Football Features

“He gives something to our game that we did not have” – Player ratings as Lukaku and Chelsea dismantle Arsenal

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 18:42, 22 August 2021 | Updated: 18:25, 10 September 2021

In an impressive evening of football, Chelsea dominated Arsenal 0-2 at the Emirates.

The Blues made a huge statement by hammering the Gunners, stating their title intentions plainly for all to see.

Here’s how the players rated at the Emirates:

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Bernd Leno – 6- Had no chance with either Chelsea goal. Pulled off a miracle save to deny Lukaku late in the game.

Cedric – 6 – Competed well against the Chelsea attack. Fiesty in the tackle but was very weak on the second Chelsea goal as he allowed Havertz and Alonso to escape when they should have been locked down. Didn’t offer much in attack.

Rob Holding – 7 – Generally solid but had no help. Should have scored on the hour.

Pablo Mari – 4 – Ritually humiliated by Romelu Lukaku.

Kieran Tierney – 6 – An absolute dynamo in attack but left gaping holes behind him and those holes were exploited on both Chelsea goals. Given his importance to the attack, perhaps this is on Arteta to arrange proper cover, but it was a bad look for Tierney.

Albert Lokonga – 7 – Battled to regain possession and then advanced the ball intelligently too. One of Arsenal’s few bright spots.

Granit Xhaka – 5 – A bit of a problem in defence, but pushed up and got Arsenal moving forward.

Nicolas Pepe – 6 – Looked really bright in possession but just couldn’t make anything happen

Emile Smith-Rowe – 7 – Arsenal’s best and brightest attacking threat (again). A constant menace with his movement and ambition that actually kept the Chelsea defence on their toes.

Bukayo Saka – 6 – Tried his best but wasn’t 100% fit and thus his greatest contributions were drawing fouls. Admittedly he did that well and could have had a couple of penalties on a different day with a different official.

Gabriel Martinelli – 5 – Didn’t really excel on his big chance starting centrally.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (for Saka 61′) – 5 – Had one great run but was otherwise underserviced.

Nuno Tavares (for Tierney 66′) – 5 – Fared better than Tierney defensively but wasn’t as active in attack.

Folarin Balogun (for Martinelli ) – X


Edouard Mendy – 7 – Really solid when called on, especially a bit of sweeping in the second-half.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 8 – A ferocious performance from Chelsea’s captain, including an incredible block that preserved Chelsea’s clean sheet.

Andreas Christensen – 7 – Solid when tested but got caught out on that second-half Aubameyang chance.

Antonio Rudiger – 8 – Bullied everyone as per usual. Too solid.

Reece James – 8 – An incredible opening half where he tortured Arsenal’s bizarrely narrow defence. Set-up the opener well and scored the second with even more panache. Worked hard defensively too albeit he was lucky to not concede a penalty for a foul on Bukayo Saka.

Mateo Kovacic – 7 – Worked away in midfield. Was superior to his opponents but that wasn’t too hard.

Jorginho – 7 – Kept things ticking over nicely for the Blues, despite his ridiculous hair.

Marcos Alonso – 7 – Great work in the lead-up to Chelsea’s second goal and created a game-high 5 chances.

Mason Mount – 7 – Quietly effective. Nice assist for the second goal and just good play all-around.

Kai Havertz – 7 – Not his most impressive display but was too good for Arsenal. His movement off and on the ball was nice and his work in the lead-up to Chelsea’s second goal was quietly brilliant. Should have scored a third when put clean through late on.

Romelu Lukaku – 9 – A sensational return to the Premier League for Romelu Lukaku. Bullied the Arsenal defence to score the opening goal, pulled them all out of position and executed a flawless dummy for the second goal, and then just tortured the Gunners all evening long, being denied a second goal by a miracle save from Leno.

“He gives something to our game that we did not have,” said Thomas Tuchel post-match, and he’s right which is terrifying given that Chelsea won the Champions League without Lukaku. The Belgian’s all-around play makes him such a dangerous prospect, e.g. he played a deft pass to put a late chance on a plate for Havertz (only for him to miss). Just utterly outrageous stuff. It’s only been one game but Lukaku already looks every inch a striker that can fire the Blues to the Premier League crown.


N’Golo Kanté (for Kovacic 72′) – 7 – Came on and was instantly winning the ball back all over the place.

Hakim Ziyech (for Mount 82′) – 5 – Really amazing with his movement but his use of the ball was surprisingly poor.

Timo Werner (for Havertz 90′) – n/a – Came on late.