Chelsea made the perfect start to their pre-season tour as Michy Batshuayi scored twice in a 3-0 win over Arsenal.
Two goals in as many minutes from Willian (40) and Batshuayi (42) put Chelsea two up at the break in Beijing before the Belgian striker added his second four minutes into the second period.
Chances were few and far between for Arsenal and it was Chelsea who looked the more likely to score the game’s fourth goal but, ultimately, they had to settle for three – still more than enough for a comfortable win.
The first real chance came six minutes later as Willian incepted a loose pass from Ainsley Maitland-Niles and reached the edge of the area before hitting his left-foot shot just wide.
Arsenal were struggling to make any real impression on the game but they were given a few moments to regroup after Pedro, so lively in the opening stages, was forced off having been caught by David Ospina as the Arsenal goalkeeper rushed out to punch clear a ball over the top.
That led to something of a lull in the action before Chelsea suddenly burst into life, Willian bringing another save out of Ospina before Batshuayi converted Cesc Fabregas’ cross, only to see the flag raised for offside against the Spaniard.
The goal soon arrived though as Mertesacker dived in, allowing Batshuayi to spin him on the halfway line before feeding Willian. The Brazilian then stood up Nacho Monreal on the edge of the box before cutting inside and hitting his shot in off the post.
Less than two minutes later, Batshuayi doubled Chelsea’s lead; collecting N’Golo Kante’s pass, shifting the ball onto his left foot and bending the ball into the far corner.
Any Arsenal hopes of making a second-half comeback were soon dashed as Chelsea added a classy third. Fabregas sprayed the ball wide to Marcos Alonso, who cut inside before teeing up Batshuayi to side-foot the ball into the top corner from 18 yards out.
That all but ended the game as a contest but Chelsea did have opportunities to extend their lead, Willian having his snapshot saved by Ospina prior to Victor Moses seeing his goal-bound effort blocked.
Olivier Giroud, on as a half-time substitution despite a little confusion over whether he was named on the official teamsheet, gave Willy Caballero a couple of saves to make in the Chelsea goal but Antonio Conte’s side were largely comfortable and only a few heavy touches denied them further goals on the break.
The Belgian forward was involved in all three Chelsea goals, scoring two and providing the assist for Willian. With Diego Costa seemingly on his way out at Stamford Bridge, it was just the performance he needed to show Conte that he can challenge new signing Alvaro Morata for a first team berth this season.
His goal at West Brom sealed the Premier League title last season and he showed his finishing prowess once more in Beijing with two clinical left-foot strikes. Whether that will be enough to keep Morata out of the first XI come August remains to be seen though.
Arsenal have a full week to recover as they look to bounce back from this defeat. Their next fixture comes against Benfica in the Emirates Cup next Saturday.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are back in action on Wednesday with another heavyweight clash, former boss Carlo Ancelotti and his Bayern Munich side, their opponents.