Romelu Lukaku was the star of the show as Chelsea continued their perfect start to the campaign as they look to mount a title challenge with a 2-0 win over Arsenal.
It was a somewhat frantic start to proceedings in North London, with both sides fashioning early opportunities in front of a feverish and hopeful crowd at the Emirates.
However, it would be Chelsea who would strike the first blow, and having splashed out a club-record £97.5 million to re-sign Lukaku, the Belgian began to repay that outlay after just 15 minutes.
The former Manchester United man received the ball to feet, held off Pablo Mari with ease before laying it back into midfield. The ball was fed out to Reece James on the Chelsea right, and having pulled his man out of position, Lukaku darted into the box to tap home James’ cross from inside six yards.
Having set up the first, James netted the second 10 minutes before the interval. Arsenal players were seemingly being attracted to the very presence of Lukaku centrally, with the young Englishman finding himself in acres of space down the right as he received the ball from Mason Mount, before taking a touch and confidently firing past Bernd Leno.
Arsenal finished the first half brightly, and began the second in similar fashion, though they couldn’t quite capitalise on their spells of pressure.
Lukaku, making his 16th appearance for the club, was a real handful throughout the game though and was stunned not to see the ball flying into the back of the net for a second time, Arsenal ‘keeper Leno acrobatically tipping the 28-year-old’s diving header onto the crossbar with 12 minutes to play.
Romelu Lukaku’s game by numbers vs. Arsenal:
95% pass accuracy
11 touches in opp. box (most)
8 shots (most)
8 duels won (most)
2 shots on target
2 fouls won
1 big chance created
Another debut goal for Big Rom. ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/kgo8cTyetz
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 22, 2021
Speaking after the game, Chelsea’s new number nine was pleased to get his second stint at the club underway with three points.
“I am very happy with the win, we played very well and dominated,” he told Sky Sports. “We could have scored more, but coming here with this performance, we have to continue like that.”
Asked to assess his own performance, the former Inter Milan striker man replied: “Dominant, I would say. I try to improve every time, I have a long way to go but today was good to win. We have to win and keep going, the Premier League is a very competitive league.
“I try, I try. At the end of the day, you want to work hard for the team, score and create chances. I have worked on that and this team is very talented. They are the European champions and they want to keep building and I want to keep winning. We have to keep fighting and keep delivering performances like this.
“You saw a lot, not only from me but the team adapted really well and they made life very comfortable for me and I was not stressed coming into the game. I only had one thing on my mind, winning the game and I am delighted for the club and fans.
“There are good goalkeepers in this league and the save was really good. I was mad I did not score.
“It is good to start like this, I worked hard throughout the week, we knew it was a big game and we did well. As an individual, I want to help the team and I want to continue doing that.”
Next up for Chelsea is another tricky away day, taking a trip to Merseyside to take on potential title rivals, Liverpool.