Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

Arsenal beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, to return to the highest of the Premier League desk and go away their London rivals in seventh. Gabriel scored the one aim after Bukayo Saka’s nook was missed by a bunch of Chelsea gamers.

Listed here are the principle speaking factors, damaged down by our writers…

Arteta and Arsenal present title is feasible

This was Mikel Arteta’s one hundred and fiftieth sport in control of Arsenal, equalling the variety of appearances he made for them as a participant, however the extra putting statistic is that this was his 87th victory — greater than any of his predecessors, together with Herbert Chapman, Bertie Mee, George Graham and Arsene Wenger, over the equal interval.

Such figures could be misleading; Graham received the Premier League title in his third season in cost and Wenger in his second. It was a special period; when Wenger led Arsenal to the title in 1998, it was with a complete of 78 factors, whereas the previous six titles have been received with totals of 93, 100, 98, 99, 86 and 93. To place that in context, Arsenal’s legendary Invincibles received it with 90.

Gabriel stabs in the one aim (Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Photographs)

Arsenal have set off at a unprecedented tempo — they’ve a degree greater than the Invincibles had on the identical stage in 2003-04 — and, if they’re to outperform Manchester Metropolis, they’ll have to keep up it.

This was the kind of assured, authoritative efficiency that tells you it’s attainable. Arsenal went to Stamford Bridge with a sport plan and, regardless of an absence of incisiveness within the first half, it’s arduous to think about they may have adopted that plan a lot better. No matter occurs over the rest of this season, their progress below Arteta since early 2021 has been enormously spectacular. 

Oliver Kay

Aubameyang fails to show a degree to his former membership

Chelsea have fond reminiscences of what Didier Drogba and Diego Costa used to do to Arsenal defenders.

Each males had been instrumental when Chelsea used to dominate their opponents and this was Pierre-Emerick Aubamemyang’s first alternative to do the identical in a blue shirt.

He didn’t go into the match in the very best of goalscoring type. Purchased from Barcelona for £12million ($13.7m) on deadline day in September, Aubameyang had simply three targets to his identify. That run got here at the beginning of final month and solely a kind of was within the Premier League.

It didn’t take Arsenal followers lengthy to inform the 33-year-old, who left on a free switch in January after falling foul of coach Mikel Arteta, what they consider him now. His first contact was booed loudly and after being booked for a late sort out on Ben White, he was the goal of a somewhat unflattering chant. The 92 targets in 163 appearances for the north London membership are clearly lengthy forgotten.

Chelsea couldn’t get Aubameyang into the sport within the first half, throughout which he had simply 4 touches of the ball — and never a kind of was a shot. There have been a few events the place Kai Havertz had a chance to cross the ball to him however bought it improper.

It stated rather a lot about Chelsea as an attacking risk that his first two interventions after the break had been clearances from his personal space.

There was one unconvincing shot that was blocked quickly afterwards, however it was no shock when he was changed by Armando Broja simply after Arsenal took the lead.

Simon Johnson

Jesus attracts clean once more

It’s nothing new this season, however at the moment was a repeat of Gabriel Jesus’s lack of medical edge in entrance of aim.

Within the first half, Arsenal constructed fantastically by way of the thirds to dissect Chelsea, with the ball discovering Gabriel Martinelli whose cross discovered Jesus for a header. The outcome? Simply extensive. The decision? Ought to have scored.

As The Athletic have beforehand reported, that is consultant of Jesus’s profession when contemplating his targets scored vs his anticipated targets.

In reality, a 900-minute rolling common since 2019-20, there have been only a few events the place Jesus is benefiting from the chance he takes, frequently underperforming his goalscoring output in contrast together with his anticipated targets.

In fact, the great factor is that Jesus nonetheless will get into these profitable positions to attain. Throughout his entire time within the Premier League, Jesus’s anticipated targets common being near 0.5 per 90 minutes means he’s getting possibilities to attain one aim in two video games.

This isn’t forgetting the all-round contribution Jesus provides — dropping into pockets of area, drifting extensive to create for others, and being a pest out of possession to forestall the opponent constructing out from the again.

Whereas Arsenal are successful video games and flying on the prime finish of the desk, Jesus’s underperformance in entrance of aim could be forgiven. If titles are on the road and the margins are even finer in the direction of the tip of the season, Jesus would possibly get much less sympathy for his lack of medical edge.

Mark Carey

Stress on Potter will mount

Graham Potter has a harder job than Thomas Tuchel to win over Chelsea followers

Changing a well-liked coach isn’t going to be straightforward, significantly when the season is already below means and also you don’t have pre-season to work with gamers.

