sead Kolasinac in a needless and foolish tackle on the halfway line in the closing moments.
Luiz’s sending off will see him miss the fixture against Manchester City, just when the Citizens have shown their attacking prowess. Now, Antonio Conte will have to opt for Antonio Rudiger or Andreas Christensen in his place at the time when he most needed the experience of Luiz.
Arsenal’s objectives have changed
Their first clean sheet at Stamford Bridge since 2005, it was clear that Arsenal’s aim for the game was different this time. With Alexis Sanchez on the bench and players like Aaron Ramsey praising the result post-match, some fans could question whether their side were playing for a draw on Sunday.
Arsenal were well organised and could even have emerged with a win had Shkodran Mustafi been aware of the offside rule, but the Gunners seemed fairly content with merely a point. It was a valuable one, but not all will be pleased to see such a conservative approach.
Eden Hazard’s return can’t come soon enough
Chelsea knew that Arsenal were there for the taking but lacked a cutting edge to find a way through. The last time the two sides met at Stamford Bridge, Hazard ran through the Arsenal side and scored a sensational goal but this time his introduction in the second half was too little too late.
That the front three were the three players taken off by Antonio Conte said a lot about the frustration of the afternoon, with not enough quality in the final third to create something out of nothing and beat Petr Cech.
Three key takeaways from Emery’s Arsenal press conference
Emery is searching for his first win as Arsenal boss.
Pep Guardiola’s defending champions secured a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium, leaving Arsenal seeking to avoid back-to-back defeats at the start of Emery’s tenure – a tough challenge as the Gunners have not won at Stamford Bridge in the league since 2011.
Ahead of the fierce London derby, we have identified three key takeaways from Emery’s pre-match press conference.
Cech starts again
One of the big talking points, when the team was selected ahead of the game against Manchester City, was the fact that Petr Cech got the nod ahead of summer signing Bernd Leno – and it seems there will be no changes in that aspect for the trip to Chelsea.
Emery’s comments suggest that Cech’s Premier League experience gives the veteran stopper the edge of Leno and the Germany international will have to continue to wait for his competitive debut for the Gunners.
“I am happy with Petr Cech’s performance and he has lots of quality and experience. For Saturday, the decision for me is easy. Petr Cech can continue to start the match, I believe in him. If [in the future] Bernd starts, I believe in him also.”
While Arsenal suffered defeat against Manchester City, there were aspects of the Gunners performance that caught the eye and Unai Emery wants that momentum to continue in the trip across London to face Chelsea.
It seems Arsenal will not change their set-up for the match away from home but Emery is keen to ensure his side continue to play with the right pace, personality and mentality at Stamford Bridge – where they have the chance to make a statement of intent.
“When we are going to play away I want us to keep our personality and mentality because I think against Man City on Sunday, when we were losing, we kept our speed in the game. I want us to continue that and be competitive in 90 minutes and produce a better performance that Sunday.”
Big game improvements
It’s no secret that Arsenal have struggled in recent years against their ‘big six’ rivals and history at Stamford Bridge is not on their favour. Therefore, it’s clear that the Gunners need to improve in this area – and Unai Emery is aware of that.
The Spaniard’s comments do not necessarily address the latter years under Arsene Wenger but they might as well have. Emery has shown he can play the game in the press conferences but he now needs his side to improve their form on the field.
“We wanted to start well against a great team like Manchester City in front of our fans, but we lost. The result is very big, but it’s also important the way we achieve that. The difficulty is clear but I believe in our players and we need to improve in the biggest games. We lost the first game but I do not want to change our mentality.”
Arsenal fans want Emery to sell Granit Xhaka after Man City loss
Fans are demanding Arsenal sell Xhaka in the next two weeks.
Arsenal fans have made it clear throughout the history of the internet they need someone to be angry at and Granit Xhaka has inherited the crown.
With Arsene Wenger finally out, the Switzerland international has followed the likes of Francis Coquelin and Theo Walcott as Arsenal’s weekly scapegoat, a title that is tough to shake, and his performance against Manchester City did not help matters.
Poor on the ball and struggling to cope with the Citizens’ quota of stars, fans on social media quickly flocked to criticism the midfielder and demand that Unai Emery sells the former Borussia Monchengladbach man ASAP.
With Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira amongst Emery’s summer acquisitions, Xhaka has plenty of competition for his role in midfield and many fans have made it clear they don’t want to see Xhaka wear the Arsenal shirt once again.
Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen and, a few months down the line, another scapegoat may have been identified. For now, it’s best Xhaka avoids logging onto Twitter…
Xhaka never has been and never will be good enough for Arsenal FC.
— Amy AFC (@newmanqueen1) August 12, 2018
Can we sell Xhaka? @arsenal
— napolean dynamite (@BennySumerY) August 12, 2018
Xhaka looks like the inexperienced youngster and Guendouzi is carrying his dumbass through this game.
