| 16.4°C Dublin

Romelu Lukaku breaks his Chelsea duck and gives Arsenal the blues

Reece James was also on target in a comfortable success for Thomas Tuchel’s team.

Close

Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku (centre) celebrates scoring their side’s first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday August 22, 2021.

Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku (centre) celebrates scoring their side’s first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday August 22, 2021.

Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku (centre) celebrates scoring their side’s first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday August 22, 2021.

Romelu Lukaku scored on his second Chelsea debut to set them on their way to a comfortable Premier League win over London rivals Arsenal.

Having failed to net in his 15 appearances during his first Chelsea spell, Lukaku needed just a quarter of an hour to make his mark as the Blues ran out 2-0 winners at the Emirates Stadium.

Reece James laid on Lukaku’s goal before scoring the second himself, with Arsenal unable to mount a serious challenge to get back into the contest.

Lukaku moved back to west London from Inter Milan last week and revealed he spoke to former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba in the build-up to this game – and he clearly took something from the conversation.

Drogba himself hit 13 goals in 15 games against Arsenal and Lukaku followed suit, sweeping home a low James cross from close range – netting his first Chelsea goal 3,648 days after his first appearance.

Arsenal had started well enough but the goal took the wind out of their sails, Pablo Mari and Rob Holding struggling to contain Lukaku with £50million summer signing Ben White absent due to a positive Covid test.

Close

Romelu Lukaku was a handful for Arsenal (Nick Potts/PA)

Romelu Lukaku was a handful for Arsenal (Nick Potts/PA)

Romelu Lukaku was a handful for Arsenal (Nick Potts/PA)

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta had already lost Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian and Alex Runarsson to Covid ahead of an opening day defeat at newly-promoted Brentford.

He had called on the returning Arsenal fans to help bridge the gap between the club and the current Premier League elite – but rousing support was in short supply when Mason Mount picked out James inside the box and he fired home Chelsea’s second 10 minutes before half-time.

In fact, large swathes of the home fans jeered as the players trudged off in the swirling rain at the interval.

Close

Reece James (centre) celebrates after doubling Chelsea’s lead (Nick Potts/PA)

Reece James (centre) celebrates after doubling Chelsea’s lead (Nick Potts/PA)

Reece James (centre) celebrates after doubling Chelsea’s lead (Nick Potts/PA)

The hosts should have arguably been given a chance to pull one back from the spot before then as the returning Bukayo Saka – given a warm welcome before kick-off – went down under pressure from James with neither referee Paul Tierney nor the VAR seeing enough to award a penalty.

Arsenal made a lively start to the second half, Saka forcing Edouard Mendy into his first meaningful save with a driven shot.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Holding then had a fine chance to halve the deficit with a header but could only steer his effort wide of goal.

Arteta then brought on Aubameyang for the tiring Saka. The last thing Arsenal needed at this stage was further fitness setbacks but that is exactly what happened as Kieran Tierney limped off, to be replaced by Nuno Tavares.

Close

It was a tough afternoon for Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal fans (Nick Potts/PA)

It was a tough afternoon for Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal fans (Nick Potts/PA)

It was a tough afternoon for Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal fans (Nick Potts/PA)

Chelsea once again took control of proceedings and Lukaku was denied a second goal of the afternoon when his diving header was brilliantly saved by Bernd Leno.

Gabriel Martinelli was the next Arsenal player to be forced off with injury as Folarin Balogun took his place for the closing stages.

The visitors saw out the game with ease, Leno saving well from Kai Havertz with plenty of home fans heading for home before the full-time whistle.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy