In a not-so-thrilling encounter at Stamford Bridge, Arsenal managed to salvage a point against Chelsea, and while it may not have been the most scintillating performance, it showcased the Gunners’ newfound grit and determination.
In a game that, in seasons past, they might have lost, Arsenal displayed resilience that could become a pivotal factor in their quest for the Premier League title and end Manchester City’s dominance.
Chelsea asserted complete superiority when Cole Palmer converted a penalty in the 15th minute, with William Saliba being penalised for a handball following a review by the video assistant referee.
Arsenal appeared destined to face their first Premier League defeat of the season when Mykhailo Mudryk’s cross caught Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya off-guard just three minutes into the second half.
The performance was marked by sloppiness, and the Gunners struggled to generate any significant opportunities until they were handed a lifeline with only 13 minutes remaining. Declan Rice capitalised on Chelsea goalkeeper Robert Sanchez’s subpar clearance, directing the ball back into the net.
Arsenal managed to level the score just seven minutes later, with substitute Leandro Trossard sneaking in at the far post to score.
5 talking points from Arsenal’s uninspiring draw against Chelsea
Here are the key talking points from this match:
1. Huge point on a challenging day
Arsenal’s encounter with Chelsea was far from perfect, but the fact that they secured a draw despite a lacklustre performance speaks volumes about their growth as a team. This extends their unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge to five games, and this single point could prove to be a significant one in the title race.
Last season, Arsenal showcased their ability to turn games around, making them genuine contenders. This ability to claw back points from adversity is an invaluable trait for any championship hopeful.
2. David Raya’s big game troubles
David Raya has been a topic of debate among Arsenal fans. While manager Mikel Arteta has shown a preference for Raya, his performances have raised questions about his suitability as the number one goalkeeper. In games against top-tier opponents like Chelsea, Raya has looked shaky, failing to command his area effectively and conceding goals that may have been preventable.
On the other hand, Aaron Ramsdale has proven himself as a reliable option in high-stakes matches. It’s time for Arteta to stick to his word and provide Ramsdale with an opportunity to showcase his abilities while Raya regains his form.
3. Bukayo Saka’s gritty display
Bukayo Saka, although not at his best due to fitness concerns, played a crucial role in Arsenal’s comeback. He may not have been the star of the match, but he provided a vital assist for Leandro Trossard’s equaliser. Saka’s performance against Chelsea underlines the importance of squad rotation.
The game against Manchester City showed that Arsenal can rely on other options when Saka is not available, and Gabriel Jesus proved to be a viable alternative. Managing Saka’s workload effectively will be key to his long-term fitness and performance.
4. Champion mentality
Arsenal’s ability to fight back when the odds are stacked against them reflects a developing champion mentality. Despite trailing 2-0 in the second half, they did not back down, echoing the never-say-die attitude often seen in successful teams like Manchester City. In a league with teams like Pep Guardiola’s Cityzens, sustaining this mindset is crucial for Arsenal’s title ambitions. The challenge now is to consistently demonstrate this resilience and avoid getting into dire situations in the first place.
5. Trusting squad players
Mikel Arteta must put more trust in his squad players. Several key first-team players have started a remarkable number of consecutive matches, and this reliance on a select few could lead to burnout or injury. It’s time to give players like Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Trossard, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Jakob Kiwior more game time.
A competitive environment, as seen with the Raya-Ramsdale situation, can push players to perform at their best. Trossard, who came off the bench to secure a point against Chelsea, exemplified the value of squad depth, just as four substitutes played pivotal roles in Arsenal’s win against Manchester City. It’s time for Arteta to show faith in these players to maintain the team’s competitive edge.