Arsenal and Chelsea battled it out last night at Stamford Bridge in a somewhat subdued game between the two London rivals, and in the end, it was the Gunners who sprung a surprise and registered all three points courtesy of a calm finish from Emile Smith Rowe off the back of a Chelsea error.
“I’m a bit angry that we had so many changes, that’s on me,” said Tuchel. “I’m not so happy in the end with the line-up, but I didn’t know what would happen, I didn’t feel us today like I normally do and we can’t expect to win games if we’re not 100% in games. I’m not happy with what I saw, I have my responsibility because I picked the line-up, but the performance was the performance”. Those are the words of Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel who, through priorities elsewhere, made seven changes to his starting XI in this game.
From the gritty performance on the pitch to his frustrations during the post-match interview, it’s clear to see that Mikel Arteta is feeling the pressure. Still, back-to-back league wins have been pretty hard to come by this season and this won’t do the Gunners any harm whatsoever. We don’t know where it’s going to lead and Arteta may still be out of a job by the time we get to the summer transfer window, but at the very least he’s getting these players to fight for him – and it would’ve been nice to see that a bit earlier on in the campaign.
For Chelsea, the measurement of their success will come in three different forms: whether they finish in the top four, possibly winning the Champions League and possibly winning the FA Cup. That’s quite a stacked slate that they have to contend with and on the flip side, it feels as if Mikel Arteta just needs to win his remaining two games and go from there. They’re both in tricky positions and this game exemplified that success in the modern era can be measured in so many different ways, and we won’t know how things go until the dust has fully settled.
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga (6.5), Zouma (7), Silva (7), Azpilicueta (6), Chilwell (6), Jorginho (6), Gilmour (6), James (7), Pulisic (6.5), Mount (7), Havertz (6.5), Hudson-Odoi (6.5), Ziyech (6), Giroud (6.5)
Arsenal: Leno (7.5), Holding (8), Mari (6.5), Gabriel (7), Saka (6.5), Elneny (6), Partey (7), Tierney (7), Odegaard (6.5), Smith Rowe (7.5), Aubameyang (7), Chambers (6), Bellerin (6.5), Lacazette (6)
Referee: Andre Marriner
Goals: Smith Rowe
Yellow Cards: Partey