Gabriel Magalhães header from a Bukayo Saka corner was what separated the two London clubs in a well-deserved win which saw Arsenal return to the top of the table. Going into the game, it was clear that this was a must win game, to prove we are truly title contenders as we faced another big six team. Zinchenko was the only change to the side that thrashed Nottingham Forest 5 – 0 only last Sunday, as he came back from injury to replace Tomiyasu, who was today named as part of the Japanese World Cup squad, leaving Tierney to settle for a place on the bench despite scoring a beautiful goal to secure our win against FC Zürich on Thursday which sent us through to the round of 16 of the Europa League.
Arsenal started the game strongly and Chelsea seemed comfortable to allow us to pass the ball around, but they soon settled into the game and had the first clear cut chance of the game; Havertz overhit a cross which Aubameyang could have put away. Arsenal were totally dominant but lacked the quality in the final third which left goal scoring opportunities few and far between. Martinelli curled a shot over the bar and Thiago Silva blocked a shot from Jesus which looked sure to find the back of the net. Aubameyang was the first player to be booked as he committed a nasty foul on Ben White which saw Arteta seething on the sidelines. Jesus had the best chance of the first half as Martinelli played the ball into him, but he couldn’t make the right contact with the ball and misplaced his header.
The second half was much the same, with niggly fouls and Arsenal looking the more threatening of the two sides. Jesus had a shot saved by Mendy that resulted in a corner. Saka put in a beautiful ball which somehow made its way through a very congested penalty area and Gabriel helped it on its way to the back of the net, although it looks as though it would have found its way there anyway. It was hard to tell who had actually scored the goal, as every single player celebrated as if it was them, with specific confusion between Saka or Gabriel. As our players celebrated, Potter subbed of Aubameyang who showed a shocking performance as he had made only 8 touches in the entirety of his 60 minutes on the pitch. It’s nothing personal, Auba.
Saka soon had a chance to double our lead, as did Ødegaard, but it wasn’t meant to be. Chelsea couldn’t get near us and it is always nervy watching Arsenal defend a one goal lead, but when Holding came on in stoppage time it was clear that the game had been put to bed. Ramsdale was barely tested and had an easy afternoon between the sticks.
This is our best ever start to a Premier League campaign, picking up even more points than the Invincibles season, which can only fill us with optimism and only continues to prove that we really are title contenders going in to the World Cup break. Jesus put in a fantastic shift, despite not scoring, and it is clear how vital he is to the team with his mentality and build up in game play as he gets right back to help defend and is also busy in the opposition’s box, too. Next up is Brighton at home in the EFL cup which will be a tricky game, but hopefully one we can put to bed early as we look to collect some silverware this season after being knocked out by Liverpool in the semi-finals.
Written by: Abby Goodson @_abbygoodson