Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Rampant Gunners Ease to Comfortable Win

Arsenal put in an outstanding display as they ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners made a quick start to the game and went in front just after the ten minute mark. Hector Bellerin put a powerful cross into the box which Alexandre Lacazette controlled brilliantly, before he then shot on the turn and beat Kepa Arrizabalaga at his near post to send the Emirates into a frenzy.

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?Chelsea began to see more of the ball after falling behind but were left frustrated by a stern ?Arsenal defence who weren’t letting anything get past them. Then on the stroke of half time, the home side doubled their lead.

A free kick was whipped deep into the box with the ball falling to Sokratis on the edge of the area, who then put the ball back into the area with the outside of his foot and found his centre back partner Laurent Koscienly. The Frenchman tried to direct a header on goal, but instead the ball came off his shoulder and looped into the back of the Chelsea goal to make it 2-0.

Laurent Koscielny

The home side looked to be cruising into half time with a comfortable lead but were given something to think about as Marcos Alonso’s header from a corner struck the post on the verge of the break.

The second half followed a similar pattern to that of the first, with Chelsea enjoying possession but creating very little. Arsenal did enough to secure an important win and gave the fans a lot to cheer about. 

Check out our breakdown of Saturday night’s events below.


ARSENAL

Key Talking Point

Arsenal fans would’ve been looking for a response from their team after the disappointing defeat to West Ham in their last game, and boy did they get one. 

They came out firing in the first half and after getting their noses in front kept the pressure high on Chelsea, with the visitors having no answer to Arsenal’s attacking threat.

Aaron Ramsey,Alexandre Lacazette,Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang,Hector Bellerin,Laurent Koscielny

Their high pressure style of play continued from the first whistle right until the last and had the fans on their feet for the majority of the game, seemingly giving the players a second wind of energy when they needed it the most.

It was an important win which closed the gap between the two sides to just three points, leaving the Gunners just one place below the ?Premier League’s top four.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Leno (7); Bellerin (7), Sokratis (7), Koscielny (8), Kolasinac (8); Torreira (7), Xhaka (7), Guendouzi (7); Ramsey (8), Lacazette (9), Aubameyang (7). 

Substitutes: Maitland-Niles (6), Iwobi (6), Elneny (6). 


STAR MAN – It was a much-needed win for Arsenal, and ?Lacazette stole the show on the night. He gave his side an early lead thanks to a very well worked individual goal, and continued to pester the Chelsea back line.

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Not only was he effective going forward, he tracked back and put in a number of very well-timed tackles to win the ball back for his team when they really needed it. He got a standing ovation when he was subbed off and rightfully so after what was a fine performance from the Frenchman.

WORST PLAYER – He didn’t have a bad game at all, but on a night where there were a number of star performers, Lucas Torreira had a relatively quiet game. He did what he had to do in the middle of the park and kept things tidy but didn’t make an outstanding contribution to the game.

Lucas Torreira,Eden Hazard

It was more the case of his teammates simply outshining him, although Torreira won’t be too disappointed with his showing on the night.


CHELSEA

Key Talking Point

Right from the first whistle, Chelsea just never looked at the races on the night. They were overwhelmed by an Arsenal attack who looked possessed at times, and they had no answer to the onslaught.

Maurizio Sarri

They fell behind early on and, despite having a lot of the ball, never really created any chances of note as they struggled to break down a stern Arsenal backline. Their lack of a presence up front was very evident and is an issue which will likely be addressed in the coming days.

It was a night to forget for the fans who would’ve left the ground with very few positives to take from the game.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Kepa (5); Azpilicueta (5), Rudiger (6), Luiz (6), Alonso (7); Kante (6), Jorginho (6), Kovacic (6); Pedro (6), Hazard (6), Willian (6).

Substitutes: Barkley (6), Giroud (6), Hudson-Odoi (6).


STAR MAN – On a night where there were very few good performances, Alonso proved to be Chelsea’s biggest threat at both ends of the pitch. 

