Saturday, October 16

Arsenal release pressure on manager Mikel Arteta with victory over Chelsea | Football


To put the scale of this shocking result in some sort of context, Arsenal had been able to score four goals in their previous 10 Premier League games, a sequence that had earned them five points. It had the club in its worst start to the season since 1974-75 and the coach, Mikel Arteta, in crisis. One of the big pre-game questions was whether Arsenal were in a relegation battle.

This was a restorative result and performance, with the Arteta team’s bold selection paying a rich dividend. He gave the first league appearances of the season to Pablo Marí and Emile Smith Rowe and a first start in the competition this time to Gabriel Martinelli. Smith Rowe emerged with honors, leading from his 10th role.

Arsenal were in control at half-time, and Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty was followed by a free-kick from Granit Xhaka, one of the players Arsenal fans love to hate. Upon his return from suspension, Xhaka was excellent.

Bukayo Saka got the third and the crazy thing was that Arsenal could have scored more, with Martinelli working Édouard Mendy and Lacazette almost punishing the goalkeeper for a loose pass. Mohamed Elneny also rang the crossbar.

It wouldn’t be Arsenal without a wobble. After Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham had converted a cross from substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi – the goal came when VAR canceled an offside against Abraham – the visitors won a penalty in the 90th minute when Marí fouled. on Mason Mount.

They couldn’t screw this up, could they? Bernd Leno, however, saved Jorginho, another understudy, and eventually Arteta was able to sport a wide smile at full time.

There was energy in Arsenal from the start and a clear chance at 44 seconds when a Héctor Bellerín cross bounced off Thiago Silva’s head and broke for Martinelli. He couldn’t get his body shape right and scratched himself.

Chelsea are settled in their system with Frank Lampard clear about the identity of his favorite staff, but turmoil seems to be standard for Arteta these days. He had to deal with the absence of most of his Brazilian contingent, with David Luiz and Willian sick and Gabriel forced to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who has registered a positive Covid test.

Mount brushed the outside of the post for Chelsea with a curly free kick in 12 minutes after Xhaka dropped Christian Pulisic, but the first half was almost all Arsenal. They were up front, asking all the questions.

Arteta had returned to 4-2-3-1, having started 3-4-3 in the previous three games, and it was surprising to see the youngster on his line of three behind Lacazette. From right to left, they were Saka, 19, Smith Rowe, 20, and Martinelli, 19.

Smith Rowe was unfazed by what was a massive challenge, running hard and looking for openings, although he softened his lines in the 25th minute when he positioned himself gloriously, allowing a low cross from Bellerín from the right to cross his body and fail. a clean. contact with his left foot.

Arsenal went ahead and went ahead when Kieran Tierney, who, like Bellerín, advanced from his wing position, gave a good first touch after a pass from Xhaka to cut inside Reece James. Tierney knew that the slightest touch from James would turn into a penalty. He felt it and went down and if it looked a little soft the law of these moments is in contact. Lacazette’s conversion was impassive.

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The second goal had to do with Xhaka’s technique. Saka’s slash inward had forced N’Golo Kanté to trip over him and when Xhaka assessed the free throw, his sights were fixed on the near upper corner. She chose it with a beautifully flown left foot that had Mendy clinging to the air.

Lampard had a face of thunder. He sent his team early for the second half and Mateo Kovacic and Timo Werner did not reappear. The pair hadn’t made anything happen with Werner without a lot of confidence, but Lampard had a lot of options when it came to who to hook.

Chelsea picked up the pace and they looked a bit better and yet were 3-0 down when Arsenal broke the forehand through Bellerín and Smith Rowe, with the latter driving the ball into Saka. Mendy waited for the cross, they all did, and Saka’s form seemed to suggest that she intended to cross. Did you see Mendy out of your line? It was hard to tell. The pitch was deep and their jaws dropped as the ball sank at the far post.

Arsenal went for more, with Martinelli attacking Mendy with a kick from above, among other occasions, and Chelsea’s push was too little, too late.


www.theguardian.com

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