Two new faces took to the field for Arsenal and Chelsea on the opening weekend of the 2018/19 Premier League season. But it was an entirely different story for Matteo Guendouzi and Jorginho.
The highly-rated teenager Guendouzi was thrown straight into the action by Unai Emery against the English champions. Guendouzi impressed many with his debut performance but he could not stop his side from suffering a 2-0 defeat on home soil.
By contrast, big-money recruit Jorginho found the back of the net as Chelsea began their campaign with a 3-0 win over Huddersfield.
Now, both men, who like to show a physical presence from a defensive standpoint and an ability to get on the ball and drive forward, will lock horns at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.
Under new manager Emery, Arsenal are playing a new style of football which requires his players to be comfortable on the ball, deep into their half whilst the opposition are trying to suffocate them in. This perhaps indicates why Guendouzi had five bad controls during the game against Manchester City and Jorginho only had the one against Huddersfield.
If the same problems occur again then Chelsea’s new boss Maurizio Sarri will have equipped his players to punish the opposition.
Even though, Emery will be instructing his players to play out from the back it won’t be a surprise to see the home side dominate the ball at the weekend. Playing on the counter, with the quality and speed of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette is perhaps the way forward for the Gunners at the Bridge.
If that is the case, then they will need to be strong in midfield. Guendouzi’s four tackles and four interceptions against City will be an area that will excite the Arsenal fans. As you can see from the stats, Jorginho is comfortable on the ball. He made 66 passes at the weekend and 93.9% of those found his teammates. Stopping the Brazilian from getting on the ball will be key because he can hurt the opposition. Not only that, Eden Hazard will be expected to start and Arsenal fans will not want Jorginho firing passes at his feet in the final third because the Belgian will punish you.
Playing at home, Chelsea will look to play a high line which will give Aubameyang ample room in behind Sarri’s newly built four-man defence. Whilst Guendouzi isn’t as comfortable on the ball as Jorginho, the young Frenchman does like to play a ball over the top. He played four against City to no avail, but expect him and Arsenal to persist in their new way of playing as Emery looks to find the perfect formula.