A brave Arsenal comeback proved fruitless as Marcos Alonso scored a late winner for Chelsea in a five-goal thriller.
Alonso scored the decisive goal nine minutes from time as Chelsea shrugged off Arsenal’s fightback to secure a 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge. The full-back swept home Eden Hazard’s cross to make it two wins in two outings under Maurizio Sarri, whereas keep the Gunners waiting for their first Premier League point under Unai Emery.
It was a particularly galling end to the game for the visitors, who had dragged themselves level before the break thanks to Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi, after Pedro and Alvaro Morata had put Chelsea two goals to the good.
Pedro finished coolly from 12 yards after being teed up by Alonso. It was 2-0 after 20 minutes when Morata turned away from Shkodran Mustafi and fired low past Petr Cech, just a minute after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, starting as the lone striker once more, had blazed one over the crossbar with the goal gaping.
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) August 19, 2018
Henrikh Mkhitaryan produced almost a carbon copy of Aubameyang’s miss but made amends with a fine left-footed strike to get the away side back into the game And Alex Iwobi thumped high into the net from the Armenia winger’s cross managing to level the scores before the break and leave the home crowd shell-shocked.
The Blues suddenly looked in disarray and could have been behind heading into half-time had Aubameyang and Iwobi been more accurate when finding space among a ragged Chelsea defence.
It was Sarri’s men who looked the most likely to break the deadlock in a more scrappy second half, though, and they did just that with 81 minutes played, as Alonso finished with confidence following fine work from substitute Hazard.
On the other hand, 19-year-old Matteo Guendouzi had an excellent outing and looks like an exciting prospect the Spanish gaffer would love to work with in the future.
“We started shaky, I don’t know,” Iwobi said [via Daily Star].
“Maybe we didn’t know what to do. But we picked ourselves up and got going. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take all our chances.”
On Emery’s half-time team talk, he said:
“We were on a high. The message was to keep it going, keep our head and don’t lose ourselves. We fought hard for him.
“We enjoy training, everyone is buying into his ideas. It all takes time, a new manager, a new system and the fans and players know that.”
Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos has admitted that his side made it “too easy” for Chelsea
“We didn’t defend very well in the first half, all the team,” he told the club’s official website.
“It was too easy for them to come into our half and score. After that, we started to play better, we pressed better, won a lot of balls in midfield and had chances.”
“We had to score more because in the end, we lost the game.”
“We have to improve in the next game.”
Chelsea head to Newcastle United next Sunday, the scene of a humbling 3-0 loss on the final day of last season. Rafael Benitez’s side are still looking for their first victory this term.
Chelsea have started the season off excellently. We dominated against Huddersfield and managed to put 3 past Arsenal, without a full 90 minutes from Hazard or Kovacic. Give us a few more games to iron things out defensively and we will surely finish inside the top 4.
— ¹⁰ (@ClinicaIEden) August 19, 2018
Arsenal, having faced a daunting opening two weeks, will play host to a West Ham side who have lost two games out of two and conceded six goals in the process.