Chelsea at Arsenal player ratings: First major preseason tune-up

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Chelsea’s English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek (L) vies with Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (R) during the pre-season friendly football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at The Emirates Sadium in north London on August 1, 2021. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Christian Pulisic (Right wingback): 6/10

It was another poor day at the office for Christian Pulisic. He looked incredibly uncomfortable at right wingback. To be fair to the American, he seldom plays that role, but may need to step in on a number of occasions this season in order to see more minutes. On a positive note, he grew into the game when Davide Zappacosta relieved him of his defensive duties and he was able to slot into the front three. Expect big things from Pulisic this season, regardless of what he’s displayed thus far in preseason.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Central midfielder): 8/10

Ruben Loftus-Cheek wants to stay at Chelsea and he made that known to the world through his performance against Arsenal. Fans were given a glimpse of the past as the midfielder took us back to 2018/19 when he was one of the Blues’ most important players. This was his best performance in a Chelsea shirt since those days under Maurizio Sarri. Thomas Tuchel is searching for a fourth midfielder to spend the season in his side backing up N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, and he may not have to look further than Loftus-Cheek. If the German is able to get the English midfielder back to his old self, the middle of the park will possess the weapons to overpower any in world football.

Mateo Kovacic (Central midfielder): 6/10

Mateo Kovacic provided the pass to Timo Werner that sent him down the field, leading to the opening goal. He struggled to get involved early on, but managed to grow into the game as the first half went on. Unfortunately he was subbed off at halftime, just as he began to get into the groove. Kovacic picked up a “second assist” and also a yellow card for a cheeky foul.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (Left wingback): 9/10

If it wasn’t for the brilliant (and extended) play of Chalobah, Callum Hudson-Odoi would’ve run away with Man of the Match honors. The versatile attacker started this friendly as a left wingback and carried his good run of form over from the Bournemouth match. Hudson-Odoi is building a genuine relationship with Hakim Ziyech, no matter the side the pair starts on. He blew by defenders—bringing out the sauce when necessary—and got into good positions to set up goal scoring chances. Hudson-Odoi is going to have an important part to play this season and if he keeps playing like this, there’ll be no way Tuchel can leave him out of the starting XI.

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