Arsenal showed incredible character to secure a point against Chelsea as both sides ended the night at 2-2 in the highly intense London derby.
It was a high octane start from both sides, though Chelsea looked the more comfortable team, creating a few early opportunities. They also looked more composed on the ball and it was only a matter of time until Shkodran Mustafi committed a defensive error that led to David Luiz’s straight red for his tackle on Tammy Abraham. The resultant penalty was scored by Jorginho, giving Chelsea the lead.
In the second half, Chelsea did continue their dominance. But, a few tactical tweaks from the visiting side saw them eventually improve before Gabriel Martinelli found the equaliser, capitalising on a slip from N’Golo Kante. The Blues did manage to restore their lead in the 84th minute through Cesar Azpilicueta but that was short-lived as a stunning effort from Hector Bellerin meant both sides had to share the points at Stamford Bridge.
Here is how the Arsenal players performed in their draw with Chelsea.
Bernd Leno 7.5
Made an incredible save to deny a header from Ross Barkley late in the game. Otherwise, the German was barely tested as most of Chelsea’s efforts were straight at him. However, he could have done very little to stop Jorginho’s penalty.
Hector Bellerin 9
By far his best performance for quite some time, Bellerin showed incredible maturity right from the start. He acted in a more balancing role following Luiz’s sending off, often providing additional cover in midfield. He wasn’t exactly effective going forward but it was his accurate finish that helped Arsenal seal a late point.
Shkodran Mustafi 7
Mustafi was culpable for making the defensive error that eventually led to Chelsea’s first goal. But, the German international did well to redeem himself, making a host of important clearances.
David Luiz N/A
Had very little choice but to try and stop Abraham, who did well to capitalise on Mustafi’s mistake. An unlucky chap.
Bukayo Saka 8
Saka looked shaky during the first phase of the game. But, he improved gradually and was incredibly useful going forward, especially in the final 15 minutes. His nimble football helped Arsenal with their link-up play in the final third.
Lucas Torreira 7
It was a sloppy performance from Lucas Torreira, to say the least. The Uruguayan looked incompetent despite making a few key interceptions in the middle of the park.
Granit Xhaka 9
One of the best performers on the pitch, Xhaka’s redemption continues as the Swiss international had pulled off yet another matured display. Following Luiz’s red card, it was he who slotted into central defence alongside Mustafi. His aerial prowess and dogged defensive nature were key in preventing Chelsea from finding a clear sight on goal.
Nicolas Pepe 8
Pepe looked lively whenever he had the ball and the Ivorian deserves a lot of credit for making himself useful until the very end. His tricky football made it difficult for Chelsea to defend properly while his pace was always a bonus for Arsenal on the counter.
Mesut Ozil 6
An uneventful evening for Mesut Ozil, who was destined to be sacrificed following Luiz’s red card. He was eventually subbed off in the second half.
Gabriel Martinelli 9
Martinelli once again made a huge impact with his pace and willingness to run at defenders. Although the Brazilian wasn’t as involved in the game during the opening stages, his second-half display was the driving force behind Arsenal’s incredible comeback. His composure to score the first equaliser was simply outstanding.
Alexandre Lacazette 7.5
While youngsters like Martinelli, Saka and Pepe showed a lot of quality, it was Lacazette’s excellent hold-up play and ability to find passes that made Arsenal quite unpredictable going forward. The Frenchman deserves a lot of credit for his work-rate.
Matteo Guendouzi 7.5
Provided the much-needed support to Torreira in central midfield after replacing Ozil in the second half. His ability to play the ball forward made it easier for Arsenal during transition phases.
Rob Holding N/A
Replaced Pepe late in the game as Mikel Arteta opted for more defensive bodies.
Joe Willock N/A
A late replacement for the tiring Martinelli.
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