by Henry Huang ’27
On a chilly evening, the heated encounter between Arsenal and Chelsea led to an upset for both sides after the match resulted in a 2-2 draw. Though the game resulted in a draw, the narration of the game was anything but dull.
The early stages of the match saw Chelsea’s young gun, Cole Palmer, converting a penalty at the 15th minute mark because of a reasonable handball by Arsenal. This was subsequently followed by a fortuitous goal from Mykhailo Mudryk at 48′, taking advantage of a goalkeeping error by Arsenal’s David Raya, on loan from Brentford as a substitute for Ramsdale, perhaps not such a good decision by Arsenal. Raya left his goalpost and Mudryk immediately took this to find himself a big chance to score. Chelsea’s domination seemed unyielding with a 2-0 lead at the halftime that looked set to seal Arsenal’s fate that wouldn’t be so surprising.
At halftime, I listened as a couple of students from Bellarmine had strong opinions and a fiery discussion about the game. Sanath Krishna ‘27 says that “We are not doing our best. We need to improve and bring on some new substitutions if we want to win this game. After all, we’re only 1 goal down and have some time to catch up.” – Sanath Krishna ‘27 On the other hand, another person who would prefer to remain anonymous, commented that he believed “Arsenal should win. They are ten times better than Chelsea and they deserve the win.”
Personally, I felt that Chelsea was sure to win. Chelsea is not at all worse than Arsenal and their early goal would give them an advantage into the late game. Yet, we see none but surprises in the second half.
Arsenal’s first goal was from Declan Rice, a recent transfer from West Ham, at 77′, which widely embarrassed Chelsea goalkeeper Robert Sanchez. The equalizer came from Leandro Trossard at 84′. This was widely assisted following a precise cross from Bukayo Saka.
Ultimately it was a tale of two halves – Chelsea and Arsenal fought a good fight. Both teams began in 4-3-3 formation, but as the game evolved, subs brought in by Arsenal manager Mikel Arfeta changed the dynamics. The intro of Trossard and other subs who were brought into the match were able to bring vigor to the game that saved Arsenal from complete humiliation.
A key player for Arsenal was David Raya – despite such a shame, shame, shame in his conceding of Chelsea’s second goal, he made crucial saves that kept Arsenal in the game. Perhaps David Raya can replace Ramsdale after all.
On the flip side, Chelsea’s early domination in the match explains their good game at the start, however they were unable to keep on this possession domination and eventually conceded their lead.
Despite the draw, surprisingly Arsenal’s unbeaten streak continues, and they sit 3rd on the table only on goal difference. For Chelsea – they went back to competing with Man United for the bottom half trophy; they have a challenging future fixture list and they need to get past their bad form. As a Bellarmine student Abhinav Aggarwal comments two days after the game that Arsenal should not have won. Personally, he is not a Chelsea fan, but he felt that Chelsea is definitely superior to Arsenal in terms of team chemistry and tactics. He really had my hopes up in the first half, but alas Arsenal came back and tied with Chelsea. Arsenal has yet to lose a game, and Chelsea still has some hope of coming back up the table.
I believe Arsenal should have lost completely. After the second Chelsea goal I thought Arsenal was bound to lose, but they eventually came back strong, and it was surprising, especially with the scorers who were least likely to score. Hopefully Arsenal does not get past Manchester City in the next few fixtures, though. And with a final note, on the day right after the game, Sanath Krishna ‘27, a massive Arsenal fan, who had his hopes up about Arsenal’s upcoming fixture against Sheffield United, commented that he felt Arsenal is better; though they may have tied, they are going to win the game next weekend against Sheffield.