Arsenal Efeela Chelsea Aju Dika ha kuru Chelsea Ihe Tinka N’aku Pan

Written by on November 7, 2022

Gabriel winner sends Arsenal to the top of the Premier League

For Arsenal’s travelling supporters, it could not have played out any better. As they celebrated what proved to be the winning goal from defender Gabriel Magalhaes, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was hooked by Chelsea head coach Graham Potter.

It was a cause for double celebration in the away end at Stamford Bridge and Arsenal left with a fully deserved three points that took Mikel Arteta’s team back to the top of the Premier League table.

This was Arsenal’s third successive victory at Chelsea, which is their best run since 1974, but in neither of the two previous wins had the Gunners controlled the match so convincingly.

Arsenal’s players could be heard partying in the away dressing-room after the final whistle and this was a statement of intent from Arteta’s side, who had been put under pressure by Manchester City’s narrow victory over Fulham the previous day.

Thomas Partey was exceptional in the centre of Arsenal’s midfield and Gabriel Jesus, who has not scored since October 1, gave his Brazilian team-mate Thiago Silva a torrid afternoon.

Silva and Jorginho, who was overpowered by Partey, looked like two players who are now playing past their peak while Arsenal’s youthful team have a highly effective balance of flair and fight.

It was Jesus who bullied Silva into the mistake that led to the corner from which Arsenal scored their winning goal just after the hour mark. The striker’s shot from a tight angle was saved by Edouard Mendy, but Chelsea did not defend the set piece properly. Bukayo Saka’s delivery was missed by a number of players at the front post and Gabriel poked the ball over the line from close range.

That was the cue for Potter to replace Aubameyang with Armando Broja. The striker’s biggest contribution in his first meeting against the club he captained was to earn a yellow card for a late challenge on Ben White in the first half.

When he went off, Aubameyang had touched the ball eight times in his 64 minutes on the pitch, four in the first period and four in the second. The 33-year-old would have backed himself to score had he stayed on and it must be said that Broja offered no additional threat for a team that managed only one shot on target across the entire 90 minutes.

William Saliba once again gave notice of his talent, dominating Chelsea’s forwards; the Frenchman and Gabriel are a commanding pair. Raheem Sterling got little change out of them, while Kai Havertz wasted two good crossing situations and did little else to worry Arsenal.

Arteta’s only complaint, other than his over the top touchline appeals, would have been that Arsenal did not win by a bigger advantage or get more than two of their 14 attempts on target.

Jesus should have put Arsenal ahead in the first half, heading Gabriel Martinelli’s inswinging cross wastefully wide, but the most entertaining action before the break was on the touchline.

Arteta, not for the first time in the match, wanted Marc Cucurella booked for a supposed push on Saka that was not given as a free-kick. Saka responded by fouling the Chelsea left-back and being shown a yellow card.

As Arteta ranted and raved on the touchline, Potter signalled that he believed Saka had dived and also appeared to shout something, not altogether complimentary, in the direction of the Spaniard. Both coaches, it should be said, were conciliatory after the game.

Saka’s yellow card was not the most intelligent and yet it showed that Arsenal are no longer a team who are prepared to be shoved around by their rivals. Granit Xhaka held his ground against Trevoh Chalobah and Cesar Azpilicueta in time added on for stoppages.

Shortly after Gabriel had given Arsenal the lead, Martin Odegaard should have doubled the visitors’ advantage. Jesus skipped his way around Silva and set up the midfielder, who chipped his shot over the crossbar.

Jesus had seen a goalbound shot blocked by Silva in the 20th minute, and, although he has now gone nine games without scoring, the former City star has proved to be a transformative influence on Arsenal’s attack which now looks so fluid with the lightning quick duo of Saka and Martinelli either side of him.

The defeat was Chelsea’s second under Potter and their second in succession in the Premier League. With Arsenal dreaming of a title challenge, the seventh-placed Blues must already be concerned about the battle they face to finish in the top four.

The boos from Chelsea fans at the final whistle were understandable, but it should be taken into account that Potter was without goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana and N’Golo Kante.

A succession of Chelsea managers have failed to find any sort of consistency without Kante in their side and Potter is facing the same challenge.

Arsenal travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers for their final game before the League season breaks for the World Cup and not even the most optimistic of fans could have predicted they would have the chance to end the first half of this two-part campaign in top spot. On this evidence, Arteta’s team will not make it easy for City.


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