LONDON — 10-man Arsenal fought back twice to draw 2-2 at London rivals Chelsea on Tuesday in a wild encounter at Stamford Bridge.
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Jorginho gave Chelsea the lead from the penalty spot after David Luiz was sent off but Gabriel Martinelli made it 1-1, then Cesar Azpilicueta put Chelsea back ahead and late on Hector Bellerin drew Arsenal level again in dramatic fashion.
With the point Arsenal are on 30 points and sit in 10th place, while Chelsea are on 40 points in fourth.
3 things we learned
1. Gutsy Arsenal pass a huge test: This was brilliant from Arteta‘s Arsenal, who were down to 10 men for over an hour. Bellerin didn’t stop running. Saka was superb at left back. Xhaka played brilliant at center back after a red card for Luiz. This was a landmark moment for Arsenal in their rebuild under Arteta. With all the players they were missing (Chambers, Sokratis, Aubameyang and Kolasinac to name a few) they showed true guts to come back and grab a draw in a London derby. They are 10 points behind Chelsea in the table but Arteta has them playing with an intensity which suggests they are trending in the right direction.
2. Chelsea miss Pulisic: The Blues had plenty of the ball but lacked creativity in the final third. I’m going to say it. They are missing USMNT playmaker Christian Pulisic who is out injured for the next few games. Willian and Hudson-Odoi were handled easily by Arsenal, while Frank Lampard‘s youngsters just ran out of ideas as Tammy Abraham missed a sitter and Chelsea, at times, looked like they were playing with 10 men. Pulisic’s trickery would have caused Arsenal problems and he would have run at the heart of Arsenal’s defense. Once again Chelsea slipped up at home and their top four hopes are in danger. Pulisic’s stock has risen without doing anything.
3. Martinelli ready for the big time: He is 18 years old and he’s now scored three goals in his five PL starts. His goal was a beauty as he put Kante under pressure and slotted home after running half the pitch. His composure is brilliant and with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang suspended, Martinelli has staked his claim that he is ready for the big time week in, week out. How can Arteta leave him out now?
Man of the Match: Hector Bellerin – Wore the captains armband with pride and marshalled the defense superbly, then cut in from the right late on to score an equalizer. After his injury nightmare in recent years, that was a lovely moment and Bellerin deserved it for his hard work.
Chelsea came flying out of the traps as Mateo Kovacic had a shot well blocked and then Andreas Christensen headed a corner wide after he got free at the back post.
Tammy Abraham then sent a header straight at Bernd Leno then Callum Hudson-Odoi whipped a cross onto the top of the bar as the Blues dominated with Mikel Arteta screaming at his team from the dugout.
A massive moment then arrived as Shkodran Mustafi‘s awful back pass set free Abraham and he rounded Leno but David Luiz took him out to concede a penalty kick and he was also sent off.
Jorginho calmly slotted home the penalty kick to make it 1-0 and Chelsea had Arsenal on the ropes as Leno then denied Callum Hudson-Odoi.
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At the start of the second half Chelsea dominate with Cesar Azpilicueta popping up in the box and causing problems while Abraham made a nuisance of himself.
But then disaster struck for the Blues, N’Golo Kante slipped at a crucial moment and Martinelli ran in on goal from the halfway line as the Brazilian teenager kept his cool to slot home and make it 1-1. Cue scenes in the away end.
Moments later Lacazette offside lashed home but he was clearly offside as the 10 men of Arsenal took the game to Chelsea.
Chelsea finally put Arsenal under pressure late on as Ross Barkley flicked Jorginho’s long ball goalwards but Leno saved superbly down low.
In the final five minutes all hell broke loose as first Apzilicueta flicked home a short corner to make it 2-1 but moments later Arsenal were level again.
Bellerin cut in from the right and sent a low curling shot into the far corner to send the away fans wild as Chelsea’s supporters couldn’t believe it.
Michy Batshuayi almost grabbed a win for Chelsea but he couldn’t get on the end of a low cross as a wild game ended level.