Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea
Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea.
Full Time: Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea
Updated at 12.58 EDT
69 min “Never mind ‘diamonds in the mud’,” says Justin Kavanagh. “Arsenal are looking more like snowmen in the rain.”
Their new kit is quit smart, but.
Updated at 12.57 EDT
68 min Alonso floats towards the back post, and when the clearance reaches Kovacic, he slices high.
Updated at 12.56 EDT
67 min Lukaku is on one, and he feints to run the channel then dips back towards the ball, losing Lokonga, powering away, and wearing the hack that earns his assailant a yellow card. Free-kick Chelsea, 30 yards out…
Updated at 12.55 EDT
66 min Oh dear, more misery for Arsenal: Tierney has hurt hissel, an ankle I think, so Tavares replaces him. He’s meant to be good….
Updated at 12.54 EDT
64 min Mendy has made such a difference to Chelsea, and when Lokonga charges forward, Christensen steps up, allowing him to play the pass in behind for Aubameyang. But the keeper is wise to the ruse, charging out to hump clear.
Updated at 12.53 EDT
63 min While I was typing that, Aubameyang thrashed a snap-shot directly into Mendy’s midriff.
Updated at 12.52 EDT
62 min “Let’s not forget that Chelsea had a transfer ban the year before their splurge and sold Hazard for £100m so they were doing two years spending in one and had cash in the bank,” says Hugh Molloy. “Their net spend over the last three years has been average £60m per year. Nothing outrageous. This year, for example, Chelsea sold Tomori and Abraham for £60m and then topped that up with less than a Ben White to buy Lukaku.”
Yes, but they’ve got the financial wherewithal to basically run a football club and a talent agency, and even the year of the transfer ban, they got Kovacic and Pulisic, plus Mount and Abraham back from loans.
Updated at 12.51 EDT
61 min There’s a minor scuffle between Mount and Holding, which the ref defuses, then Arteta sends Aubameyang on for Saka, who can’t be fit enough for a a full 90.
Updated at 12.49 EDT
60 min Have a look! Mari knocks a corner back across and Holding is right there, six yards out! But looking to glance into the side-netting, he instead sends his header wide! That is a bad, bad miss.
Updated at 12.48 EDT
58 min “Silver lining for Arsenal,” emails Philip Massam. “If there is one, it’s that Jose is not available to take over right now…”
I think they’ll stick with Arteta if they possibly can, but their next league game is Man City, so if they lose that and have 0 from three, he’ll be under pressure for the games after that.
Updated at 12.48 EDT
57 min Arsenal’s frantic second-half start encouraged Chelsea to keep the ball, and they’re now back in charge. A switch sees James in possession and he squares for Lukaku, who touches off … and Mount drills wide.
Updated at 12.45 EDT
55 min Azpilicueta ventures forward and swings a shin-high cross at Lukaku, who spins and tries to volley, the resultant block earning Chelsea a corner. It comes to nothing, then, when Havertz goes for the line, Holding unloads him very nicely.
Updated at 12.44 EDT
54 min “Such contrasting benches for the two teams,” says David Howes. “Chelsea have so many options to control or chase the game as the 90 minutes pass, but Arsenal, where are the game changers? I love youth in a team, and Arsenal should be commended for this bravery, but it seems naive and indicative of a poor transfer approach over the years. Maybe this year is trying to arrest that, but I doubt it will on the showing in these first two games.”
It’s making a virtue out of necessity, I think – Arsenal’s owners won’t pay for established stars, so youth is what they’re left with.
Updated at 12.43 EDT
53 min The corner comes to nowt, but you probably guessed that.
Updated at 12.41 EDT
52 min Arsenal win a corner down the right but for some reason take it short – I don’t know, it’s hammering down with rain, why not put Mendy under pressure? But the ball ends up with Saka outside the box, and he drives a shot that flicks off Alonso and rears up, forcing Mendy to tip over!
Updated at 12.40 EDT
50 min Arsenal are pressing Chelsea’s defenders and look to be playing with more energy than in the first half. They don’t have loads on the bench, so I doubt it’ll be too long before we see Aubameyang, depending on how fit he is.
