The typical Arsenal Sunday….winning at Wembley. The Community Shield ended in a 1-1 draw (4-1 to Arsenal on penalties). Arsenal controlled the first half: creating the best chances and hitting the post, we looked a step ahead of Chelsea being faster and sharper on the ball. However, the second half started poorly conceding a goal from deficient defending. Nevertheless, as the game advanced Arsenal found the form of the first half, and when Pedro recklessly fouled Elneny to give away a free kick and red card, Arsenal’s new signing Sead Kolasinac (the Bosnian Beast) headed home making it 1-1. When it came to penalties the Arsenal players who stepped up were oozing with class and confidence. Slow and calm were their run-ups, burying their penalties convincingly, however, the same cannot be said about Chelsea… a wild second penalty blazed over the bar by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois set a tone of things to come. Morata was up next. The Spanish striker who arrived for a colossal transfer fee worth around £70 million had the job of damage limitation, he put the ball wide left and gave Arsenal two penalties to win. Both were converted emphatically.
Onto the player ratings:
Petr Cech – 7
Petr Cech had a rather average game if truth be told. In the first half a couple of routine saves were made and he was quick of his line to clear the Chelsea through balls. The careless Chelsea goal we conceded was no fault of Petr Cech’s. Not making any spectacular saves in the game and never saving a penalty for Arsenal in his career, Cech was under a lot of pressure to deliver now where he had not before…penalties. Regardless of the Chelsea missed penalties, Cech did not make a save and that is why his rating wasn’t higher; with no great contributions to the game and no detrimental faults Cech deserves a solid 7.
Per Mertesacker – 7
Per Mertesacker, the hero of the FA cup, found himself at the heart of the Arsenal defence once more as the club prepared to face Chelsea at Wembley. In the first half Mertesacker defended competently, being sharp to intercept passes and solid in the tackle. However, Mertesacker’s game was cut short by a ‘stray’ elbow from Gary Cahill. Mertesacker received a good 7, if he had played the full game at that level he would’ve been looking at a higher rating.
Rob Holding – 7
Rob Holding, the Arsenal cult hero of last season. Arriving for a diminutive price tag of £2 million, no one expected him to breakthrough with the confidence and mastery we saw last season. Nonetheless, he did, and today he had another solid performance. He did nothing to excel his rating, such as: his burst runs brought midfield or his efficient long balls from the back. However, he was composed on the ball and defended proficiently. Once again Holding’s performance was a good performance but he did nothing to boost his score.
Nacho Monreal – 6.5
Monreal is a favourite of the fans. The full back turned centre half has impressed fans during his career at Arsenal, with strong defending and a fierce passionate love for the club, he is a great player to have in the squad. Although today, Monreal was fairly quiet. Making little mistakes and being composed on the ball, Monreal is another who had a rather average game and for this reason he recieved a 6.5.
Hector Bellerin – 4
Hector Bellerin, the speedy attacking full back failed to impress. Bellerin who seemed to lack match sharpness: possessing a poor first touch and lacklustre passing, he displayed one of if not the poorest performances of an Arsenal player. Bellerin’s heavy first touch lead to a penalty shout for Chelsea as he lunged in clumsily and slightly clipped Willian who was booked for diving. Bellerin too was partly at fault for the Chelsea goal, failing to track his man giving Moses a close range finish. Bellerin has lost his place in the first team to the Ox and following today’s performance I would not expect that to change.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7
Chamberlain enjoyed a good first half, displaying his explosive burst of pace and sinuous runs on the ball, he caused havoc for the Chelsea side. Although, Chamberlain’s final pass let him down today: over hitting many through balls and failing to execute his normally excellent crossing (most were with his weak foot due to playing at LWB). However, his performance in the second half began to dwindle and meant he received a rather solid 7.
Mohammed Elneny – 7
Mohammed Elneny, the Egyptian midfield workhorse at Arsenal was gifted a platform to impress, with players like Ramsey, Wilshere and Coquelin all missing. Elneny took full advantage and had a great game. He implemented composed passing in midfield and endless running around never giving a Chelsea player time to breath. Elneny is a player struggling to fight his way into the first XI and I struggle to see him doing that this season. However, he had a good performance and deserved a solid 7.
