Following a controversial victory for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea earlier in the season at the Emirates, the return fixture quickly became a highly-anticipated contested. After an action-packed 90 minutes, which saw four goals and a red card for David Luiz, the two London sides were forced to share the points come the final whistle.
As a result, we’re going to discuss some of the things that we learned from the latest 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.
Arteta’s Beginning to Implement his Style of Play
Since being appointed as the Arsenal head coach after an emotional departure from Manchester City, the Gunners have slowly seen their performances improve. Despite rumors surrounding the futures of crucial first-team players like Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mikel Arteta’s philosophies are slowly becoming visible in Arsenal’s style of play, especially in the recent derby with Chelsea.
In the opening stages of the game, the former Premier League champions had amassed 63 percent of the possession after just 18 minutes according to The Telegraph, which indicates the squad’s belief in the 37-year-old’s style of play. The task was undoubtedly made more difficult after Luiz was sent off for a last-ditch tackle on Tammy Abraham midway through the first half, but the away side’s application never faltered despite being a man down.
For a long period of time under Unai Emery, much was made of the on-field attitude of Arsenal’s players, but there seems to be no such problems under their new head coach. With the whole club now starting to pull in the same direction, Arsenal are being priced at 20/1 to finish in the top four as of January 22nd with William Hill soccer betting online.
Chelsea’s Kepa Dilemma
After signing for Chelsea back in the summer of 2018 from Athletic Bilbao for a fee of approximately $92.7 million, Kepa Arrizabalaga was expected to fill the boots of Thibault Courtois who left for Real Madrid. However, the Spaniard has thus far failed to repay the faith shown in him by the Chelsea hierarchy following his world-record transfer, leaving Lampard with a goalkeeping problem going forward.
While the 25-year-old has long divided opinions, many are calling for the Chelsea manager to make a must-needed change because of Kepa’s lackluster display at Stamford Bridge against Arsenal. The Spanish goalkeeper was faced with two shots over the course of the 90 minutes and was beaten by both. Although that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story, further statistics undoubtedly show that the Blues have a dilemma on their hands. In the Premier League, Kepa has the lowest save percentage rate of any goalkeeper, while, in Europe, he ranks 127th out of 132 shot-stoppers.
Martinelli Has the Potential to Be Special
Even though there are several positives for Arteta to take from the 2-2 draw with Chelsea, the emergence and performance of Gabriel Martinelli has got the football world talking. The Brazilian epitomized what Arsenal are about under their new head coach after tirelessly working for the team despite having little service for much of the game.
In scoring the Gunners’ first goal of the match, the 18-year-old secured his maiden Premier League goal, and there are no doubts that he has the potential for many, many more. Moreover, Aubameyang, the newly-appointed Arsenal captain and club top scorer for the 2019-20 campaign at the time of writing, hailed the youngster’s energy and mindset, while also labeling him as a future “superstar”.
The Race for Champions League Football is on
At present, there is a ten-point gap between 10th-placed Arsenal and fourth-placed Chelsea. Although closing the gap will prove challenging for the Gunners, Lampard’s side have seen their form dip in recent weeks, winning only one of their last five matches. However, it’s clear that both teams are in a period of transition, with both managers being tasked with eventually returning the glory days to their respective clubs.