Chelsea v Arsenal: Pictures
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Chelsea boss Graham Potter’s recent woes continued with a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday afternoon. Gabriel scored the only goal of the game for the Gunners, poking home from close range following a corner from Bukayo Saka. Express Sport will now take a look at four players in blue who underperformed on another difficult day at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were, for the most part, dogged defensively against Arsenal.
But Cesar Azpilicueta, so often a reliable figure for the home side over the years, cost the Blues by switching off for Gabriel’s goal.
The Spain international allowed the Arsenal star to run in front of him when, in reality, he should have been tighter.
Azpilicueta’s mood appeared to suffer after he was booked in the early stages of the second half and one of Chelsea’s biggest presences in the dressing room allowed his head to dip.
The Blues need the veteran to get back to his best, fast, if they’re to rally and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
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Kai Havertz is, on his day, one of the best players at Chelsea.
But the Germany international had an afternoon to forget against Arsenal, with the playmaker a subdued presence in attack before being hooked for Conor Gallagher.
Havertz was also guilty of poor defending for Gabriel’s goal, fluffing his clearance and allowing the Arsenal star to score mere seconds later.
The Chelsea star will always be a hero in west London for propelling them to Champions League glory under Thomas Tuchel last year.
But Havertz still lacks the consistency of his days in the Bundesliga and the former Bayer Leverkusen star isn’t a reliable figure for Potter right now, too often blowing hot and cold.
Many thought Chelsea had struck gold when they signed Raheem Sterling from Manchester City back in the summer.
But the England international is a shadow of his usual self these days and offered precious little against Arsenal on another frustrating afternoon.
Sterling was used in his preferred position of right-wing, rather than right-wing back.
But that still wasn’t enough to help coax the magic from the former City and Liverpool star.
Sterling is running out of time to prove he should be starting for England when the World Cup in Qatar commences in just two weeks’ time.
Prior to the game with Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been in the spotlight.
The veteran flourished during his days at the Emirates but was brutally axed by Mikel Arteta in January, with the Spaniard deeming the attacker past his best.
Based on this evidence, Arteta may be right.
Aubameyang was admittedly starved of service but looked rusty and jaded at the tip of the Chelsea attack as they struggled to make their opponents down.
Certainly, he doesn’t carry the same threat he did during his days across the town – and that suggests Chelsea were wrong to invest in his signing back in the summer.
What next for Chelsea?
Chelsea are next in action against Manchester City in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
The Blues will now go into that game with even more incentive to win, to show they can compete with the very best with Potter at the helm.
After that, Chelsea then lock horns with Newcastle at St James’ Park.
That won’t be an easy fixture for Potter and his side, especially with Eddie Howe’s team in such fine form.
And club football will then stop for the World Cup, with Chelsea’s first game after the tournament against Bournemouth on December 27.
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