Unai Emery finds Chelsea's weakness but poor set-up costs Arsenal in London derby

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Unai Emery

Marcos Alonso’ late strike saw Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-2 in the London derby at Stamford Bridge.

Maurizio Sarri’s side took a 2-0 lead before the visitors drew level before the end of the first half.

Pedro slotted away in the ninth minute and Alvaro Morata scored the second 11 minutes later.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan got one back in the 37th minute for the away side before Alex Iwobi restored parity in the 44th minute.

However, Chelsea bounced back , dominating the second half before Alonso finished off substitute Eden Hazard’s pass in the 81st minute.

Here’s a look at how Unai Emery lost the tactical battle with Sarri.

BASIC STATS

Goals – 2

Shots – 15

Possession – 38%

Tackles – 14

Dribbles – 5

30-SECOND REPORT

Emery stuck with a 4-2-3-1 formation and unsurprisingly saw his side struggle to cope with the high-press as they attempted to play the ball out from the back, just as they did against Manchester City last weekend. That gave Chelsea the upper hand in the early exchanges and allowed them to pick Arsenal off by exploiting their high-line.

However, after going two goals down, Emery engineered a way back into the game as they regularly created big chances towards the end of the first half. After restoring parity though, they lost their way in the closing stages and suffered defeat.

Unai Emery

Unai Emery

TACTICAL TALKING POINT

Overloads

Emery would like to see his side dominate possession but they aren’t quiet as commanding on the ball yet and against Chelsea, were always second best in that regard. The former Paris Saint-Germain boss though noticed Aubameyang getting in behind Chelsea rather comfortably a couple of times when he peeled wide and quickly identified that as the home team’s weakness.

He proceeded to instruct his full-backs to get forward down the flanks and the attacking midfielders to support them with late runs behind the opposition’s full-backs, creating an overload in wide areas. The Gunners were regularly afforded time and space to get to the byline and cut passes back, which is where their goals came from.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan got Arsenal back into it.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan got Arsenal back into it.

VERDICT

Emery got several things wrong in the way he set up his side. The double-pivot, while intended to offer a sturdier defensive structure, was not able to provide enough out balls for defenders in possession. Meanwhile, the persistence with Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka was puzzling as both were poor against City.

Meanwhile, Lucas Torreira was left on the bench and once again came off it and impressed. Emery missed a trick in not deploying Aaron Ramsey to shadow Jorginho who had the freedom of Stamford Bridge to dictate play. He must be given credit for identifying Chelsea’s weakness and effectively attacking it.

Rating – 6/10

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