Updated at 12.39 EDT
49 min “Two oil clubs?” asks Geoff Saunders. “Who? City, yes. Since I’m guessing that other two clubs you mention are Man Utf and Liverpool you must be suggesting that Chelsea are owned/run by or for an oil company. They are not. They are owned by Roman Abramovich who has no connections with any oil company. He no longer has contacts with the aluminium company he made a fortune from either.”
Abramovich made £7.4bn selling Sibneft to the Kremlin.
Abramovich sells his last big stake in Russia to Kremlin
Updated at 12.38 EDT
47 min Lukaku finds himself inside the box and jinks in search of space, but the defenders serried in front of him block the various shooting lanes.
Updated at 12.36 EDT
46 min “If you lose the opener to a club just promoted,” says Billy Graboso, “then follow that up by getting out-managed in the first half by another London side, I’d say Abramovich would’ve sacked Arteta at half time. And that’s the difference between these two clubs since Mourinho was sacked in 2007.”
Sort of. Abramovich is ruthless, but the biggest difference between these clubs is their respective exchequers. Chelsea can do what they like because they can spend their way out of any situation in which they find themselves – as they did last summer.
Updated at 12.35 EDT
46 min We go again. Can Arsenal find something?
Updated at 12.33 EDT
“Ben White has had an excellent first half,” returns Charles Antaki.
He has, Lukaku in this kind of form is a good one to miss.
Updated at 12.33 EDT
“I‘ve got no dog in this fight,” tweets Kevin Simons, “but that is a penalty. James made no effort to play the ball and instead just flattened Saka. Outside the box and the ref blows his whistle without hesitation.”
Similarly, Druj Pepper says “that’s only been a penalty for 150 years, so you can see why there’s confusion”.
I’d have given it because I think James turned contact into a shove – it looked a penalty to the naked eye – but I can see why it wasn’t overturned and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s also worth noting that along with the officials, none of Roy Keane, Sol Campbell and Graeme Souness thought it was a pen, and theirs are opinions to which I’d pay attention.
Updated at 12.29 EDT
For last couple of decades or so, being an Arsenal fan has meant learning to sift diamonds out of the mud,” emails Kári Tulinius, “though in recent years that has required ever finer sieves. The feeling now is that if any gems can be found, they’ll be semi-precious at best, and small.”
Yes, agree with that – lots of players they’ll want to sign will have better options. There are always those who go under the radar, but finding them is hard.
Updated at 12.26 EDT
“By any objective analysis Arsenal are a mid-table club,” says Mary Waltz. “Virtually every pundit thinks so. But Arsenal fans act as if they are a top four club underperforming, so they are enraged. Gooner fans, embrace reality, you will sleep better.”
I’d baulk at bracketing every Arsenal fan together, but they were a top-four club for a long, long time, their fans pay top-four prices to watch them play, and I daresay they have players on top-four bunce. But the competition at the top end of the table is brutal these days – the two oil clubs and the two most famous clubs are all in good shape, which is difficult for anyone to combat.
Updated at 12.31 EDT
Half-time: Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea
Arsenal had an alright first 10 and last five, but this is men and foetuses, I’m afraid.
Updated at 12.19 EDT
45+1 min “Ridiculously early but Lukaku is looking like the spear tip Chelsea has been missing,” reckons Jason Graff. “Everything seems sharper and more focused about their play.”
Yup, he’s a near to a sure thing as you can get, but I think the play is also better because Tuchel’s had more time to implement his ideas, and his team are playing with the swagger of European champions.
Updated at 12.18 EDT
45 min There’ll be two additional minutes.
Updated at 12.17 EDT
44 min It’s now raining in north London, and Arsenal win a corner. Chelsea don’t get it away, so the ball comes back, swung towards the far post by Cedric, and when Mari heads back, Smith Rowe misses with his volley before indulging in a row with Rudiger, who bodychecks him. Holding is booked.
Updated at 12.16 EDT
43 min Are Arsenal coming? Another pass in behind, this time by Saka for Martinelli, gets the crowd up … but Martinelli’s spin, aimed at getting him facing the right way with the ball in stride, is heavy, allowing Rudiger to intercede.
Updated at 12.14 EDT
41 min Hello! Pepe slips a sumptuous ball in behind James that megs Azpilicueta on its way through, and James turns, ushering Saka to the turf deploying the outermost margins of the laws. The ref says no penalty, and that’s just about the right call though had he adjudged to the contrary that’d also be fair enough.
