Result: Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea | Arsenal win 6-5 on penalties
Competition: International Champions Cup
Date: 1st August 2018
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Alex Iwobi kept his cool from 12-yards to seal a 6-5 shootout victory for the Gunners against Chelsea to round off an entertaining friendly in Dublin.
Both sides had converted all their efforts from the spot until Ruben Loftus-Cheek was denied by Petr Cech. The veteran keeper had also saved a penalty from Alvaro Morata in a first half that was dominated by the Blues.
Antonio Rudiger opened the scoring for the Stamford Bridge outfit early, before teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi squandered a number of gilt-edged chances that should have put the game to bed. Those misses proved costly as Alex Lacazette came off the bench to net an equaliser with the last kick of the game.
Starting XI: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Elneny, Smith Rowe, Guendouzi, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Ozil
Subs: Leno, Chambers, Holding, Mavropanos, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Iwobi, Nketiah and Lacazette
1′ – Ramsey missing
Aaron Ramsey was due to start the game but was replaced very late by Emile Smith Rowe. He’s picked up a minor calf problem in the warm-up.
2′ – Our new home shirt 🤮
We were hoping we might grow to like it. But that’s just not going to happen.
2′ – We’re very hairy
Combine the Elneny and Guendouzi curls with Bellerin’s mane and Ozil’s floppy fringe and it’s probably the most hirsute side we’ve fielded since the 70s.
4′ – Cech tips over
The first effort on goal comes from ex-Gunner Fabregas who forces a smart save from Cech. Looks like it may have had a slight deflection.
5′ – ⚽ Goal Chelsea 0-1
Hmm, that’s not good. From the resulting corner, an unmarked Antonio Rudiger powers home a header low to Cech’s left. There’s nothing the keeper could do about that one. The defence on the other hand…
7′ – Sweeper keeper
A Mustafi header is claimed easily by Willy Cabellero and distributed in the blink of an eye. Cech races from goal to clear his lines.
14′ – Penalty Chelsea
Fucking hell…we’re not at the races at all. Hudson-Odoi cuts inside Bellerin who hangs out a leg and takes out the 17-year-old. No argument, it’s a definite foul. The ref points to the spot.
15′ – Saved!!!!
Petr Cech throws himself down to his right to push Morata’s penalty around the post. Blimey, his second spot-kick save of pre-season! We’re lucky from the corner as Morata heads over at close range again.
20′ – We’re really struggling
Chelsea look sharper all over the pitch. Keeping possession is a problem for the Gunners and we’re not coping well with the way the Blues press high up the pitch.
23′ – Another big save
Hudson-Odoi’s trickery bamboozles our defence again. He frees Morata on goal and Cech comes out quickly to block with his left leg. If it weren’t for our keeper this game would be over already.
25′ – *Andy Townsend voice* Better
Guendouzi sprays a cross-field pass for Bellerin to chase. He nearly gets past Alonso but then, frustratingly, fouls his compatriot in the Chelsea box.
27′ – Chance Gunners
Smith Rowe curls over from the edge of the box after David Luiz’s attempted clearance falls to him. A half chance, but our clearest opening yet.
30′ – Ooooh!
Brilliant skill from Ozil followed by a nifty pass out to the right sees us flow forward, but there’s no end product as Elneny’s cross is cleared by Rudiger.
31′ – How did Auba miss???
Ozil in full flow frees Mkhitaryan on the right. The Armenian crosses for Aubameyang who just needs to roll the ball home at the back post. Somehow he fluffs his lines, missing the ball completely. Better from the Gunners who get a clap from Unai Emery on the touchline.
35′ – Just wide
Guendouzi has a pop from 25-yards but the ball sweeps past Cabellero’s right post. Nice idea from the French teenager, who has been a bright spark. His willingness to get on the ball and move us forward is a positive.
38′ – Ouch
Kolasinac is down holding one of his considerable buttock cheeks following a clash with Cabellero. The Bosnian had combined well with Smith Rowe but couldn’t quite get a shot off and was subsequently taken out.
41′ – Cech to rescue once more
Again Hudson-Odoi springs the Arsenal offside trap. He’s one-on-one with Cech but the veteran spreads himself well to take enough off the ball before the trundling Mustafi gets back to head clear off the line. Another big let off.
43′ – Chance Arsenal
Cabellero flaps at a cross, it falls to Kolasinac at the back post but he dawdles instead of shooting is closed down.
Half-time: Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea
You can’t argue with the scoreline. Arsenal may have wasted a couple of half chances but the Blues have repeatedly exposed us on the break. Were it not for Cech, they could easily have four goals to their name. We’re just too open in midfield and the centre-back pairing of Sokratis and Mustafi look very slow. Ozil and Guendouzi have shown flashes of inspiration but that’s about it.