Granit Xhaka – 9.5 MOTM
Granit Xhaka, the Swiss midfield general conducted today’s performance. Having being on the receiving end of much criticism last season the Swiss leader exhibited a perfect array of passing and was the composer of Arsenal’s attacks. Xhaka had 106 touches:
- 98 passes
- 100% pass completion
- 1 exquisite shot
- 1 assist
Xhaka, the deep lying playmaker that Arsenal fans have been dreaming off arrived for a price of £35 million. Should he continue this vane of form that price tag will appear minuscule in value for money. The 0.5 from his stellar performance was the fact he was slightly at fault for the first goal with a poor clearance.
Alex Iwobi – 7
The young Nigerian Forward who broke onto the scene in 2015, struggled to retain his starting position last season. However, the Community Shield offered him the opportunity to make a statement. Iwobi contributed to Arsenal’s intricate passages of play, carrying the ball forwards with pace and taking it past players creating opportunities for himself and teammates. Iwobi forged a good opportunity for himself in the first half, but, his finish let him down (something he will have to work on if he is to become a star). Iwobi went quiet in the second half and was replaced around the 70th minute. Iwobi merited a 7 rating because of his high pace tempo in the first half but did nothing to push it any higher.
Danny Welbeck – 7.5
Danny Welbeck played brilliantly. Exhibiting his hard work ethic and physical presence in the first half he put in many crunching tackles and pressed hard and fast on the Chelsea defence. Welbeck linked up nicely with new signing Lacazette and created a chance for him which hit the post. Welbeck played with a hunger and a point to prove and within the match he began to show glimpses of the player we all dreamed he would become.
Alexandre Lacazette – 8
The classy French man compared to Arsenal legend Ian Wright produced his best performance in an Arsenal shirt yet. Composed on the ball and executing a number of brilliant passes in the final third Lacazette looked the part. Lacazette was always not far from the goal, the sign of a lethal poacher. His intelligent movement freed himself from defenders, as he is a forward with the hack of finding space in congested penalty areas. Lacazette showed the signs of a 20+ goalscorer, hitting the post from a shot just within the box, a good first touch and firm finish he looks like the clinical striker Arsenal have being in the hunt for since Robin Van Persie. Lacazette was impressive, dropping deep to receive the ball and on the half turn moving the ball on quick and effectively. He crafted chances for teammates and almost had a dream debut with a wonderful curling effort that struck the post. A well deserved 8 and promising performance.
Sead Kolasinac – 8
The Bosnian Hulk more than lived up to his name. Producing a physical performance after steamrolling through many Chelsea players. Kolasinac is a player Arsenal fans have been calling out for the club to sign. A strong, physical player who can put in a fight against the biggest players in the league. However, Kolasinac is not only brute strength, but, he also posses the attacking adroitness to be a threat going forwards and to fit into an Arsenal system. Kolasinac defended firmly, and settled in well when he came on as a replacement to the injured Per Mertesacker. Kolasinac graced his debut with a great header to equalise the game, a goal that proved to be detrimental to the victory. Kolasinac looks to be an outstanding addition to the side on a free transfer and could become a fan hero.
Olivier Giroud – 6
Giroud was quiet when coming on, with little touches on the ball and not posing a threat to the Chelsea defence he was rather ineffective. However, when Giroud got the ball he linked up well with short passing and link up play in the build up to attacks. Giroud wasn’t provided sufficient enough service to criticise his performance on chances, but he did not have a considerable influence on the game since being brought on. Regardless, Giroud scored the winning penalty impressively.
Theo Walcott – 6
Theo Walcott too was quiet since being introduced to the game. He linked up well with fullback Hector Bellerin, however, he failed to impact the game having his one shot blocked before reaching the goal. Nonetheless, Walcott was a problem to the Chelsea defence, he injected pace and intelligent movement in behind and stretched the Chelsea side. Walcott also scored the first penalty for Arsenal with a powerful strike into the top corner.
Reiss Nelson – 5
Reiss Nelson was a late substitute. He never had long enough to make a great impact on the game. However, he did show the crowd a glimpse of his spectacular ability. When he received the ball his touch was good and transition into attack was smooth, he received a 5 as he did well with what little time he was given.
TheArseView (@TheArseView twitter)