Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal
Arsenal came from behind twice to take a point from Chelsea after the Blues had dominated a thrilling London Derby from start to finish.
It was the second time Frank Lampard and Mikel Arteta had faced each other in the last month, and this Premier League showdown was the big match of the night. The Blues were hoping to cement a top-four place, and Arsenal were trying to get the second half of their season started.
And the game didn’t disappoint. The pre-match Premier League 2020 for this match had the hosts as clear favourites, and the draw, at 3.50, seemed highly unlikely after David Luiz was sent off midway through the first half.
But the Gunners somehow stayed in the game to take an unexpected point as returning skipper Hector Bellerin scored a late equaliser to send their travelling fans home in ecstasy.
Highlights of the game
Chelsea started the match all guns blazing, and Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi put in a last-ditch block to stop a shot from Mateo Kovacic. Then, Antonio Rudiger came close to getting on the end of a dangerous cross from Emerson.
Tammy Abraham had a great chance to open the scoring when Rudiger headed back a Callum Hudson-Odoi cross, but the Blues’ top scorer headed tamely into Bernd Leno’s arms.
The Blues also came agonizingly close on 17 minutes, when a speculative effort from Hudson-Odoi beat Leno but bounced off the bar to safety.
Then came the first big moment of the game. Mustafi hit a shocking back pass to Leno which Abraham intercepted, and as he rounded the keeper Luiz had little option but to pull the striker back and the referee pointed to the spot. Double jeopardy didn’t help the former Blues favourite and he was red-carded.
Jorginho is a master of the spot-kick and he despatched the penalty with ease to double Arsenal’s pain.
The big pre-match Premier League 2020 news was the return of Hector Bellerin to the line-up and he was given the captain’s armband. He had a monumental job on to pull his team back into the game, but they did have a chance before the break.
Bukayo Saka crossed and when the ball dropped to Nicolas Pepe, Emerson got his foot to the ball to clear.
The Blues had Arsenal on the ropes again at the start of the second period, but football’s a funny old game. So when N’Golo Kante slipped, Arsenal’s 18-year-old Brazilian starlet Gabriel Martinelli picked up the ball and drove towards the Chelsea penalty area before sliding the ball calmly past Kepa.
It looked like the Gunners were set to protect their point under serious pressure until Blues skipper Cesar Azpilicueta slid home a cross from Hudson-Odoi to send the home fans wild.
But the unexpected happened yet again, on 87 minutes, and it was the returning Bellerin who grabbed an unexpected point for the Gunners. There didn’t seem to be a shot on when the captain collected the ball on the edge of the box, but he cut inside and curled home a beauty…if you’re an Arsenal fan that is!
The Blues switched off at the end of their recent match against Newcastle United and came away from a game they should have won with nothing to show for it. This time, after dominating from start to finish, they had to settle for a point.
The Gunners only had two shots all game, but they were both on target and they both beat Kepa. Chelsea had 19 shots, eight on target and the same result!
Arsenal are unbeaten in six away games, though they are winless in their last eight games away to Chelsea.
David Luiz is the first former Chelsea player to be sent off against the Blues since Vinnie Jones in 1995.
Chelsea are away to Hull City in the FA Cup next, and then have a huge Premier League clash with third-placed Leicester City. The Foxes have lost the last two but remain five points ahead of the Blues.
That’s a game we’ll be watching very closely at SBOTOP, so keep it here for all the updates and highlights.
The Gunners are away to Bournemouth in the FA Cup and then take a trip to Turf Moor to face Burnley. The Cherries have just ended a horrendous run of results with a home win against Brighton, while Burnley too have gone back to winning ways, beating Leicester at the weekend.
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