Chelsea were somewhat fortunate to beat Arsenal 3-2 on Saturday night at Stamford Bridge after surrendering a two goal lead.
Two early goals from Pedro and Alvaro Morata gave Chelsea a comfortable lead, but Arsenal kept unlocking the Chelsea defence down the Blues’ left flank.
Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang and Henrik Mhikitarian squandered gilt-edged chances from 6 yards following low crosses from the right hand side, before the Armenian struck from outside the box to pull one back for the Gunners.
Alex Iwobi then finally finished off the move that had unlocked the Chelsea back line so many times to restore parity just before the end of the first half and the Blues were lucky to go into half time drawing.
The first half had been manic, but normality was resumed slightly in the second period with just one goal. Good work from Hazard allowed the ball to fall to Marcos Alonso, who shot low under the keeper via a slight deflection.
All in all the win is an excellent result for Chelsea over a top six team but both teams were far from their best, but the most worrying sign from a Chelsea perspective is the defence.
David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger are not yet close to a stable partnership and to me are both part of a new breed of adventurous centre-backs, where only one at a time is necessary and possibly wise.
Not only do they posses a potential liability, but they are flanked on the left by Marcos Alonso, who is not a full back.
Despite a high similarity in roles, Alonso seems only capable of playing a wing-back role, which he does as one of the best in the world, but his defensive work rate and positioning in a back four troubles me.
This leaves only Azpilicueta as a reliable defender who makes few mistakes, but only one defender at a time sticking completely to a defensive line will never work as a unit, and therefore Chelsea will be in deep trouble when they face an attacking team fired up to produce a result.
Unfortunately, I have little faith in Gary Cahill to be a suitable replacement following his lack of pace and desire to fly into tackles and blocks without thinking things through, Emerson doesn’t seem to have settled at the club quite yet and Kurt Zouma has been loaned to Everton.
Whether or not these problems will be solved through Maurizio Sarri’s new tactics when they are familiar will remain to be seen, but Chelsea have so far been fortunate to not face anyone with extreme attacking threat in the opening weeks, and when they play Manchester City it could be a cricket scoreline.