Eight quick observations from Arsenal v chelsea:
- How did we give them so much space on the left? In the modern game space is everything and when we give so much away it is going to cost us. Tierney was out of position and Saka did not provide enough cover. It seemed a real tactical omission by Arteta.
- Upfront we were toothless. Martinelli is not ready for this level, Bukayo was rusty, Pepe was painfully limited on the ball. They did not get great service it should be said, but they also lacked togetherness and Lukaku-like presence. We really missed our experienced attackers today.
- ESR was good but that is relative to his age. There is every chance Emile will become a great Arsenal player but a team carrier he is not as yet, and that is why we needed Odegaard to join us, and maybe even one more creative midfielder needs to join this season. I would always play two of them.
- Lokonga had a great start and we can see his potential. He faded a bit after that but there is great hope that with him and Elneny we now have good cover for Xhaka and Partey.
- Mari and Holding worked hard but clearly struggled with the awesome Lukaku, who had the Drogba effect on our team. I thought we dealt with him much better in the second half – a real team effort at that – but then it was already too late.
- Leno was much better and he made a fab safe from Lukaku’s bullet header.
- We really have an issue with strength in depth for the CF position. Balogun, Martinelli and Eddie will have moments but, like ESR, they are not as yet team carriers. We need a second/third CF who competes with Laca (and Auba) for the most important position in the game. Hopefully this is on the shopping list.
- The boys clearly lacked confidence and there was not enough cohesion in the team, but we also lacked that vital bit of luck when we play a team on top of the wave’s crest and obviously further boosted by the arrival of the giant Belgian. Saka should have had a penalty, Rob almost scored, Saka had a poor touch in a promising position, and when these things don’t go your way, it’s just not going to happen. Let’s not read too much into this game. We will do much better when our best players are about all fit and the boys have settled down a bit.