— WH (@Wilshoholic) August 12, 2018
— Charles Wilman (@Khaosan05) August 12, 2018
He’s absolute bang average!! Not worthy of the @Arsenal shirt!
— ArsenalTheSinkingShip (@Shell_DonG) August 12, 2018
Hopefully the last time we see Xhaka play for the club.
— MW (@mediocentroEN) August 12, 2018
Yes, Guendouzi has made mistakes but he is meant to be playing with experienced pro's such as Cech, Mustafi and Xhaka yet he seems to be the leader out of them all. Embarrassing.
— Mitch (@MHaywxrd) August 12, 2018
Xhaka is genuinely the worst midfielder I've seen in 25 years at Arsenal. Slow, indecisive, positionally abject, constantly invites pressure on to the team and excels at literally nothing
— Exiled Expat (@ComradeNuts) August 12, 2018
2 weeks to get rid of Xhaka, come on Arsenal unload him please!
— Gooner Rumour (@GoonerRumour) August 13, 2018
Emery’s Arsenal conference: Left-back options, Ramsey & further exits
A new era under Emery dawns for Arsenal.
Arsenal enter a Premier League season with a new manager for the first time in over two decades, with Unai Emery now at the helm in north London.
The new boss starts life in English football with a baptism of fire as Arsenal host defending champions Manchester City on Sunday, where Emery has five new signings to potentially include in his starting line-up.
Ahead of his Premier League debut, Emery spoke to the press and we picked up three key takeaways from his comments.
Maitland-Niles in defence
Arsenal begin the season with a major issue in defence, as Sead Kolasinac will miss around ten weeks through injury and Nacho Monreal is not back to full fitness after returning from the World Cup with a knee problem.
That means that young Ainsley Maitland-Niles may be thrown into the deep end due to his versatility, featuring on the left-side of a defence against the Premier League champions. Fortunately, he has experience in this position and Emery is confident he can impress.
“We want to give him confidence and the possibility to play. I’m not sure because I am going to decide tomorrow or on Sunday on the first 11, but Ainsley is the player who started the last match against Lazio.”
Arsenal fans will have breathed a sigh of relief as soon as the transfer window closed yesterday, as it brought an end to speculation that Aaron Ramsey would be sold. However, it is far from the end of the saga concerning the Wales international.
With less than 12 months remaining on his contract, Arsenal are fearful that Ramsey could walk for nothing next summer and are working hard behind the scenes to secure the 27-year-old favourite to fresh terms. Unfortunately, Emery did not have a positive update to share.
“That’s not my work. For me it’s very important he stays with us. His experience here in Arsenal and the Premier League is very important and will give us all the information and performances in his quality. Then, the contract is for speaking with the club and the players.”
Three could still leave
The transfer window has come to a close in the Premier League but the European window remains open until the end of the month, while Football League sides also have until the end of August to negotiate loan deals.
Emery named three players that could leave by the end of the month in David Ospina, Carl Jenkinson and Joel Campbell – with goalkeeper Ospina currently the closest to an exit as Besiktas try to complete a deal for the stopper.
Interestingly, Danny Welbeck was omitted from the list despite speculation that a number of sides were keen on his services and that suggests he could still have a part to play this season.
“Today, we had a meeting with the players to close all the possibilities to leave or come with more players. We only have three players: Carl Jenkinson, David Ospina and Joel Campbell, with the possibility to leave.”
Exclusive: George Williams on his Fulham spell, Euro 2016 and two year ambition
We caught up with the former MK Dons and Fulham prospect, now plying his trade for Forest Green.
Exclusive: Christian Doidge discusses new season, career highlights and transfer speculation
The Forest Green Rovers striker spoke to The Boot Room ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
Exclusive: Cardiff City’s Joe Bennett discusses his new contract; promotion and new signings
The full-back spoke exclusively to The Boot Room as he looks ahead to the Bluebird's top flight return.
Fulham24 hours ago
Three things learnt from Tottenham’s win over Fulham: Moura proves his point
Everton8 hours ago
Mason Holgate display shows Yerry Mina he has a fight on his hands
Player Analysis20 hours ago
Analysing how Toby Alderweireld performed in promising Tottenham return against Fulham
Aston Villa7 hours ago
Aston Villa’s Jed Steer treatment now looks even more baffling
Player Analysis19 hours ago
Lucas Moura proved his point for Tottenham against Fulham with dazzling display
Tottenham Hotspur8 hours ago
Early signs from James Maddison suggest Tottenham targeted the wrong man
Leeds United24 hours ago
Three things learnt from Leeds’ win over Rotherham: Roofe justifying his place
Leeds United8 hours ago
Leeds United misfit Pierre-Michel Lasogga scores twice in two minutes