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Laca, Xhaka and Saka thump Chelsea

Arsenal’s youngsters provided the much needed resurgence for Mikel Arteta as the Gunners steamrolled Chelsea 3-1 to register their first league win since November 1. The Blues put in their worst performance of the season against an energetic Arsenal side and missed the opportunity to move up to second in the table.

Arteta was enforced to field youngsters after Gabriel had to self-isolate due to Covid-19 close contact, and David Luiz and Willian were unwell. The early proceedings were split equally between both sides as they tried to attack with their full-backs. There were chances at both ends as Mount’s free-kick scraped the outside of right post, and Smith-Rowe was inches away from poking Bellerin’s cut-back.

Arsenal took the lead in 34th minute through a penalty after Reece James was adjudged to have fouled Tierney, who caused a lot of problems for the Chelsea right-back throughout the game. With Aubameyang on the bench, Lacazette stepped up to score the penalty and give Arsenal the lead.

The Gunners looked dangerous with their fast and energetic youngsters and Chelsea were finding it difficult to string passes together. Arsenal doubled their lead in the 44th minute through Granit Xhaka, who curled his free-kick beyond a diving Mendy after Kante fouled Saka.

Chelsea started the second half with a bit more pace and purpose in search of a goal and replaced the ineffective Werner and Kovacic with Jorginho and Callum Hudson-Odoi. But it was the Gunners who struck again through an unmarked Saka, whose cross-shot looped over Mendy into the far left corner. Arsenal could have had their fourth a few minutes later, but Mendy saved well from Martinelli’s shot after it took a deflection off Zouma.

Mendy was lucky not to concede Chelsea’s fourth after gifting the ball to Lacazette, but the Arsenal forward couldn’t curl his effort past the goalkeeper and drew a diving save from the Chelsea number 1. Arsenal went close yet again from the resulting corner as Elneny thumped his shot against the crossbar and Chelsea managed to clear the follow up from Rob Holding.

Chelsea managed to get a goal back in the 85th minute through Tammy Abraham, who chested Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross into Arsenal’s net. The Gunners were given a real scare of a potential comeback after Chelsea were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute for a foul on Mount. However, Jorginho’s penalty was saved by Leno, and handed Frank Lamaprd’s Chelsea their third consecutive away defeat of the season.

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