Potter’s honeymoon interval at Chelsea ended towards his previous membership Brighton in humiliating trend final week following a 4-1 loss, however this meek give up to their London rivals at Stamford Bridge could have executed much more harm.

For a lot of the sport, Chelsea’s gamers seemed hesitant on the ball and none of their play was instinctive, not like their opponents.

That’s comprehensible. Potter is making an attempt to alter the type from the somewhat inflexible soccer Tuchel employed. The Chelsea gamers try to get used to it and him. 

Tuchel was cherished by Chelsea’s following for the exceptional Champions League win final yr. But it surely shouldn’t be forgotten he took over from a followers’ favorite in Frank Lampard, but when he tried issues, there have been no supporters to moan and groan within the stands due to COVID-19 protocols. The scrutiny on the German within the early weeks wasn’t as intense as this. By the point followers had been again within the floor, Tuchel had already justified the choice to interchange Lampard.

In saying that, getting two factors from the final 4 Premier League video games needs to be questioned and there will probably be strain on Potter to supply a a lot better displaying within the two away video games earlier than the World Cup, towards Manchester Metropolis (League Cup) and Newcastle.

Simon Johnson

Zinchenko’s roaming return

Arteta has saved modifications to a minimal this season, understandably reluctant to alter what has normally been a successful staff, however it was a simple choice to recall Oleksandr Zinchenko to the beginning line-up after a calf harm.

This was the Ukrainian’s first look in 5 weeks and solely his second in two months, which tells you one thing about how properly they’ve coped with out a participant whose arrival was felt within the opening weeks of the marketing campaign to have been transformative.

Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu have offered very completely different qualities at left-back in latest weeks, however Zinchenko brings Arsenal a special dimension in possession. For a lot of the primary half, he drifted infield into the kind of deep-lying midfield function that Pep Guardiola has requested of Philipp Lahm at Bayern Munich and Joao Cancelo at Manchester Metropolis or that Jurgen Klopp has tried with Trent Alexander-Arnold at Liverpool.

As soon as extra, the advantages of deploying Zinchenko like this had been apparent. As early because the third minute, Zinchenko discovered the area to obtain the ball from Aaron Ramsdale in a central place, taking part in a cross that launched Martin Odegaard and in the end gave Bukayo Saka the prospect to run at an remoted Marc Cucurella.

As with Alexander-Arnold at Liverpool, the method comes with sure dangers. Arguably Chelsea’s two most promising assaults within the first half got here from exploiting the area that Zinchenko had left behind him. Opposition managers will pay attention to that. However when a staff is controlling video games the best way Arsenal are at current, it’s simpler stated than executed.

Oliver Kay 

Xhaka epitomised calm, managed Arsenal

Man of the match? There have been no scarcity of candidates in pink.

BT Sport went for William Saliba and it was very straightforward to see why. He and Gabriel had been excellent in central defence, as had been Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey in entrance of them.

The entrance 4 — Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli and Jesus — all impressed in numerous methods, as did Ben White and Zinchenko with their contrasting takes on full-back play.

Briefly, it was an excellent collective efficiency. However it’s arduous to keep away from coming again to the backbone of the staff. Saliba and Gabriel excelled in each side, with the latter scoring the decisive aim, and Xhaka and Partey managed the sport brilliantly.

Even when it got here to that push-and-shove with Trevoh Chalobah in stoppage time, Xhaka appeared in management, in distinction to the hothead of the previous.

Simply consider all these instances over time when Arsenal confirmed a tender centre, significantly at Stamford Bridge. This was the precise reverse.

Oliver Kay

Chelsea left behind

As Graham Potter nonetheless seems to be to search out his greatest system and personnel at Chelsea, at the moment’s show noticed an actual lack of risk down their left flank.

With Aubameyang and Havertz drifting throughout the entrance line — significantly within the first half — there have been only a few choices for Cucurella to select when Chelsea had been constructing out down their left aspect, that means Arsenal might shut down that flank with ease and power Chelsea to assault down the fitting.

Wanting on the numbers, 44 per cent of Chelsea’s attacking touches had been down their proper aspect — the best share on that flank throughout their Premier League marketing campaign. The pure extensive risk of Raheem Sterling — coupled with Zinchenko’s superior positions from left-back — did additionally lend itself to higher exercise down that flank, however Chelsea’s assault was close to non-existent down the left.

An extended-term harm to the attack-minded Ben Chilwell has not helped, however extra broadly it’s clear that Potter’s remains to be but to constantly discover the very best stability in his staff at current.

Mark Carey

(Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Photographs)

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