In the first managerial meeting between Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte, it was the Frenchman’s side that staked claim to London’s bragging rights. A charged-up first half performance saw Arsenal beat Chelsea 3-0 in a match which marked Arsene Wenger’s 20 years at the Gunners. Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil scored for Arsenal in the first-half as the Gunners completely dismantled a lackluster Chelsea side.
Here are five things we learned:
Arsenal needed to be urgent and they were
A win over Chelsea would have not only given Arsenal a psychological edge over their London rivals but would have given a much needed momentum in the Premier League season. For Wenger and Arsenal, it was the best opportunity to make best of Chelsea’s shaky form and they grabbed it and how.
Sanchez is back to his best
It is no doubt that when Alexis Sanchez is at his best, Arsenal are too. Injuries had pulled him back slightly last year and there was a phase where he struggled for form. But this season, despite not being at his best as the sole striker, Sanchez has shown that he indeed is the Duracell bunny, with unending energy and disciplined work rate. Arsenal fans would be hoping now more than ever that he stays fit throughout the season.
Change in tactics helps the Gunners against the big teams
Arsenal have often been accused of trying too hard to play beautiful football. But like in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Chelsea, Arsenal have at times shaken things up on the drawing board. The pace with which Arsenal started the game and dealt with Chelsea’s defence was reminiscent of victories against the big teams in the past such as last year’s 3-0 win over Manchester United at the Emirates. Arsenal fans would be hoping for more of the same to come.
Conte has major issues to resolve
Antonio Conte’s start at Chelsea has been a mixed bag so far. The Blues started well but faltered recently starting with the draw at Swansea. A major problem faced by Conte is how he will sort his defence out, especially without the aging yet experienced John Terry. Tim Cahill is still susceptible to costly errors as seen in the first of Arsenal’s goals and David Luiz still doesn’t seem like a centre-half. With this defeat, Conte might have to reconsider his plans to play three at the back; that is unless he finds a reliable centre back.
Winds of change in Arsenal-Chelsea encounters?
The magnitude of the Emirates result is huge. In terms of statistics, this is Chelsea’ biggest loss to the Gunners since 1997. Not just for the rivalry between the two clubs but it is huge for the Premier League as well. Chelsea have managed to bully Arsenal in recent clashes, with Chelsea’s last defeat to Arsenal coming in 2011. But Arsenal’s resounding victory on Saturday has questioned Chelsea’s credentials more than ever now. Chelsea of the old were missing and what Conte has in his hands are problems inherited over from his predecessors. London’s bragging rights are up for grabs.