Chelsea kept up their perfect start to the 2021-22 season by cruising to a 2-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Reece James was given the freedom of the right flank for the visitors. He set up a tap-in for a debut goal for Romelu Lukaku after 15 minutes before doubling Chelsea’s lead later in the half with an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
Both sides created chances as the rain poured down in the second half. Rob Holding put a header wide from six yards for Arsenal, while Bernd Leno produced a stunning save to deny Lukaku.
Chelsea takeover gets Premier League green light
Arsenal have lost their opening two games of this campaign and are currently in the bottom three. Chelsea have taken maximum points so far and will face Liverpool at Anfield next Saturday.
Granit Xhaka of Arsenal jumps to control the ball during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on August 22, 2021 in London, England.
Image credit: Getty Images
Can Chelsea mount a challenge for the title? Given the pandemic and the general state of everything in recent years, it feels like a lifetime ago that the Blues last won the Premier League title.
It was in fact in 2016-17, although they haven’t mustered anything like a significant challenge since that victory under the stewardship of Antonio Conte. Now the European champions, guided by the impressive Thomas Tuchel and with one of the best strikers in the world just through the door, look capable of staying the course.
We’re only two games in, but this airy dismissal of Arsenal bore all the hallmarks of their championship winning teams in the 21st century. All eyes are now on Anfield, for an early litmus test against another side looking to reposition themselves at the top of English football.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
Of course he was going to settle straight back in; he’s Romelu Lukaku. Chelsea’s £97.5 million signing already had 113 Premier League goals to his name before today and required less than quarter of an hour to add another. There followed an all-round display of movement, hold-up play, incisive passes, delicate lay-offs and domination of his marker that was masterful. Pablo Mari had a torrid afternoon, and it’s likely that he won’t be the last centre half to say that after facing Lukaku this season.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Leno 7; Cedric 6, Holding 5, Mari 5, Tierney 5; Lokonga 6, Xhaka 6; Saka 7, Smith Rowe 7, Martinelli 5; Pepe 6
SUBS: Aubameyang 6, Balogun 6, Tavares 6
Chelsea (4-3-3): Mendy 6; Christensen 6, Rudiger 6, Azpilicueta 7; James 8, Kovacic 7, Jorginho 6, Alonso 7; Mount 7, Lukaku 8, Havertz 7
SUBS: Kante 6, Ziyech 6, Werner 6
15’ GOAL! Arsenal Chelsea 1 (Lukaku 15) He's done it! Lukaku gives Chelsea the lead, and it's so easy. He gets the ball into his feet and finds Kovacic, who in turn lofts a lovely pass to James, in acres on the right of the Arsenal area. James drills it across the six yard box where Lukaku arrives for a simple tap in. Chelsea walked that one in.
35’ GOAL! Arsenal 0 Chelsea 2 (James 35) It's two! Chelsea rip Arsenal open again. After good work by Alonso down the left, he squares it infield. Lukaku lets it run to Mount, who immediately shifts it to the right of the area where James is completely unmarked again. James takes one touch and lashes an unstoppably drive into the top corner!
41’ VAR PENALTY CHECK! Saka races through to catch a pass from Pepe on the left of the area, James gets his body across him and both players go over. Gary Neville thinks it's a penalty in co-comms and it's being checked...no dice. I think that's the right call, just about.
60’ CHANCE! This could be a huge miss. The corner finds Mari at the back post; he nods it back across goal to Holding who, from six yards out and under no pressure, heads it inches wide of the near post.
77’ OH WHAT A SAVE! Chelsea break again, through Lukaku and then James, before the ball finds Mount. He stands up a cross to Lukaku, who thumps a header at goal from eight yards out. It looks a certain goal, but a stunning reflex save from Leno tips the ball onto the underside of the bar and out. That is stunning.
87’ CHANCE! Excellent from Lukaku again, as he backs up the Arsenal defence and slips a ball to Havertz, who forces a point blank save from Leno at close range.
- Lukaku’s goal was his 114th in the Premier League, moving him in to the top 20 of all-time scorers since its formation in 1992.
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