Monday, May 20, 2024

Chelsea 3-2 Arsenal: Blues win encapsulating first London derby of the season

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Chelsea won the first London derby on Saturday afternoon as they beat Arsenal 3-2 in an absorbing clash at Stamford Bridge.

Mauricio Sarri’s men got off to the perfect start in their first home game of the season as Pedro tucked home in only the ninth minute. Alvaro Morata extended the advantage only ten minutes later before Henrikh Mhkitaryan earned a foothold for the Gunners with a special strike. Unai Emery’s troops completed their comeback through Alex Iwobi’s close range finish. However, the game was not to be finished there as Marcos Alonso was teed up by Eden Hazard with only ten minutes left.

Pedro pounces to give hosts perfect start

Arsenal’s first chance of the game was created by Nacho Monreal as he made an excellent overlapping run down the wing. His cross found an unmarked Mesut Özil but the German could not volley home.

Another defender, Marcos Alonso, played a key role in the opening strike. The Spaniard was released by Jorginho and put an excellent, l0w cross towards Pedro. The ex-Barcelona man had an easy task as he tucked the ball into the bottom corner.

Ross Barkley then had an excellent chance as he was teed up by N’Golo Kanté but his effort from the edge of the area whistled just over the bar. 

Morata shows Aubameyang how it is done

Arsenal should really have equalised through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Hector Bellerin was excellently played through by Mattéo Guendouzi. He took his time and picked out the striker with an excellent cut-back but his finish from only a few yards out was blasted high over the bar.

The hosts took advantage only a few seconds later through Morata. He was found with a excellent lofted ball from Cesar Azpilicueta and shrugged off the challenge Sokratis. The Spaniard then showed his clinical instincts in front of goal to roll the ball under the advancing Petr Čech.

Another huge chance was then spurned by the Gunners, this time by Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian was found well by Alex Iwobi, but much like Aubameyang, lifted the ball high over the crossbar.

Mhkitaryan atones for error to give Arsenal a lifeline before Iwobi equalises

The Gunners were given a foothold with only minutes of the first-half remaining. The ball fell to Mkhitaryan on the edge of the box and made no mistake this time as he arrowed the ball into the bottom corner.

The excellent start to the game continued as Iwobi then surprisingly equalised for the visitors. Mhkitaryan, growing more and more influential as the minutes ticked on, found space on the right-wing and produced a teasing centre. Iwobi was the man to duly receive the cross and smash it past Kepa at the first time of asking.

The Nigerian did excellently again to tee up Aubameyang but the Gabon forward put his low effort just inches wide of the Chelsea goal.

Alonso strikes late to claim win for Chelsea

Ross Barkley was lively in the second-half and tested Čech with a low drive that the stopper parried away. Aubameyang did find the net but his strike was ruled out due to a prior offside call.

Chelsea were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area as substitute Kovačić was fouled. David Luiz stepped up and troubled Čech who could only punch away the Brazilian’s fierce effort.

Despite relatively few chances in the second-half, Chelsea took their opportunity when it mattered most. Eden Hazard, who was introduced for Willian, skipped past Lacazette and speared a low ball into the unmarked Marcos Alonso. The full-back finished excellently as he swept the ball underneath Čech to reclaim the lead for Mauricio Sarri’s troops.

Čech keeps Arsenal in the game

Regardless of the lead, the Blues kept pressing in the closing stages of the game. Čech denied Hazard from close range before Marcos Alonso’s cross found former Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman set his sights but had his effort tipped away by his former teammate.

Aaron Ramsey produced a stunning dipping effort after latching onto Mhkitaryan’s knock-down but the ball did not dip quick enough and went just over the bar.

Chelsea should have finished the game as Hazard and Giroud counter-attacked but once again Čech stood firm to deny the Frenchman. It mattered not though as the Gunners left Stamford Bridge empty-handed as Chelsea secured back-to-back wins in the Premier League.

Final Thoughts

Not one particularly for the defences, this one. The attacking endeavour displayed by both teams was thrilling to watch and produced a stunning scoreline at half-time. However, there is much for both teams to learn as they move forward.

In all though, Chelsea deserved the victory and could well have found the net even more. They can now focus on next Sunday’s clash with Newcastle United. Meanwhile, Arsenal have another London derby to look forward to as they take on West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium next Saturday.

Match Report

Chelsea: Kepa (7); Azpilicueta (7), Rudiger (6), Luiz (6), Alonso (7); Kanté (8), Jorginho (7), Barkley (7) (Kovačić (6), 60′); Willian (6) (Hazard (7), 60′), Morata (7) (Giroud (6), 75′), Pedro (7).

Arsenal: Čech (7); Monreal (6), Sokratis (6), Mustafi (5), Bellerin (5); Guendouzi (6), Xhaka (5) (Torreira (6), 46′); Iwobi (7) (Lacazatte (5), 75′), Mkhitaryan (7), Özil (6) (Ramsey (6), 68′); Aubameyang (6).

Goals: Pedro (9′), Morata (20′), Mkhitaryan (37′), Iwobi (41′), Alonso (81′)

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Yellow Cards: Xhaka (27′), Mustafi (77′)

Red Cards: N/A

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is a football journalism graduate from the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately six years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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