Arsenal could not do enough at Stamford Bridge today to pick up their first points of the season, as a late goal from Marcos Alonso sealed the 3-2 win for the hosts in blue. Despite having plenty of chances in the first half, Arsenal found little to go on in the second and couldn’t hold off Eden Hazard until the final whistle.
It was a frustrating match in a lot of ways. Arsenal got off to a bad start, their pressing uncoordinated, but they had a good chance early as Mesut Özil volleyed wide. Chelsea wasted no time in taking their chance when it came soon after, a breathless counterattack helped by lack of pressure on the ball, Jorginho threading through for Alonso, who squared an easy ball to Pedro for the finish.
Arsenal continued to look open, but they also had chances. Somehow Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng conspired to blast over the bar from eight yards out, and then a minute later, Chelsea increased their lead as Alvaro Morata turned home a through ball from César Azpilicueta.
Arsenal started to find their legs, though, and finally found a breakthrough, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired a low shot from 20 yards that squeaked by under the glove of Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Gunners started to coordinate things better, and the attacking front kept generating chances. Sadly, they also kept blazing these chances over the bar, Mkhitaryan replicating PEA’s miss of earlier.
Alex Iwobi turned scorer, though, as the first half moved along. Mkhitaryan slid a cutback through the Chelsea defenders, and Iwobi was on hand to blast home from short range. He would have another chance a few minutes later to give Arsenal the lead, but he, too, fired over the bar from close range. A wild first half finished 2-2, but it easily could have been five or six for Arsenal.
Lucas Torreira came on to start the second half in place of Granit Xhaka, to mixed results. Arsenal had lost their drive from the first half, and while they were organized in the back, Chelsea started to find footing, and after the introduction of Eden Hazard, started to generate chance after chance. Arsenal looked tired, and despite Aaron Ramsey coming on (and missing a long-range half-volley), Chelsea were always in control. Hazard worked Arsenal’s right side, and after a giveaway from Alexandre Lacazette, he ended up dusting defenders to cut back to Alonso, who’d eluded Arsenal’s midfield, to drive home the winner.
Arsenal failed to create any more chances of note as time ran out, and for the first time since 1992, took zero points from the first two matches of the league season. To be sure, these were a killer two matches to start the year, and there were some good things along with the obvious bad things, but Unai Emery’s task is clear: get the defense organized, get the counterpressing up to snuff, and get Arsenal out of the Premier League cellar.