By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal team at the start : Cech, Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Iwobi, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang.
On the beach : Leno, Lichtsteiner, Elneny, Torreira, Ramsey, Welbeck, Lacazette.
So one change was forced as Maitland Niles got a broken leg against City and lucky this time Monreal was fit so we got a real left back from the start. And the other was Iwobi in the place of Ramsey. That looks more a tactical change.
A first shot from Aubameyang in the first minute but too weak to really trouble the Chelsea keeper. Chelsea trying to reply with two shots from distance well over. Q good attack started by Monreal found him on the left and his cross found Özil but his flick went wide of the far post. A the other end Chelsea suddenly break and the ball goes to Pedro who puts it over the line. 1-0 for Chelsea after 9 minutes. The next dangerous attack a few minutes later but the shot from Barkley went half a meter over. Cech then has to be quick off his line to smother a ball that might have been dangerous. Chelsea’s passing was much better in the first 15 minutes and we trail 1-0.
Aubameyang in some space but the keeper can stop his shot in two attempts. Then a great attack finds Bellerin in space he finds Aubameyang but he shoots over from 7 meters out… what a miss…..That should have been the equaliser. Chelsea counter seconds later and Morata is one on one with the last defender and he rounds him and puts the ball past Cech. 2-0 after 20 minutes. It should have been 1-1 by now but if you don’t take your chances you get punished. Xhaka goes in the book for a late challenge. Lots of frustration in the tackle after losing the ball I think. Arsenal still 2-0 down after 30 minutes.
And unbelievable Iwobi cuts the ball back to Mkhitaryan who from the same position as Aubameang misses the open goal. That is two open chances missed in an unbelievable way. Chelsea gets some space on the left but Kante sees his shot blocked by a defender. Pedro then with a low shot from distance but no trouble for Cech. Iwobi getting the ball after Monreal won it in midfield and he tries to take a shot but it is blocked. It drops at the edge of the penalty area in front of Mkhitaryan who takes a shot with his left foot and the ball goes in. GOAL! 2-1 after 37 minutes.
Chelsea answering with a shot from Morata that is well saved by Cech. Arsenal continue to play better and Bellerin gives the ball to Mkhitaryan who drills in a low cross and Iwobi blasts it over the line. GOAL !! 2-2 after 41 minutes. What a turnaround and if we only had taken our really big big chances…. Guendouzi with a low shot but the keeper can stop it to his right side. Arsenal having had more shots than Chelsea in this half when I look at the stats. Iwobi to Aubameyang but the striker misses just as the ball shaves the outside of the goalpost. Mkhitaryan again with a good run and a cut back but this time Iwobi also misses the open target… from around the same position as we did before. The score after 45 minutes is 2-2 after a great comeback and after having missed 2 or 3 big chances. And I really mean big.
Torreira in the team at the start of the second half in the place of Xhaka. Umai being smart as we know and so does he maybe know Atkinson as Xhaka was on a yellow card. A first shot from Chelsea but well over. A cross from Bellerin falls between Aubameyang and Monreal and Chelsea can clear. Arsenal lose the ball after wat looked like a foul on Torreira but Chelsea can continue the attack and Kante has a shot that is blocked by the legs of Mustafi. Chelsea ask for a penalty for handball but I see no evidence of that in a replay. If it touched his hands it was a ball bouncing against the hand from his leg. Chelsea having the better start like they did in the first half. Barkley wriggling himself past a few players and Cech has to make a great stop on his low shot. Aubameyang then scores but the assistant raised his flag. He might have been centimeters offside. Still 2-2 after 60 minutes.
Arsenal having some trouble in clearing the ball then but they get it away in the end. Morata with a chance but he was clearly offside and Cech saved his shot anyway. A deflected shot from Jorginho but Cech with a good stop to smother the danger. Chelsea pushing Arsenal back most of the time now. After 68 minutes Özil comes off and Ramsey comes on. Hazard delivering a dangerous cross that goes past everyone. Torreira commits a foul some 5 meters out of the penalty area in a dangerous position. Luiz with the free kick but Cech with an excellent save. Lacazette comes on for Iwobi after 75 minutes. Score still 2-2. And Giroud comes on for Chelsea.
Lacazette to Monreal but a defender can block his shot. Then Ramsey has a low shot that is spilled by the keeper but he can cath the rebound. Mustafi gets a yellow card for a foul on Hazard. A cross for Chelsea but Kante heads it over. Kovacevic throws himself to the ground but Atkinson gives a ridicilous decision in favour of Chelsea. And seconds later Chelsea score. In stead of Arsenal having the ball high up in the Chelsea half we get called back by the ref and Chelsea can attack and Alsonso scores. As usual with Atkinson. If he hadn’t give the foul the ball would never have been there. 3-2 after 82 minutes.
Atkinson making sure Arsenal can’t win the ball back and Lacazette again being punished when he won the ball cleanly. As a result Chelsea continue to attack and Hazard is one on one with Cech but luckily our keeper saves us. Giroud then has a shot but Cech again with the save. Ramsey with a shot from the edge of the penalty area but the ball didn’t drop quickly enough and landed on top of the goal net. Only 3 minutes of added time from Atkinson. He made sure we wouldn’t have much time to score a late equaliser. Chelsea counter with 2 against 1 defender in the ultimate seconds but Cech saved it. So it stayed 3-2 after 90 minutes.
We missed the chances to have a comfortable lead at the interval. And then one moment of Atkinson changed the outcome of the match. Just a minor error somewhere in the Chelsea half (in Chelsea’s favour) but it made us defend in stead of having the chance of a attack starting deep in the Chelsea half. But as I have said before the match: with Aktinson there is no chance we would win this match.
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