Arsenal ended their wretched recent run of form in emphatic style as they thumped Chelsea 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day.
The Gunners hit the front from the penalty spot through Alexandre Lacazette after Kieran Tierney was brought down in the box. They then extended that advantage from a stunning Granit Xhaka free-kick. Their win was seemingly rubber-stamped by Bukayo Saka’s cross that found its way into the net but Tammy Abraham pulled a goal back late on before Bernd Leno then denied Jorginho from the spot in stoppage time.
Here are things we learned from the Emirates Stadium:
Arsenal end terrible home run
Shockingly, this win against the Blues represents Arsenal’s first win in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium in five matches. In fact, they were coming into the match on a run of four defeats and a draw – which is why this victory was such a shock result. In fact, had they had lost, it would have been just the second time in 25 years that they had gone six games in row without a win in the league on home soil.
If the Gunners can start stringing some home victories together than they could very quickly climb up the table.
Gunners actually fire
One aspect that helped them to three points was actually their attacking play, ironically something that they have struggled with. The Gunners actually looked threatening throughout the game, racking up 15 shots and seven on target, the most they’ve had in a league match all season. It’s even considerably higher than their match average of 3.5.
That renewed creativity was a relief to see and should bode extremely well as Arsenal attempt to improve their fortunes.
Chelsea’s defensive worries return
Having racked up five consecutive clean sheets following the arrival of Edouard Mendy, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea developed a reputation as one of the most defensively stubborn sides in the league.
However, they have looked susceptible in recent weeks, with the Gunners looking likely of finding the net every time they went forwards. There didn’t appear to be much cohesion or organisation in the Blues’ defence and that showed in them conceding three to one of the most impotent teams in the league this season. Chelsea now need to tighten up again if they have aspirations of challenging Liverpool for the title.
Gunners’ mentality shows again
Of course the win is excellent for Arsenal but the mood and mentality at the Emirates Stadium shone through towards the final whistle. As soon as Abraham tapped home Chelsea’s only strike, the Gunners looked under real pressure, seemingly getting jitters as the final whistle approached.
Had Jorginho converted his penalty, it would certainly have been interesting to see if Mikel Arteta’s men were capable of hanging on. They certainly need to rectify that nature.
Indifferent Blues in top four battle?
Just when it seems that Chelsea are being talked up as title contenders, they appeear to suffer a shock defeat. That was again the case at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day.
It is also those kinds of results as to why they will simply not challenge for the league title at the end of the season. The Blues as a matter of fact are sitting outside of the UEFA Champions League places due to their inconsistency, at odds of 4/6 with Betfair to earn a place in the top four come the end of the campaign.
Arsenal: Leno (7); Tierney (7), Mari (5), Holding (6), Bellerin (6); Xhaka (7), Elneny (6), Smith-Rowe (6) (Willock (6), 65′); Saka (8), Martinelli (7) (Pepe (6), 71′), Lacazette (7) (Mustafi (N/A), 90+2′).
Chelsea: Mendy (5); Chilwell (5), Zouma (4), Silva (5), James (5); Kante (6) (Havertz (5), 71′), Kovacic (4) (Jorginho (5), 45′), Mount (5); Pulisic (5), Abraham (6), Werner (4) (Hudson-Odoi (5), 45′).
Goals: Lacazette (PEN 34′), Xhaka (44′), Saka (56′), Abraham (85′)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Yellow Cards: Mari (16′), Silva (73′), Tierney (83′)
Red Cards: N/A
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