He went closest to scoring for Chelsea when he saw his header come off the outside of the post on the stroke of half time, and proved to be a threat down the left hand side.

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Even in defence, he made a number of well-timed challenges and had it not been for him, the score line could’ve been a lot worst for the Blues. It wasn’t Alonso’s finest performance in a Chelsea shirt at all, but he can at least hold his head up high on what was a disappointing night for the club.

WORST PLAYER – He’s usually known as Mr Reliable for Chelsea, but Cesar Azpilicueta struggled to hold down the right hand side for his team. Going up against both Sead Kolasinac and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Spaniard had no answer to Arsenal’s attacking threat and suffered the consequences as a result.

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It wasn’t just his defensive performance which was poor. He made a number of silly mistakes whilst in possession and never proved to be a threat going forward on what proved a night to forget.


Looking Ahead

The win was exactly what Arsenal needed going into their FA Cup clash with Manchester United on Friday night, whilst it wasn’t ideal preparation for Chelsea who will look for a much improved performance when they host Tottenham in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi final on Thursday. ?

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Ashley Cole Close to Joining Frank Lampard’s Derby County on 6-Month Deal

?Out-of-contract defender Ashley Cole is close to agreeing a six-month deal with Derby County in move that would see the full-back reunited with Frank Lampard. 

Cole, 38, is currently a free agent after leaving MLS side LA Galaxy in November, although is now expected to return to England after over four years away and sign a short-term deal with the Rams.

Cristian Roldan,Ashley Cole

As reported by ?The Telegraph, the former England international, who has 107 caps for his country, will complete a medical for the move over the next 48 hours, with the experienced defender set to earn £15,000-a-week during his six month stint at Pride Park.

?Derby manager Frank Lampard, who was a teammate of Cole at Stamford Bridge for eight years between 2006-2014, has already talked about the proposed move, believing he can add ‘quality and experience’ to his his young side as they push to finish in the ?Championship’s top six. 

Lampard said: “He would bring quality and experience. I speak to Ash all the time. He’s a great lad and I know he’s fit, fresh and wanting to continue to play.

“I know the influence he would have but it has to be right for all parties. In my opinion, he’s the greatest left-back of a generation.

“Of course, his age is an obvious thing but it’s not a problem for me. I think it’s pretty clear that we’re interested in Ashley – but nothing is done yet.”

The pair were key to the success ?Chelsea enjoyed over the course of their eight seasons together, winning the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, League Cup and four FA Cups during their time together in west London when they were both players. 

Ashley Cole,Frank Lampard

Derby are currently sixth in the Championship ahead of their game against Reading, as they look to keep in touch with the sides at the top of the table. 

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Paul Merson Tips Chelsea to Beat Arsenal Ahead of Emirates Clash on Saturday

?Ex-Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has tipped his former club to lose to Chelsea when they meet on Saturday and end any faint hopes they had of finishing in the top four. 

The Gunners, who are currently fifth in the Premier League, are six points behind the Blues in fourth ahead of the game at the Emirates as Unai Emery’s side look to close the gap to those sides currently occupying Champions League qualification spots for next season. 

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?While the Arsenal boss has already admitted ?it would be difficult to finish in the top four should they lose to Chelsea, Merson has predicted that Maurizio Sarri’s side will take the three points back to west London. 

Speaking to ?Sky Sports ahead of ?the game, Merson said: “Arsenal have to win this game otherwise it’s all in for the Europa League, which may actually help as they can then concentrate on that competition as they’ll be out of the top four race.

“There’s no way they can balance both – the squad isn’t strong or big enough. I fancy an away win.”


Should ?Arsenal lose to Chelsea, then there best way of securing Champions League football for next season perhaps lies in the Europa League.

The Gunners reached the semi finals in the competition last season before losing to eventual winners Atletico Madrid, and will be considered one of the favourites to win it this campaign, especially with a favourable last 32 tie against BATE Borisov.