51′ – Neat interplay
Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Ozil and Smith Rowe exchange quick one-touch passes around the edge of the Chelsea box, but a final ball to Aubameyang is cut out.
53′ – Pot shots
Kolasinac skies over after a drilled cross from Smith Rowe. Then Elneny has an effort blocked on the edge of the box. We look like we’re growing in confidence. The Dublin Gunners grow in voice inside the Aviva.
57′ – It should be 2-0
Another Chelsea corner. Another Rudiger header. This time the ball goes wide. There’s a real lack of concentration when defending set pieces. Yes, it’s pre-season, but we need to get on top of that ASAP.
59′ – Ooooh!
Aubameyang chooses not to shoot and instead picks out Smith Rowe who takes a touch and then sees his shot deflected over by Azpilicueta.
62′ – Substitutions
Chelsea make five changes (one has more hair than Guendouzi!). Alex Iwobi comes on for Smith Rowe.
64′ – Kick it harder!
An energetic burst forward by Iwobi frees Ozil who in turn finds Mkhitaryan in space. The Armenian shoots from 20-yards but there’s not enough pace on the ball to trouble Cabellero. Not long after, Iwobi has a go of his own with his left foot. Why does it look like our players are kicking a medicine ball when they shoot?
68′ – Kolasinac off
The left-back seems to twist his knee challenging for the ball and immediately calls to go off. He doesn’t look in too much pain but he does head straight down the tunnel. Ainsley Maitland-Niles comes on in his place.
72′ – More Arsenal changes
Mkhitrayan and Aubameyang are replaced by Reiss Nelson and Alex Lacazette. The TV cameras pick out David O’Leary and Ivan Gazidis in the stands.
75′ – Surely 1-1? No!
Alex Lacazette picks up a pass by Ozil, cuts inside Andreas Christenson and looks sure to score. He opens up his body but there’s no curl on his right foot effort and it goes inches wide.
77′ – Bowie would be proud
Ozil whips a free-kick wide and it signals more ch-ch-changes. Cabellero scuttles to the bench then Maurizio Sarri sends on a couple more new faces. I’d list them, but I’m watching a Dutch stream and the Blues players don’t have names on their shirts…so actually, I won’t. Just for good measure, Calum Chambers comes on for Bellerin.
84′ – What a save!
I don’t know who the Chelsea keeper is, but he’s just stopped Iwobi from equalising. The Nigeria international side foots a low effort that looks destined to nestle in the back of the net, but it’s parried away. Turns out the keeper is Marcin Bulka, an 18-year-old Pole.
90′ – Pinball
More Arsenal intricacy in the final third, but Chelsea’s deep defence is able to suck up the pressure without the Gunners getting off a shot. There are three minutes of injury time.
92′ – Last throw of the dice?
Ozil lofts a free-kick into the box, it’s cleared but falls to Lacazette who lashes a left-foot effort that is saved by Bulcin. It’s an unbelievable stop by the teenager.
93′ – ⚽ GOOOOOOAL Arsenal 1-1
Would you believe it? With the last kick of the game, Lacazette taps home a Nelson cross from three yards out. The Dublin crowd love that. We’re going to penalties.
Chelsea: Drinkwater scores (1-0)
Arsenal: Lacazette scores (1-1)
Chelsea: Abraham scores (2-1)
Arsenal: Nelson scores (2-2)
Chelsea: Moses scores (3-2)
Arsenal: Guendouzi scores (3-3)
Chelsea: Emerson scores (4-3)
Arsenal: Maitland-Niles scores (4-4)
Chelsea: Piazon scores (5-4)
Arsenal: Ozil scores (5-5)
Chelsea: Loftus-Cheek misses! Cech saves down low to his right! (5-5)
Arsenal: Iwobi scores (6-5)
Full time. Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea
Well, that was fun! For the second pre-season in a row, we’ve come from behind to beat Chelsea on penalties. The Blues will be disappointed they didn’t convert more of their first half chances but Arsenal had by far the better of the second half. In that respect, Alex Lacazette’s stoppage-time equaliser was deserved. That said, over the 90 minutes, the manner in which we were exposed on the break was pretty worrying. We’ll definitely need to do some more work coordinating our defence at set-pieces and we’re crying out for a ball winner in the middle. Just as well we’ve signed Lucas Torreira. Perhaps he’ll get a few minutes when we play Lazio in Stockholm on Saturday?
Until then…have a good evening.