Chelsea’s winning run of 4 games came to an end at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon as Arsenal left West London with a point and a clean sheet – the first time they’ve come away with anything for 6 years. None of Chelsea’s attacking threats could break the deadlock but it was David Luiz who almost broke Sead Kolasinac’s leg with a challenge that earned him a straight red in the closing stages to the game. Despite the negative result, there were some promising performances that we’ll recognise here with our Man of the Match shortlist.
A tireless performance from the once Player of the Year but it ended without much reward as his incisive dribbling and creative spark were not enough to get his side a goal. Things looked exciting for Chelsea early on as Willian linked up with Alvaro Morata to create chances right from the start but their attacking play was soon snuffed out by an inspired Arsenal defence. Another impressive partnership was between Willian and Cesc Fabregas as the two playmakers often took set-pieces quickly, looking to catch out the Gunners. Would’ve felt unlucky to be replaced by Eden Hazard but, after an ambitious effort from a short free kick, it just wasn’t his afternoon.
#2 Alvaro Morata
With each performance that the former Real Madrid man puts in, his status as a bargain grows. Despite not finding the net in this cagey encounter, his link up play was very impressive at times as he looked to create chances for his teammates, as well as finish them off himself. Morata was given some rough treatment at times and felt his was being treated unfairly by the referee as Shkodran Mustafi constantly fouled him. The one time Morata did give something back, he was penalised, so his appeals were probably justified. The service coming from Cesar Azpilicueta, which Morata has profited from since joining the club, was mostly prevented by Arsenal. The one time Azpilicueta picked out his man, Morata headed wide from an offside position.
#2 Tiemoue Bakayoko
The Frenchman added an injection of pace and power to a very subdued Chelsea team and his contribution was certainly a significant one. Before his introduction at half time, the Blues were very vulnerable to Arsenal’s attacks and looked like conceding on almost every occasion. Bakayoko replaced Pedro and played in midfield alongside N’Golo Kante, who looked a lot more confident with his compatriot on the pitch, and allowed Cesc Fabregas to have a freer role in the side. Shortly after coming on as a substitute, Bakayoko burst through the Arsenal team and turn Chelsea from defence into attack in the matter of seconds. He set up Marcos Alonso after making it deep into the Arsenal half but, like every other attack in the game, the move came to nothing. Despite a disappointing result, that performance from the former Monaco man will give Antonio Conte confidence that he’s capable of starting in the games to come.