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Tammy Abraham scores winner as Chelsea hold on to beat Arsenal in pre-season

Metro logo Metro 01/08/2021 Aden-Jay Wood
N'Golo Kanté standing in front of a crowd of people watching a baseball game: Tammy Abraham scored what proved to be the winner for Chelsea against Arsenal (Picture: Getty) © Provided by Metro Tammy Abraham scored what proved to be the winner for Chelsea against Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Tammy Abraham scored the winning goal as Chelsea held on for a 2-1 win against Arsenal in the opening game of the Mind Series pre-season competition.

Goals from Kai Havertz and Abraham, who is reportedly a target for today’s opposition, took advantage of a Hector Bellerin mistake shortly after a Granit Xhaka header had equalised for the Gunners.

Around 25,000 fans were in attendance at the Emirates Stadium for the first men’s game of the tournament which includes Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. 

a crowd of people watching a football game: Arsenal v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly © Provided by Metro Arsenal v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly

Chelsea, who welcomed back the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Timo Werner and Havertz following their extended breaks after Euro 2020, decided to implement a back three with Callum Hudson Odoi and Christian Pulisic in fairly unfamiliar wing-back positions.

a football player on a field: Arsenal v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly © Provided by Metro Arsenal v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly

It was the West London side who broke the deadlock after 27 minutes when Werner found Havertz in acres of space following a sharp counter attack. The German midfielder, who scored the winner in last season’s Champions League Final, smashed a venomous shot passed his national teammate Bernd Leno. 

a crowd of people watching a football game: Kai Havertz opened the deadlock for Chelsea. (Picture: Getty) © Provided by Metro Kai Havertz opened the deadlock for Chelsea. (Picture: Getty)

Werner almost made it two shortly after when he broke away from the Arsenal defence only to skew a toe poked shot wide from a tight angle.

At the other end Emile Smith Rowe’s low left-footed strike cannoned against the foot of Edouard Mendy’s post in the Chelsea goal. The ball fell to Thomas Partey who went down under pressure from Hakim Ziyech but referee Andre Marriner waved away claims for a penalty. 

a crowd of people watching a football ball: Arsenal v Chelsea: The Mind Series © Provided by Metro Arsenal v Chelsea: The Mind Series

And that was one of Partey’s last pieces of action in the match as he was forced off with an ankle injury sustained in the coming together. Arsenal will be hoping his injury isn’t serious with the start of the Premier League season just under two weeks away.

a football player on a field: Thomas Partey was forced off late on in the first half with an ankle injury. (Getty) © Provided by Metro Thomas Partey was forced off late on in the first half with an ankle injury. (Getty)

The Ghanian was replaced by Granit Xhaka who looked to be on his way out of the club earlier this window. The Swiss midfielder is now expected to stay at the Emirates after no club met their valuation of the player. 

a crowd of people watching a football game: Arsenal v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly © Aden-Jay Wood Arsenal v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly

It was then Chelsea’s turn to hit the post when Ziyech’s sweet left foot strike smashed against the upright. Hudson-Odoi also had a good chance to double Chelsea’s lead before the break but his shot was well saved by Leno. 

A whole host of changes were made at half time for both teams, including an Arsenal debut for England international Ben White who was signed from Brighton for £50m on Friday.

The Emirates crowd raised their voices with the arrival of White and were almost rewarded when Nicolas Pepe found himself in a good position but his scuffed shot fell harmlessly wide. 

The exuberance of Arsenal’s defence was almost caught out once again as Ziyech sprung the offside trap and found himself one-on-one with Leno, however he took too long to get a shot away and allowed White to get back and make a fine goal-saving tackle.

The Gunners took advantage of that let-off midway through the second half when Xhaka towered above everyone else from a corner to power a header passed the motionless Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The game wasn’t level for long, however, after a miss-placed pass from Bellerin fell into the path of Abraham and the Chelsea striker coolly slotted the ball into the corner of the net. 

a crowd of people watching a football ball: Ben White made his debut for Arsenal after signing from Brighton on Friday. (Getty) © Provided by Metro Ben White made his debut for Arsenal after signing from Brighton on Friday. (Getty)

Arsenal had a chance to level things late on when a wonderful cross from the impressive Nuno Tavares found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but his glancing header couldn’t find the target.

With the Gunners pressing, they had an even better chance when Pepe rolled a pass back to Joe Willock who’s shot from outside the box crashed against the crossbar.

Arsenal fans and players alike felt that the ball had gone over the line, but without goal line technology in play, the officials didn’t give it, despite replays suggesting they had a claim.

The Gunners round off their pre-season next Sunday away to Tottenham in the final match of the Mind Series tournament, while Chelsea welcome Spurs to Stamford Bridge in the same competition on Wednesday.

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