In the last 14 games against Arsenal in the Premier League, Chelsea had lost only once. On Saturday evening, the Blues succumbed to a second loss in 15 matches against the Gunners as they lost 0-2. Goals from the French pair of Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny helped the hosts in downing the Blues. The win also meant that fifth-placed Arsenal are only three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Despite being favored to win this game, Chelsea looked poor from the get go. They lacked imagination going up front and were undone by an energetic Arsenal side that pressed up high in the first half. Chelsea’s lack of desire and motivation was even aggressively pointed out by their manager, Maurizio Sarri, in an explosive post-match interview.
Arsenal were in fifth gear right from kick-off. The Gunners created a noteworthy chance in the fourth minute. Alexandre Lacazette moved with the ball on the right wing and sent in a low ball for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the box. The Gabonese’s positioning was not up to scratch and his fluffed shot went out for a goal-kick.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was called into action in the 12th minute. Lucas Torreira delivered the ball into the box from a free-kick which was met by Koscielny’s head. The Arsenal captain’s header was directed right onto a rushing Arrizabalaga who turned it away.
Chelsea’s luck with preventing the hosts from scoring turned four minutes later through a piece of magic from Lacazette. Hector Bellerin provided a fast-paced low cross from a short corner that was expertly controlled by the French striker. He then took some deft touches to create space on the right and released a powerful shot that beat Arrizabalaga in the top-right corner. It was truly a sensational finish from the Frenchman.
Aubameyang came close later again but his acrobatic effort just missed the goal. The Gunners, however, got their goal in the 39th minute via a lucky strike from Koscielny. The French defender got on to the end a hoofed-up ball from Sokratis Papastathapoplous and found the net through a deflection from his shoulder.
It was clearly a lucky goal but no Arsenal fan would complain about it, considering the magnitude of the London derby.
At half-time, Chelsea astonishingly had no shots on target. The closest they came to scoring was through Marcos Alonso whose header hit the post in the first-half.
That chance would remain as the best Chelsea would have throughout the game. Despite dominating possession in the second-half, the visitors were unable to overcome Arsenal’s suffocating defense.
Even Olivier Giroud’s introduction did not spark a resurgence from Chelsea who looked fatigued. The hosts clearly deserved the win as they took their chances and showed more desire in the 90 minutes.