After putting in our best first half performance of the season, Arsenal decided to hand Chelsea a late Christmas gift in the final 10 minutes of 2019 as we went down 2-1 at the Emirates on Sunday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted an excellent set piece as we dominated the first half. However, we failed to add to our lead and let Frank Lampard’s side back into the game in the second half.
Bernd Leno completely misjudged a Mason Mount free kick to gift Jorginho a goalline tap in. Five minutes later and Chelsea had a late winner on the counter attack which concluded with Tammy Abraham scoring from six yards out.
Here are how our players fared:
Bernd Leno 3 – It wasn’t even a pacey free kick that the goalkeeper had to deal with but Bernd Leno managed to miss Mason Mount’s dead ball cross completely and gift the visitors their equaliser. Had little chance with their winner. Had little else to do all game.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 8 – An excellent performance at right-back from the youngster. This was the kind of performance we’ve missed for much of the season from Ainsley Maitland-Niles. He was quick to close down the Chelsea attackers and get a foot in, whilst offering width when going forward.
Calum Chambers 7 – Had made an excellent start, keeping Tammy Abraham at bay and assisting our opener. Unfortunately, Calum Chambers went off injured midway through the first half.
David Luiz 8 – We defended very well for the opening 85 minutes with David Luiz leading the backline. Aside from trying to kick N’Golo Kante’s Christmas dinner out of him, the Brazilian was very good today.
Bukayo Saka 6 – Had stuck to his defensive duties well for the first hour given that he was playing out of position. Unfortunately, Mikel Arteta should have taken Bukayo Saka off after that as he was visibly tiring. Willian got the better of him for much of the final half hour, which included setting up the winner.
Matteo Guendouzi 6 – Didn’t actually get on the ball too much at all, especially given all the possession we had in the first half. Not always assured of protecting our back four and panicked in possession at times.
Lucas Torreira 8 – Worked his socks off in front of our back four, picking off a number of Chelsea passes, particularly in the first half. Good to see Lucas Torreira being moved back into his natural position.
Mesut Ozil 8 – The German was the best player on the pitch in the first half. Mesut Ozil was excellent on the ball, great in possession with his passing, and also great movement off the ball. He even worked hard defensively. Rightfully taken off for the final 15 minutes as Chelsea put pressure on our goal.
Reiss Nelson 7 – A confident performance from the youngster who was entrusted over our record signing down the right wing. Reiss Nelson was confident in taking on the Chelsea defence, as well as pressing them when we were out of possession. Lacked productivity in the final third and was eventually replaced by Nicolas Pepe for the final five minutes.
Alexandre Lacazette 6 – Did well in bringing teammates into play but failed to have a single effort on goal against a Chelsea defence that has shipped a lot of goals this season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 9 – A fine headed goal but otherwise Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang lacked supply up front. However, the captain worked his socks off for us defensively, making numerous interceptions and clearances.
Shkodran Mustafi (66 mins) 5 – Simply didn’t get tight to Tammy Abraham for the winning goal. In fact, Shkodran Mustafi seemed to miss the pressing instructions that the rest of the team were following.
Joe Willock (15 mins) N/A – Narrowly missed with a late effort but didn’t have much time to do anything else.
Nicolas Pepe (5 mins) N/A – Failed to get an effort in when Lacazette had teed him up in stoppage time.