Ahead of the game against Chelsea, ?Emery has hinted that Mesut Ozil could make a return to the squad having been omitted altogether for their recent defeat to West Ham, as speculation surrounding his immediate future, with ?Milan the latest club linked with the German

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Picking the Best Potential Chelsea Lineup to Face Arsenal on Saturday

Chelsea will look to strengthen their position in the top four Saturday’s late kick off away to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. 

Maurizio Sarri will take his side across London knowing that a win will open up a nine-point gap between themselves and their opponents, but will be fully aware of a resurgent Manchester United maintaining a top four challenge under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

Chelsea will want to improve on an unconvincing 2-1 win over Newcastle and with the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday, two wins from their next two games could make this a season-defining week for Sarri.

1. Goalkeeper and Defenders

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang,David Luiz

Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – The 24-year-old is quietly continuing to impress in his debut season for the Blues. Kepa may not grab the headlines like David de Gea or Alisson Becker, but those who watch him know that Chelsea’s keeper is proving his worth.

Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – The ever-reliable Azpilicueta is yet to miss a minute of Premier League action this season. He has been on captain duty all season and once Gary Cahill departs, he is sure to take the armband permanently. 

Antonio Rudiger (CB) – One of Chelsea’s standout performers this season. He will be forced to use his impressive speed against Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

David Luiz (CB) – A leader on the pitch, Luiz is one of the few players in the team who can unlock defences. Assisting N’Golo Kante and Pedro Rodriguez with beautiful balls over the top in recent weeks, his passing could be key if Jorginho is nullified.

Marcos Alonso (LB) – The 28-year-old has a great record against Arsenal, scoring in three of the last four league meetings. But by all accounts, Alonso has been poor this season and hasn’t scored since August (against Arsenal).

2. Midfielders

N'Golo Kante

Jorginho (DM) – The focal point of Sarri’s system, another who has underperformed recently as teams work out how to neutralise his passing. He found himself in trouble against Newcastle and will need to improve quickly. 

N’Golo Kante (CM) – Chelsea’s most consistent performer and he is only getting better. Now adding goals to his game, his runs between the full-back and centre-back are becoming an effective weapon going forward.

Mateo Kovacic (CM) – A confusing player who seems to be preferred to Ross Barkley for the big games. Neat and tidy in possession, but Kovacic must start contributing to goals. 

3. Forwards

Eden Hazard,Christian Atsu

Pedro (RW) – A goalscorer last weekend, Pedro’s movement will cause Arsenal problems and he continues to be one of the deadliest finishers in Europe. The Spaniard has missed zero ‘big chances’ this season. 

Willian (LW) – Amid interest from Barcelona, his wonderful finish against Newcastle will most likely keep him in the side this weekend ahead of Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Eden Hazard (ST) – Chelsea will be hoping to finalise a deal for Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain  before the weekend, but Hazard is still expected to lead the line in the false nine role. His assist last weekend moved him into double figures for both goals and assists this season.

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Transfer Rumours: McKennie to Liverpool, Trincao to Arsenal, Eriksen to Everyone and More

Transfer rumours can be fun, but they can also be about as boring as paint drying on a Monday afternoon. Fortunately, today, it’s the former. 

We’ve got Liverpool looking at yet another central midfielder, Southampton chasing Ralph Hassenhuttl’s first signing, and Davide Zappacosta telling his dad on Chelsea…and more. 

1. Christian Eriksen Linked With Half of Europe

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Real Madrid’s interest in Christian Eriksen is hardly a new phenomenon, but AS have come out this week with a nice fresh spin on the story, linking the player to, basically, everyone else. 

They say that it’s hard to name all the clubs who are interested in the Dane, but that Barcelona and Chelsea are both big admirers, while AC Milan, Manchester City and PSG may revive the interest they held in him prior to his initial move to Spurs back in 2013. 

It’s also reported that Jose Mourinho wanted him when he was at Manchester United, so they’ve been thrown into the picture as well. 