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (L) appears to be tripped by Chelsea’s Reece James (R). Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA
Updated at 12.41 EDT
40 min Mount isolates the ailing Mari, diddling him inside then out and standing up a delicious cross that’s just too high for Lukaku.
Updated at 12.11 EDT
39 min Smith Rowe spreads left to Tierney – who, I meant to note, was in a terrible position for the goal, nowhere near James. Anyway, he crosses snd the ball springs up off Lokonga, but Smith Rowe can’t connect to turn it home.
Updated at 12.10 EDT
37 min Chelsea are a proper unit. They know what their jobs are, and they’re really good at creating space, something with which they struggled last season.
Updated at 12.08 EDT
36 min Arsenal are in an absolute world of trouble. There’s no reason to think this isn’t getting worse, no reason at all.
Updated at 12.07 EDT
GOAL! Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea (James 35)
Havertz and Alonso combine nicely down the left, Alonso sending a square pass into Lukaku. He doesn’t control it, but a desperate tackle opens the space for Mount to punch the ball one more, to James on the right of the box. He takes a touch to control, then hammers a rising outswinger past Leno almost free-kick-like.
Chelsea’s Reece James scores their second goal.
34 min After half an hour of getting knocked about, Mari and his fringe plough through Lukaku. He and it are booked.
Updated at 12.04 EDT
32 min It’s gone a bit quiet, which won’t upset Arsenal. But they’re still trying to link defence with attack … but as I type that, Smith Rowe appears on the right, only for another cut-back to miss everyone.
Updated at 12.04 EDT
31 min And here he is now, finding space down the right before cutting back behind his onrushing mates.
Updated at 12.02 EDT
30 min We’ve not seen much him so far today, but it’s a matter of time before Havertz explodes – in a way, he reminds me of a young Ronaldo, willowy, tall and strong. I’m not sure if it’ll be this season, but it will be.
Updated at 12.01 EDT
29 min I think Pepe is on the right, with Saka on the left – presumably because Artetz wants him linking up with Tierney. Anyhow, Arsenal muster what I suppose we can call an attack, Lokonga lamping a shot that flies miles away from anywhere.
Updated at 12.00 EDT
28 min Mount feeds a cunning little pass into Lukaku, who quickly controls then slams an instashot into the nearest defensive body.
Updated at 11.59 EDT
27 min It’s been quite some time since Arsenal did something of note – round about 15 years .
Updated at 11.58 EDT
25 min This Chelsea kit is very poor indeed. It reminds me a bit of the picnic blanket Man United wore in 12-13 and a bit of a Mexico kit from France 98 – though that was a classic.
Updated at 11.57 EDT
23 min Chelsea are playing like the European champions, not tearing Arsenal apart with football but sonning them off with confidence. And here come Chelsea again, Havertz swinging a switch out to James, who has Lukaku in the middle! But he opts for the cut-back, and Havertz’s shot is blocked while Lukaku finds his ignoration every bit as hilarious as you’d expect.
Updated at 12.02 EDT
21 min But hello! Jorginho charges into a tackle he’s no chance of winning and Pepe sticks the ball into space for Saka! He’s away at inside-left! But his first touch is savage, and Azpilicueta nips in to avert the danger.
Updated at 11.53 EDT
21 min Chelsea are dominant now and win a corner down the right which Leno punches clear. But Arsenal can’t get out, and when another cross comes in, Lukaku heads over the top.
Updated at 11.51 EDT
19 min In co-comms, Gary Neville notes that the mood in the crowd has changed since the goal, which we see again – and Mari was taught a right lesson there, pinned, spun and bodied. Ouch.
Updated at 11.51 EDT
18 min You fear for Arsenal now, because Chelsea look sharp in attack and I doubt that’s the end of their scoring for the day.
Updated at 11.49 EDT
16 min Mari just didn’t have the power to handle Lukaku there, and he was also played on the mental side too, gulled into pursuing a ball he could never win, then spun.
Updated at 11.48 EDT
GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea (Lukaku 15)
THAT IS WHAT HE DOES! Lukaku comes deep to accept a pass from Kovacic, giving it back and bursting towards the box, bodying Mari in the process. Meanwhile, the ball goes wide to James – he’s going to be a fantastic player and he’s pretty good as is – who squares for the tap-in.