Arsenal ended their winless run with a fantastic win over Chelsea at Emirates on boxing day. However, the Gunners were without several key players including captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who started from the bench.
Thomas Partey continues to recover from his injury. David Luiz, Willian, and Gabriel also missed out due to COVID protocols.
Mikel Arteta dropped record signing Nicolas Pepe after a string of poor performances. In a bid to save his job, Arteta trusted in youth players. Therefore, Gabriel Martinelli, Emile-Smith Rowe, and Bukayo Saka started for Gunners.
Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea Match-Analysis:
Just like Pierre-Emile Hojberg did against Chelsea for Spurs earlier this season, Granit Xhaka and Elneny occupied half-spaces thus starving Ben Chilwell and Reece James. Without a target-man like Olivier Giroud, Arsenal center-backs Pablo Mari and Rob Holding easily nullified Chelsea’s crosses.
Mikel Arteta’s side exploited Chelsea’s full-backs lack of tracking back. Therefore likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka had loads of spaces to exploit. Arsenal’s youth players worked tirelessly thus enabling Arsenal to create overload scenarios in the attack. Arsenal full-backs were able to push forward without much resistance. As a result, Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin played a key role in Arsenal’s first and second goals.
Arsenal in the previous matches were very poor in transition with Nicolas Pepe and Willian on the flanks. Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka showed exactly why Arsenal needs to trust in youth.
Mikel Arteta’s Reaction:
Yes, I think to was a really good mixture today of senior players, experienced players, and young talent that we have. They have been showing us in the last few weeks that they are capable of starting the games and I had no doubt they would respond today and I think they were really, really good.– Arteta
It’s a really important week for us. As I mentioned before, some of the performances haven’t been enough tow-in football matches and that is something difficult to handle over time. We needed the points, that is for sure, and today we have done it against one of the best teams in the league in a really convincing way.– Arteta
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