It seems as if Real have some competition. 

2. Tyrone Mings Could Be Heading to West Brom on Loan

Tyrone Mings

It seems as if Bournemouth are likely to let Tyrone Mings go out on loan to West Brom until the end of the season this month, as the defender has made just four starts in all competitions so far, with two of them coming in the Carabao Cup.

The Cherries were keeping him around as cover at centre-back, but they are prepared to sanction the move if and when they are able to complete the deal for Brentford defender Chris Mepham, according to The Sun.

It’s thought that the game time in a competitive environment will benefit the 25-year-old as he hopes to nail down a first team place in future.

3. Arsenal Set Their Sights on Portuguese Starlet as Juventus Consider Bid

Francisco Trincao

Arsenal are reported to have watched Braga teenager Francisco Trincao on several occasions in recent weeks, and might soon move for the 19-year-old.

This one comes from Tutto Mercato Web, who say the Gunners are keen on the forward, while Juventus are also considering a bid for a player who is yet to make a breakthrough into the Braga first team. 

He’s played mainly for his side’s reserves so far this season, with a couple of sub appearances to his name for the senior side, but 11 goals in 16 appearances for Portugal’s Under-19s suggests he has the potential for a mean goalscoring streak when he gets some first-team action.

4. Liverpool Contemplating £20m Move for USA International Weston McKennie

Weston McKennie

Liverpool are rumoured to be looking at versatile Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie, and are running the rule over a £20m move. 

The 20-year-old has been scouted by the Reds since his first-team breakthrough in 2017, and according to The Sun, they are close to pulling the trigger on a move for him, either this month or in the summer.

He’s played a lot of football for someone his age, with 45 senior appearances, and has played anywhere through the middle, from centre-back to up front. Given that Liverpool are getting players injured at a rate rivalling Chelsea’s managerial turnover at the moment, fast-tracking a move for the USA international perhaps wouldn’t be the worst bit of business.

5. Southampton in for Versatile Danish Right-Back

KRC Genk v Cercle Brugge KSV - Jupiler Pro League

Ralph Hassenhuttl is still waiting on his first signing as Southampton manager, and having already moved on Manolo Gabbiadini and Steven Davis, it might not be too long before we see the first player in the door for the Hassenhuttl revolution.

To that end, the honourable Daily Mail say that KRC Genk right-back Joakim Maehle could be brought in this month, freeing up Cedric Soares for a move elsewhere.

The 21-year-old is a Danish youth international, and can play in midfield if need be, so he could add some depth and versatility to a Southampton squad scrapping for their lives.

6. Claudio Ranieri Wants Fiorentina Star to Boost Fulham’s Midfield Options

Bryan Dabo

Claudio Ranieri is reportedly desperate to add a defensive midfielder to his Fulham squad this month, and sees Fiorentina’s out of favour Bryan Dabo as one potential solution. 

Callum Chambers has played in a holding midfield role in recent weeks, highlighting the lack of  depth the Cottagers have in the position, and 26-year-old Dabo would offer a more natural option.

Fiorentina are willing to listen to offers, according to The Sun, as he is yet to start this season, and while their preference is an outright sale, they are prepared to loan him out if need be.

7. Davide Zappacosta’s Dad Tells the Club He Wants to Leave

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Rumour has it that Chelsea are jeopardising Davide Zappacosta’s reported move to Lazio, and the 25-year-old has subsequently gone running to his dad. 

In one of the more questionable stories you’ll read today, Tuttosport say (via Sport Witness) that Chelsea are demanding €15m for his signature before sanctioning any move, and the player’s father less than pleased, telling the club in no uncertain terms that a return to Serie A is what’s best for him.

Zappacosta Jr. has managed just two Premier League appearances so far this season, finding himself firmly behind Cesar Azpilicueta in the pecking order after his €25m move from Torino 18 months ago, so an exit looks likely sooner rather than later. 

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