A London clash between Arsenal and Chelsea ended in a 3-0 victory for the Gunners on Saturday to finally earn three points on the table after several winless weeks.
Losers in their last five and sitting low in the bottom half of the table, Arsenal got off on the front foot with goals in the first half as Chelsea struggled to generate any meaningful attack in front of goal. Although the first half was largely even between the two sides on shot attempts with seven a piece, it was Arsenal with two shots on target for two opening goals.
Scoreboard: Arsenal 3, Chelsea 1 (FT)
⚽ Arsenal: Lacazette 34′ (PENALTY)
⚽ Arsenal: Xhaka 44′
⚽ Arsenal: Saka 56′
⚽ Chelsea: Abraham 85′
Arsenal set the tone
Reece James, who got the start despite being doubtful for the match, initiated some contact in the box clipping Kieran Tierney. After a VAR review confirmed the penalty, Lacazette converted to give Arsenal their opening goal in the 34th minute. It was a disappointing concession after Chelsea, despite not being able to pull ahead, had seemed to take control of the match after a shaky start.
Arsenal would then extend their lead just ahead of halftime with a free kick opportunity. After a tough foul from Kante on Saka set up the set piece, Xhaka executed a picture perfect free kick attempt bending the ball around the wall and sending it curling past the keeper. Chelsea keeper Mendy made a diving attempt to reach the ball, but it nestled perfectly in the upper right corner.
Second half shake up
Chelsea have had an inconsistent run of games over their last five weeks, with their offense looking lifeless with the forwards and midfielders failing to generate goals.
After a goalless first half, Manager Frank Lampard would try and shake things up and subbed off striker Timo Werner and Mateo Kovacic. Jorginho and Callum Hudson-Odoi came on in their places but added little impact as the home side would extend the lead to 3-0 with a goal in the 56th minute.
Emile Smith Rowe was able to feed Saka from the wing into open space and the midfielder had time to settle and chip the keeper for a lofty (perhaps unintentional) goal.
Tammy Abraham would get a consolation goal back for Chelsea in the 85th minute as he chested down a goal that was initially called offside but upheld with VAR. The wheels would finally fall all the way off for Chelsea after they were awarded a penalty kick and Jorginho stepped up and took a weak attemp which was saved comfortably by Bernd Leno.
Bernd Leno, Arsenal: The goalkeeper didn’t get tested too often by the Blues but his presence in net kept the opposition out when his number was called. Made a penalty kick save late in the game to preserve Arsenal’s two goal lead. Rating: 7.5
Bukayo Saka, Arsenal: The midfielder was every where on the pitch today for the Gunners. Frustrating the opposition when they tried to attack, and transitioning into offense for his team when they needed it. Earned the foul that led to Xhaka’s free kick goal, and scored Arsenal’s third goal. Rating: 8.5
Timo Werner, Chelsea: It was a short day for Werner, after another match of struggles in front of goal. The German striker has had a rough go of late and only went 45 minutes today before getting the halftime hook after only managing two shots, neither on target. Rating: 4
A huge performance from Arsenal to pull off a much needed win. The victory snapped a 7-match Premier League winless run, and it is their first league win since Nov. 1. An important win with meaning in attack as the Gunners finally scored more than two goals in a match for the first time since Oct. 4 and they’ll look to continue their goal scoring against Brighton on Dec. 29.
For Chelsea it’s another match looking for answers on offense as the team found themselves blowing an opportunity to jump into second on the Premier League table. With the loss they now sit in sixth place, and will face Aston Villa on Dec. 28.