Player ratings as the Blues slump to disappointing draw
Nottingham Forest and Chelsea shared the spoils on New Year’s Day, with the home side fighting back to earn a deserved point.
Chelsea dominated possession from the off but the first chance of the match would fall to the hosts, with Brennan Johnson being played through on goal by Morgan Gibbs-White but seeing his effort saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
He was made to pay for that miss just five minutes later when Raheem Sterling gave Chelsea the lead, tucking in a rebound after Christian Pulisic’s cross was inadvertently flicked onto the bar by Willy Boly.
The visitors controlled proceedings after that with the majority of the game being played inside Nottingham Forest’s half.
For all of their possession though, Graham Potter’s side weren’t able to create any other big chances, and so they headed into the break with just the one goal lead.
The home side made a strong start to the second half with Taiwo Awoniyi getting the ball in the box and firing an effort straight at Kepa shortly before the Spanish goalkeeper was forced into action again, palming away a shot from Johnson.
Forest continued to push and Gibbs-White so nearly brought them level in stunning fashion, hitting the woodwork with a perfect volley from the edge of the box.
Steve Cooper’s team were rewarded for their efforts just after the hour mark when Serge Aurier controlled a knock-down from a corner with his chest and volleyed in from close range.
Chelsea fans would’ve hoped that would spark their team into life but that wasn’t the case with Forest continuing to be the more threatening of the two teams.
Substitutions then turned the tide of the game in the away team’s favour though, and two of them linked up when Hakim Ziyech sent in a cross for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but the striker headed wide of the target under pressure from Aurier.
That would prove to be the final big chance of the match with Nottingham Forest holding on fairly comfortably to take a valuable and deserved point.
GK – Dean Henderson – 5/10 – Had a quiet night, only faced two shots on goal but maybe could have reacted quicker for the one that went in.
RB – Serge Aurier – 7/10 – After a quiet first half he got forward well in the second and took his goal excellently.
CB – Joe Worrall – 6/10 – Didn’t do much wrong at the back, helping keep Chelsea’s attack quiet.
CB – Willy Boly – 7/10 – Was unlucky for the Chelsea goal and made amends with an assist and some excellent defending later on.
LB – Renan Lodi – 5/10 – Looked shaky at the back at times and couldn’t do too much at the other end either.
CM – Orel Mangala – 5/10 – Wasn’t able to assert himself on the game much, failing to make a single tackle or create anything for his forwards.
CM – Remo Freuler – 7/10 – Played really well at the heart of the midfield, winning the ball back and keeping things ticking over for his team.
CM – Ryan Yates – 6/10 – Worked hard but lacked a bit of quality and was a little too rash at times in and out of possession.
RW – Brennan Johnson – 6/10 – Caused some problems for the Chelsea defence with his pace but lacked an end product, firing two big chances straight at Kepa.
ST – Morgan Gibbs-White – 8/10 – Easily the best attacker on the pitch, creating two huge chances with excellent passes, dribbling past opponents a number of times and so nearly scoring a wonderful goal.
LW – Taiwo Awoniyi – 7/10 – Was a real livewire on the left wing, taking on players, winning the ball and creating some chances. The only area in which he was lacking was his shooting.
Jack Colback (78′ for Mangala) – N/A.
Sam Surridge (82′ for Johnson) – N/A.
Neco Williams (88′ for Awoniyi) – N/A.
Steve Cooper – 8/10 – Reacted excellently to going behind, making tactical tweaks that saw his team dominate most of the second half.
GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga – 7/10 – Made a few excellent saves and couldn’t do anything about the goal.
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta – 5/10 – Was okay at the back most of the time but struggled to deal with Awoniyi’s physicality and didn’t do a whole lot going forward.
CB: Kalidou Koulibaly – 6/10 – Defended well for most of the match and passed the ball well.
CB: Thiago Silva – 7/10 – Continues to be Chelsea’s best defender, rarely putting a foot wrong.
LB: Marc Cucurella – 5/10 – Would’ve hoped to make more of an impact in attack.
CM: Jorginho – 5/10 – Couldn’t dictate the game as he likes to, not making much of an impact when on the ball.
CM: Denis Zakaria – 4/10 – Wasn’t good in the middle of the park, failing to create any chances or win the ball back much.
RM: Raheem Sterling – 6/10 – Scored a good goal and created a chance but was quiet asides from those moments.
AM: Mason Mount – 5/10 – Got on the ball more than his midfield partners but didn’t make much use of it.
LM: Christian Pulisic – 6/10 – Sent in a good cross for the opening goal and was his team’s biggest threat for much of the match.
CF: Kai Havertz – 3/10 – Was invisible for most of the match.
Mateo Kovacic (61′ for Zakaria) – 5/10 – Wasn’t able to help his team wrestle back control of the game.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (73′ for Mount) – N/A
Conor Gallagher (73′ for Sterling) – N/A
Hakim Ziyech (73′ for Jorginho) – N/A
Carney Chukwuemeka (87′ for Pulisic) – N/A
Graham Potter – 4/10 – His team started well but why he allowed them to give away control of the match after taking the lead we don’t know. Far too cautious and it cost Chelsea.
Player of the Match – Morgan Gibbs-White
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Arsenal pre-season 2023/24: Fixtures and schedule
Having reached new heights in the Premier League in 2022/23, Arsenal will soon be beginning their preparations for the new campaign with a pre-season tour to get ready for 2023/24.
Preparations for last season took place in Germany for Arsenal but with the Covid-19 pandemic a bit more of a distant memory for many, it is expected that more teams will be heading further afield again to either the United States of America or Asia.
Arsenal are yet to announce a full training camp location for their pre-season but they do have one fixture already confirmed which drops a big clue.
The Gunners are going to be coming up against an MLS All-Star team in Washington D.C. which will be coached by Manchester United and England legend Wayne Rooney. That takes place on July 19 and it is hard to imagine that Arsenal will only play one game in America.
A semi-regular fixture of Arsenal’s pre-seasons in recent years has been the Emirates Cup, but there has not been any word on whether an edition of that will be taking place or not this summer. If there is, then Arsenal could be splitting their time between America and London.
All times BST.
As is the case for almost every big club in football now, all of Arsenal’s pre-season friendlies are expected to be televised live on Arsenal.com and their official app with a subscription.
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