A goal by Romelu Lukaku on his second Chelsea debut and a strike from defender Reece James gave the Blues a comfortable 2-0 win over London rivals Arsenal on Sunday (22 August), their second win in as many games at the start of the Premier League. Season. The nearly invincible Lukaku needed only 15 minutes to get off the mark for the European champions after his alleged £97.5m ($132.8m) transfer from Inter Milan, tapping into a cross played by James on his way.
The wing-back himself scored Chelsea’s second goal 20 minutes later, taking his time to fire goalkeeper Bernd Leno after Mason Mount was found in an acre spot. Lukaku, who never scored a league goal for the Blues in his first spell at Stamford Bridge, showed why Chelsea were set to break their spending record to bring him back to the club seven years after leaving London.
The Belgium international provided the Blues with the kind of muscular presence in the attack that they have lacked since the departure of Diego Costa in 2017, when both running into Arsenal’s defense and scoring the ball with their backs .
He was involved in the move that led to his goal and only a reflex saved by Leno denied him for a second when The German pomped Lukaku’s point-blank header On bar with 15 minutes remaining.
Asked to describe his performance, Lukaku told Sky Sports: “Major, I would say. Major but as you know, as I said, I try to improve every time, I have a long way to go.” Have to, but today was good, winning and getting off to a good start.
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 22, 2021
Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel said he was very happy with the way Lukaku got into the team so early. “He gives our game something we didn’t have so much, like defending the balls and playing very straight in the front and last row,” Tuchel told Sky Sports.
“You can’t start with a better goal. He nearly scored a second – it was a big save by Bernd Leno – and he gave up some half-off chances and chances. It’s a good start and we have to improve from here.”
Arsenal, having lost their opening game to Brentford, lacked several key players due to injury and illness and threatened to disrupt Tuchel’s rarely well-drilled side. The Blues, who had kept another of their trademark clean sheets, could start with star names like N’Golo Kante, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech on the bench.