Arsenal – Chelsea: Arsenal stopped its Premier League winless run at seven by building a three-goal lead and holding on for a 3-1 win over Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka, and Bukayo Saka helped the Gunners build their lead via a penalty, free kick, and counter attack, and Bernd Leno saved Jorginho’s late penalty to avoid a grandstand finish in North London.
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The Gunners didn’t have Willian, David Luiz, and Gabriel Magalhaes due to COVID-19 protocols but that hardly mattered.
Arsenal goes 14th with 17 points, while Chelsea’s third loss in four Premier League matches has them sixth with 25 points.
Tammy Abraham pulled one back for the Blues with six minutes to play, VAR awarding the goal after Abraham was originally-called offside.
Three things we learned from Arsenal – Chelsea
1. Gunners aren’t dead as Arteta makes chicken soup: Arsenal was without three notable players due to COVID-19 protocols and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was only fit for the subs bench but that didn’t stop Mikel Arteta from cooking up a not just winning but dominant recipe for success. Surprise starts for Emile Smith-Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli were more than decent, and Kieran Tierney delivered a marauding, playmaking performance out of the back. Arsenal’s seven shots on target were the only ones to reach a goalkeeper until the final 20 minutes when Chelsea finally and unsuccessfully mounted a bid to overtake the Gunners.
2. Chelsea’s extended wake-up call continues: Frank Lampard has mentioned on occasion that there can be some cart-before-horse when it comes to his Blues, and perhaps Chelsea thought it’s 3-0 defeat of West Ham was as decisive as the scoreline indicated, wasn’t worried about the stumbling Gunners, or both. Or maybe the West Ham win was just Chelsea hitting the snooze button.
The Blues have now lost three-of-four in Premier League play when just one more win over that stretch would have them second. Arsenal was decisively better than the Blues on Saturday. Think about the two clubs’ seasons and imagine that. Chelsea’s fightback came far too late.
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3. Xhaka returns with a bang: Granit Xhaka’s first goal of the season came with an exclamation point, the Swiss midfielder hitting a spinning piledriver over the wall and beyond the reach of a flying Edouard Mendy to make it 2-0 late in the first half. It was Xhaka’s first match back since taking a bad red card in a 1-0 loss to Burnley and the goal was just the statement he needed on an otherwise up-and-down day for him.
Man of the Match: Kieran Tierney
The ex-Celtic man was all over the pitch from winning the penalty to playing a driving role in Saka’s goal and setting up Martinelli’s chance which could’ve made it 4-0.
Arsenal – Chelsea recap
Pulisic won a 12th-minute free kick off Granit Xhaka with a turn-and-dribble through the heart of the Arsenal half. Mason Mount’s central rip from 26 yards curled just wide of the far post.
Pablo Mari chopped down Mateo Kovacic with a hard foul in the 16th.
Mohamed Elneny’s long pass from midfield was blocked onto the path of Timo Werner the other way and Rob Holding did well to block Werner’s shot out for a corner kick.
Reece James gave a penalty away to Kieran Tierney in the 33rd minute, and VAR couldn’t find a clear and obvious error in Michael Oliver’s decision that the Chelsea back clipped the foot of the Scottish Gunner.
Lacazette rolled his penalty past Edouard Mendy for 1-0.
It was another dead ball that made it 2-0, Xhaka smashing a free kick past Mendy before halftime.
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Saka notched the third goal when Tierney led a dribble through the heart of the midfield and Emile Smith-Rowe squared the ball. Saka’s cross drifted over Mendy and off the far post for 3-0.
Mendy then saved Gabriel Martinelli when cued up by Tierney after the hour mark.
Thiago Silva was shown a yellow card for a foul on Lacazette, then responded by heading a Mason Mount corner over the goal.