The Manchester City game came far too soon for Unai Emery.
City are still very slick and fast and powerful.
And the side Emery picked was a team that had never played together in a proper match.
Yes, ten of them were experienced pros. But they started game with one striker, Aubameyang, and six midfielders who included Ozil and Mkhitaryan, who were invisible.
Henry Winter says that when Torreria starts, the one to lose his place should be Xhaka, not the energetic teenager Guendouzi.
Emery inherited the fixture list from hell AND a short transfer window.
At home to Manchester City in his first game, away to Chelsea in his second. City were flying last season, breaking many records. And they are still very dynamic and skilful.
Chelsea are not the second best team in the Premier League because they lack Liverpool’s firepower.
But the Blues might be the third best team in this league. Right now, like Emery, Maurizio Sarri is still getting to know his squad and his opponents.
Martin Keown reckons veteran keeper Petr Cech isn’t really suited to playing out from the back.
He said, “Cech made 42 touches – many more than he normally does, because the ball kept on being played back to him, rather than being passed up the pitch.”
A key point!
His team lacked bottle as well as fluency.
Keown noted: “It meant he seemed to be overworked and it felt like I was watching him with the ball at his feet for far too long. The ball needed to go forward quicker and the Arsenal fans obviously thought that too, because they cheered when Cech did launch it. I was a bit surprised that he did not do that more often, because there were times when Arsenal kept on losing the ball in dangerous positions and Cech’s experience should have told him to miss them out and go long.”
Chelsea v Arsenal is on Saturday at 5.30pm