The Warm Down: Arsenal well beaten by brilliant Chelsea as Romelu Lukaku makes promising start to second spell at the club
Photo by Michael Regan via Getty Images

Chelsea maintained their 100% start to the season as they cruised past Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Goals from new £97.5 million man Romelu Lukaku and Reece James gave the Blues a comfortable lead going into half-time and, despite some Arsenal pressure in the second half, they never looked back.

Lukaku started the game up front, as Chelsea made three changes to the side that beat Crystal Palace last time out.

His impact from the front was clear to see. Even without his 15th minute goal, everything good about Chelsea going forward came through him and his ability to bring other players into play will surely only mean good news for the likes of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and others over the course of the season.

The game could have been turned on it's head, however, had Arsenal have been awarded a penalty when Reece James appeared to trip Arsenal's Bukayo Saka in the penalty area on the stroke of half-time.

It certainly was clumsy from James, who did get caught out a few times defensively during the game, but VAR saw no reason to intervene once referee Paul Tierney had waved away any appeals from the Arsenal players.

Had Arsenal have scored right on the stroke of half-time, then their much improved second half performance could have been enough to gain something from Chelsea, who did drop off after the interval. 

For the Gunners, it means 0 points and 0 goals from their opening two games, leaving them in a lowly 19th place with a trip to the Etihad to face Manchester City to come next weekend.

The strength of Chelsea's bench really emphasised the difference between the two teams, Chelsea were able to call upon N'Golo Kante, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech in the second half, with plenty more options available had they needed them.

It's the Blues' bench, as much as their starting eleven, that has a lot of people suggesting that Chelsea have what it takes to go on and challenge Manchester City this season.

  • Lukaku Exactly what Chelsea needed

Before the game, Thomas Tuchel proclaimed: "We signed him to play, not to come off the bench", when asked about Lukaku's involvement in the game.

That tells you all you need to know about how important the Belgian is going to be for the Blues this season. Now he has found his way into the starting eleven, it's hard to imagine him missing many games unless injured.

And that talismanic force that he brings to the side is surely likely to bring the Blues a lot closer to the likes of Man City and Manchester United this season.

Although the importance of the expected goals statistic is often called into question, Chelsea only managed to score 37 goals from open play last season despite their expected goals stat being at 47.45.

This difference in about 10 goals could easily be the difference between a lot of draws being turned into wins, or losses into draws. 

Either way, the inclusion of a world class striker of Romelu Lukaku's ability is surely going to mean an increase in points this season for the Blues. 

It sounds silly to say given that they won the Champions League last season, but Romelu Lukaku may prove to be the last piece in the jigsaw for this side.

  • Bright spells from Arsenal in second half

It wasn't all doom and gloom for Arsenal. After a dismal first half, they produced some sustained spells of pressure in the second half which will give their fans some hope that they can hurt the very best sides.

It's looking pretty dismal for the gunners at the moment, with two losses from two and a match against champions Manchester City to come next weekend. 

However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and new signing Martin Odegaard are all yet to play any meanignful role in the gunners' season so far, suggesting that there could be a lot more to come from the Gunners.

Arsenal will need all three of these players to perform at the levels they are capable of, as well as needing the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe to continue their progression, if they are to have any chance of securing an unlikely top 4 finish this season.

 

 

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