I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that we lost our opening home game to Chelsea. But the manner of the defeat laid bare many of Arsenal’s problems this season. Chelsea are a better team, a more mature team and further along in the now infamous “process”. If there was any doubt about the scale of the task Arteta has on, there isn’t anymore.
Arsenal actually started the game quite brightly and in the opening exchanges looked to be holding their own. But it took just one Chelsea attack for it all to come apart. Tactically Arteta got it wrong again. Our left hand flank was an issue all afternoon, with Saka pushed too far forward to try and make something happen. This left Tierney woefully exposed against Reece James and Chelsea’s attack. As Lukaku slotted it in the feeling of Groundhog Day swept around the Emirates. Their second was again down the right this time Reece James turned goalscorer and from then we never looked like getting anything from the game.
The decision not to bring in a right back is now looking worse and worse by the day. Cedric was appalling and clearly isn’t at the required level. If Southampton let someone go, there’s a good reason for it. The less said about Pablo Mari the better, he was turned inside out by Lukaku (which will happen to a lot of defenders this season in fairness). It does prove that we needed another center back and the sooner Gabriel is back the better. But our defence is still a cause for concern.
Upfront we looked as toothless as against Brentford. Until Aubameyang came on. When Lokonga played him through I thought we were away only to see Mendy beat him to the ball and thump it clear. Should Saka have won a penalty? Maybe. Would it have changed the game? Highly unlikely. Our lack of genuine threat was a worry going into this season, with Covid and injuries already causing problems, it shows how poorly equipped we are. I felt for Martinelli upfront on his own with very little service. It can be a lonely place for a striker.
Very few. But Lokonga played well, he looks very assured and calm on the ball unlike his current partner in the middle. I think when Partey is back and alongside him our midfield will be look infinitely better. Aubameyang looked sharp when he came on which is definitely an encouraging sign and with Odegaard ready to come into the number 10 position we can all hope that we might finally start finding the net. And make no mistake we need to, sooner rather than later. After a League cup trip to the Hawthorns tomorrow we travel to the Champions and are looking at the very real prospect of 0 points and 0 goals after 3 in the Premier League *gulp*. Onwards and hopefully upwards!