Undrafted – The Network
Football

Chelsea v Arsenal – Pre Season

Chelsea are back, Chelsea are back, ello, ello!

After a handful of games played by a ‘Chelsea XI’, the boys are back in town.

Chelsea play Arsenal at the Emirates, and most of the first team are back and in the team.

Champions League hero Kai Havertz leads the line alongside fellow countryman Timo Werner.

The likes of Kovacic. Rudiger and Pulisic are also back from international duty.

I’ll be doing something slightly different here, and writing a more detailed run through of the match. Anyone who missed it, I’ll try to describe it as well as I can!


First Half

As the game starts, it’s clear to see this is a Thomas Tuchel experiment. With Callum Hudson-Odoi playing left wing back, and Christian Pulisic right wing back, Tuchel is tinkering.

Game time has also been awarded to Ruben Loftus-Cheek who is back from a loan spell at Fulham, and Trevoh Chalobah back from a year on loan in France with Lorient.

10 minutes in and Arsenal are by far the better side. Aubameyang looks back to his old self, and the skilful Nicholas Pepe has come on leaps and bounds after a slow start in England.

Toni Rudiger let’s everyone know he’s back with a handful of tough tackles, and his fellow centre halves Chalobah and Zouma look comfortable.

Timo Werner is currently doing what Timo Werner does. Putting in 110%, but ultimately just struggling to find the Midas touch that he had in Leipzig.

One noticeable player from the first half has to be Ruben Loftus-Cheek. As a Chelsea fan, I’ve always liked RLC. He’s a top class talent on his day, but you have to worry when he struggles to start in a relegated Fulham side.

However, he has looked solid here, and maybe he can finally breakthrough at Chelsea after a few injuries and loan spells.

As the half goes on, The Blues are finally getting into the game, and are starting to get the magician that is Kai Havertz on the ball.

Credit; Chelsea FC (Instagram)

GOAL! In a the blink of an eye, woeful defending from Arsenal sees Werner and Havertz through on goal, and despite Pablo Mari’s best efforts, Werner squares the ball to Havertz, and the silky German slots the ball in the back of the net. 1-0 Chelsea.

OFF THE POST! Smith-Rowe unleashes a thunderous shot after robbing the ball of Kovacic, and beats Mendy, but not the frame of the goal!

OFF THE POST! This time down the other end! Hakim Ziyech weaves in and out before craftily sneaking a shot that just hits the right post, and Arsenal are let off the hook.

Refreshing to see Mateo Kovacic refusing to take the game as a friendly, as he clatters into Smith-Rowe and earns himself a yellow card. The first of the match.

CHANCE! Callum Hudson-Odoi shimmies his way past Rob Holding, and produces a shot of minimal placement, which Bernd Leno saves rather simply.

HALF TIME! Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea.

For a pre-season friendly, the first half has been electric. With nothing on the line, both sides are seemingly letting their hair down, and it’s been end to end thus far.

Second Half

As you’d expect in a ‘friendly’, both teams make a number of changes. Arsenal hand a debut to new signing Ben White.

Thomas Tuchel brings on Tammy Abraham, Davide Zappacosta, Malong Sarr, Danny Drinkwater and Dujon Sterling.

Chelsea now have a back three filled with new faces, as Sarr – Chalobah – Sterling make up the 3 centre halves.

CHANCES! Firstly Davide Zappacosta explores the right hand side and finds Tammy Abraham in the box, who fluffs his lines and fires wide. Instantly up the other end, Nicolas Pepe jinks past a man, and shoots just wide of the target.

TERRIBLE MISS! A clever through ball from Chelsea exposes Arsenal’s high line, and Ziyech takes the ball past Leno, but tries to do too much and fails to get his shot away, despite a near open goal.

CHANCE! A clumsy foul from Zappacosta sees a free kick on the edge of the box given. Lacazette unleashes a low fizzer, and Mendy produces a top save low to his left to deny the Frenchman.

More changes see Batshuayi, Barkley, Baba Rahman, Kante and Kepa join the game for Chelsea, and instantly Barkley misses a fantastic chance which eventually falls to Baba Rahman, who gets his shot well wrong.

GOAL! A corner sees Granit Xhaka rise above his marker, and leaves Kepa stranded as the ball rolls into his bottom right corner. Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea.

Credit; Chelsea FC (Twitter)

GOAL! And just like that Chelsea are back in front! A poor pass from Hector Bellerin sees Tammy Abraham through on goal, and a cool finish slotted into the bottom corner sees The Blues back in front! Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea.

SITTER! How has Aubameyang missed?! Nuno Tavares puts one on a plate for Auba, and he misses a simple header from a few yards. Arsenal should be level.

GOAL?! Eddie Nketiah looks to have levelled for Arsenal, and seemingly goes over the line? However the officials haven’t seen it, and without goal line technology, the goal isn’t given!

CHANCE! Nketiah and Pepe are linking up excellently, and Kepa makes a great save from the Ivorian. Arsenal are knocking on the door!

Meanwhile, Trevoh Chalobah who has had a faultless 85 minutes, is replaced by Jacob Clarke-Salter, who gets 5 minutes.

FINAL CHANCE! That man Nketiah sparkles again, and puts through Aubameyang, who tries to slide it past Kepa, but slightly scuffs his shot straight to the Spaniard.

FULL TIME! Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea. A good run out for both sides sees The Blues come out victorious!

Summary

Credit; Chelsea FC (Instagram)

As always, it’s nice to see minutes given to youngsters and fringe players who are all trying to work their way into Thomas Tuchel’s 25 man squad for the Premier League.

All in all, Chelsea were good. Considering it is still the first real pre season game we’ve played, it’s a fantastic result against an Arsenal side who didn’t really have many players at Euro 2020, and therefore have had more preparation than us.

The upcoming season looks promising for Chelsea.

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