Observations as Arsenal humble Chelsea – and is the puzzle finally coming together for Arsenal by Nonny
It was an electric performance from the Gunners last night as they completely outplayed Chelsea, here are few things WE LEARNED as Arsenal THUMP Chelsea 4-0 in Orlando’s Florida Cup final and as the upcoming season promises to be an exciting one.
1. Zinchenko earns standing ovation
Oleksandr Zinchenko, Arsenal’s new £32million signing, was given a standing ovation from the Gunners end as he emerged for his warm-down at the end of an encouraging first 45 minutes in red and white.
The Ukrainian started at left back – in the continued absence of Kieran Tierney – in what looked close to Arteta’s first choice XI.
Zinchenko was rarely tested defensively, instead operating very high up the left flank. He played one delightful crossfield pass to Bukayo Saka and drew whooping cheers from the crowd with some neat feet.
The 25-year-old had an early chance to shoot, too, but took too long. A decent start, nevertheless.
2. Ramsdale teaches Mendy a Lesson in Ball distribution
It feels cruel to single out Edouard Mendy, who’s been such a massive influence since arriving at Chelsea. Last night, though, he did nothing to assuage concerns about one area of his game: distribution.
Or to put it less politely, Mendy’s kicking was calamitous. One early pass went straight into touch, another went straight to Granit Xhaka as the goalkeeper panicked inside his own area.
Later, his wayward kick handed Arsenal possession and from the turnover, Martin Odegaard doubled their lead. Another awful touch almost handed Gabriel Martinelli an open goal. It was all the more striking when compared to Aaron Ramsdale’s long-range passing.
3. Jesus keeps on firing
Don’t let Chelsea’s charitable defending detract from what was another impressive performance from Gabriel Jesus.
In this, something nearing a first proper test since arriving from Manchester City, he was electric once more. It wasn’t just his goal, which he took brilliantly – nonchalantly lifting the ball over Mendy to make it four from four during pre-season.
There was also a sumptuous turn on halfway which left Trevoh Chalobah looking rather silly, and a lovely flick into Martinelli shortly after. Safe to say Jesus outshone all of Chelsea’s forwards until he went down, and Arteta wasted no time sending for Eddie Nketiah.
4. Classy Saliba
The return of William Saliba, meanwhile, has given Arsenal interesting new possibilities, as he was once again very solid and reads the game so well. Ben White started at right back – with Takehiro Tomiyasu out – alongside Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes at centre back.
That’s one way of getting all three in the team. White has been used at right back by Arteta before, and his inclusion allowed Arsenal to occasionally switch to a back three with the ball. Saliba looked classy once more – his pace and positioning will be a real asset.
“The way we played, the intensity we showed, the way we were trying to show who we are as a team. But at the same time, it’s just a test match,” Arteta said at his post-match press conference.
“Don’t get carried away. There are still a lot of things that we have to get better at and do better.
“But I think it’s good to get some momentum, finish the tour in the right way, give some enjoyment to our fans and everybody that’s been contributing to make this tour happen. Now it’s time to go back to London, to focus and keep making improvements and steps forward.”
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Mikel Arteta meets the press after incredible 4-0 destruction of Chelsea
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