An eventful London derby ended in a two-all draw as mistakes cost Chelsea a deserving win. It was one of the best displays under the reign of Mauricio Pochettino for the Blues. Unlike the recent encounters with the Gunners, the Stamford Bridge side dominated them in many phases. The fact is they were not able to see out the match. It means there is still a long way to go for Pochettino in getting the team to the very best. Here are three lessons learned from the match.
1. Finishing is still a problem for Chelsea
A football match is won based on who scored the most goals. Scoring is an issue that has affected this team for some years. Players, formations, coaches, and even owners have changed. But the inability to make the most of the chances has not been eradicated.
Nicholas Jackson and Cole Palmer had a one-on-one chance against Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya. Unfortunately for CFC, they were unable to make the most of it. If either one of them had gone in, it would have been curtains for Arsenal.
Every week, Chelsea’s social media team uploads videos of players scoring a variety of goals during training. But when it matters, they fumble. On Saturday, one was a penalty, and the other was a goal Mykhailo Mudryk made from nowhere. Those goals needed opponents making silly errors. Chelsea is trying to make the goal, but the finishing is where they lose it.
2. Errors rob the Blues of a deserving win
Robert Sanchez had looked good in the last few matches while making some great saves. But there was always a hint that a mistake was coming. He always tends to clear the ball only at the last second when an opponent is closing down.
Declan Rice steals the pass from Sanchez to Conor Gallagher before putting it into goal. Gallagher was brilliant throughout the match but had a lapse of concentration that was pounced upon by Rice. If the pass from Sanchez had been clean, the mistake would not have happened. He could have made a simple pass to a nearby player. It was unnecessary to take that risk at that stage. Once they scored, Arsenal had the confidence, and they scored the equalizer within seven minutes.
3. Chelsea had upper hand against Arsenal until first goal
Before the match, most Chelsea fans would have taken a two-all draw against the in-form Arsenal side. The fact that fans were disappointed after watching their team play such a team out of the mark is a credit to Pochettino and his tactics.
Malo Gusto and Marc Cucurella kept Arsenal’s star wingers Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka silent. Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandes showed no traces of tiredness as they won the midfield battle. The lack of a striker up top and the pressing from Palmer and Gallagher made Arsenal’s job difficult to keep track of CFC attackers. Mikel Arteta’s men had a lot of possession at the back as they found it hard to move the ball. It was only after Rice’s goal that the away outfit started to make their mark in the match.
The project looks on the right path despite several injuries. Hopefully, Pochettino can build on it and take the west Londoners back to where they belong.