Petr Cech, Arsenal Beat Chelsea After Penalties in 2018 ICC ActionAugust 1, 2018
Petr Cech saved from Ruben Loftus-Cheek before Alex Iwobi scored as Arsenal beat Chelsea 6-5 on penalties in the 2018 International Champions Cup at Dublin's Aviva Stadium on Wednesday night.
Spot-kicks were needed following a 1-1 draw in normal time when Alexandre Lacazette scored an equaliser in the 93rd minute to cancel out Antonio Rudiger's fifth-minute header. Cech had also saved a penalty from Alvaro Morata in regulation on a difficult night for the misfiring striker.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi caught the eye after tormenting an unconvincing Arsenal defence.
Chelsea Can't Rely on Alvaro Morata for Another Season
If they didn't know it already, the Blues received ample evidence for why they should replace Alvaro Morata this summer. Chelsea simply can't rely on the profligate Spanish striker for another season after he spurned a host of presentable chances, particularly during the first half.
Morata's most notable miss came in the 15th minute when he saw a tame penalty rebuffed by Cech:
The impressive Hudson-Odoi had won the penalty after drawing a foul from Hector Bellerin, and the 17-year-old created more chances Morata wasted:
Chelsea's misfiring No. 9 ended the half in the same wasteful way he'd started it:
If this performance was supposed to give new manager Maurizio Sarri an appraisal of his attacking options, he learned Morata doesn't have the ruthless efficiency needed to lead the line.
Chelsea have been linked with AC Milan target Gonzalo Higuain, who used to be Sarri's star pupil at Napoli, per Joe Short of the Daily Express. Those links should get stronger after Morata's latest calamity in front of goal.
Hudson-Odoi Must Not be Another Loanee Lost in the Shuffle
Chelsea's habit of stockpiling talented youngsters only to send them out on loan multiple times has almost become a running joke in recent seasons:
Yet it's not funny when the west London club misses out on a potential star because of the apparent youth-averse policy.
It happened with Kevin De Bruyne, but history can't repeat itself with Hudson-Odoi. The dynamic wide forward offered numerous glimpses of his obvious potential as he tore through Arsenal with ease in Dublin.
Every trick, twist and turn left an onlooker increasingly astonished:
A preseason this impressive will surely boost the 17-year-old's stock both on and off the pitch:
Sarri should use Hudson-Odoi as an example of why the Blues need to snap their recent trend of losing precocious talents in the shuffle.
Arsenal Haven't Done Enough to Fix Leaky Defence
Only conceding once doesn't mask the fact Arsenal's defence still looked frail and accident-prone. Had it not been for Morata's wasteful night, along with Rudiger missing what should have been an easy second when he headed wide after the break, the Gunners would have been embarrassed.
It's up to new head coach Unai Emery to fix a shoddy back line that cost Arsenal UEFA Champions League football for a second-straight season. On this evidence, Arsene Wenger's successor hasn't done enough to address the problem.
Emery's lone addition to defence has been centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund. The Greek international started alongside Shkodran Mustafi, with Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac at full-back.
Yet this familiar group was far from settled:
The need for better protection from midfield is obvious, but even new boy Lucas Torreira won't be able to hide the lack of talent behind him for long. Emery would be wise to recruit another defender before the summer transfer window shuts on August 9.
In short, Manchester City are looming on the horizon for these London rivals. FA Cup holders Chelsea face the Premier League champions in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, while Arsenal begin the new season hosting City a week later.
Before then, the Gunners will travel to Stockholm, Sweden to close out their preseason duties with a friendly against Lazio.