Arsenal vs Chelsea: Lukaku dominates on re-debut for Blues
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Romelu Lukaku made the perfect re-debut for the Blues, scoring one goal and helping set up the other in a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
Chelsea did all of their damage in the first half, when Lukaku tapped home from close range on 15 minutes and Reece James doubled the advantage not long before halftime.
Arsenal vs Chelsea final score, stats, results
Goals scored: Arsenal 0 (None); Chelsea 2 (Lukaku - 15', James - 35')
Shots: Arsenal 6, Chelsea 21
Shots on target: Arsenal 3, Chelsea 5
Possession: Arsenal 35, Chelsea 65
3 things we learned, Arsenal vs Chelsea
1. The Lukaku effect is very real: Fact: There’s not a striker in the world who possesses Lukaku’s terrifying combination of size, strength and mobility. Also fact: There aren’t many (read: maybe a handful) of strikers in the world who possess Lukaku’s spatial awareness and intelligent movement — the way he uses his gravity to pull defenders out of space and create gaps for others. Arsenal are severely lacking in physical center backs as well as, apparently, reliable readers of the game because Lukaku dominated the first half on Sunday with all of 13 touches (only two inside the penalty area). Not only did he score goal no. 1, but he pulled the Arsenal defense into no man’s land to set up the second — a successful second debut, all in 45 minutes’ time.
2. Kante added back into the fold, to boot: “The rich get richer” comes to mind when you consider Chelsea are have won their first two games of the season by a combined score of 5-0, and world-class midfielder — arguably the Blues’ most important player — has played all of 18 minutes. The defending European champions are every bit the Premier League title contenders in reality that they looked on paper ahead of the season.
3. Arsenal’s season yet to start: Between confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette) and injuries (Thomas Partey), Arsenal have effectively been without three of their top performers from a season ago (again, when they were healthy and available, that is), and that was before $70-million center back Ben White joined the virus-stricken strikers just before Sunday’s game. That disjointedness has created many more questions than answers through two games. Zero points, zero goals and a trip to Manchester City next weekend. Ouch.
Man of the Match: Reece James - Sure, he had a goal and an assist, but it was the way he controlled Chelsea’s right flank (Arsenal’s left), where Kieran Tierney is such a threat to get forward and join the attack, that rendered the hosts mostly useless.
Chelsea never left second gear on Sunday, as they took an early lead vs Arsenal and cruised to three of the easiest points they’ll earn all season.
Lukaku makes an instant impact
Despite spending three full seasons on the books at Chelsea in his first stint in west London, Lukaku never managed to score a goal for the Blues.
He needed just a quarter-hour to right that wrong in his second debut (above video).
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Fluid football from Chelsea
James lashed goal no. 2 home after 35 minutes, with a pair of key assists on the play: 1) Lukaku for opening up the space behind the left back and keeping the center backs high up the field where they couldn’t make a play on his eventual shot; 2) Mason Mount for quickly circulating the ball out wide.
The finish wasn’t half-bad either, certainly not for a right back.