Arsenal earned an essential win in a pulsating London derby against Chelsea to maintain themselves within the race for the Premier League prime 4.
The victory strikes the Gunners to inside three factors of fourth-placed Chelsea and again above Manchester United, who had gone fifth by beating Brighton.
Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal forward within the 14th minute when he made essentially the most of a poor Hector Bellerin cross with a tremendous first contact before turning and beating Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga at his close to submit with a fierce strike.
Arsenal’s intense urgent hampered Chelsea’s means to play the ball from the again, notably within the first half, and the Gunners deservedly added a second via captain Laurent Koscielny within the 39th minute.
Chelsea failed to mark nicely sufficient at one other set-piece and Koscielny missed a free header however the ball fortuitously looped in off his shoulder.
Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea struggled to create within the first half however did hit the submit on the stroke of half-time via Marcos Alonso’s header at a nook.
They posed larger menace within the second half however failed to have a shot on target till the 82nd minute as Arsenal’s defence, led by the superb Koscielny, held agency.
Arsenal present there’s life in Emery’s debut season
Arsenal and Chelsea each appointed new managers in the summertime and each got here into the game on the Emirates with questions marks over their progress after troublesome current results.
Arsenal had lost 4 of their final eight games, having been unbeaten of their earlier 22, whereas Chelsea had solely gained 4 of their final seven games.
Defeat to the Blues would have seen a seven-point hole open between the Gunners and the highest 4 however their depth and work-rate within the early phases put their opponents on the again foot from the outset.
Arsenal appeared to have been arrange with a transparent plan by supervisor Unai Emery to press excessive up the pitch to prevent Chelsea taking part in from the again.
Their depth was made clear on two events within the first half when striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang twice ran again into his personal half to make challenges.
Arsenal ought to have scored as early because the fourth minute when Bellerin performed in Lacazette who then crossed for Aubameyang, however the Gabon worldwide failed to make contact along with his end from inside the realm.
Both of Arsenal’s goals got here from set-pieces, one other space that regarded to have been labored on pre-match, and Koscielny could have scored sooner than he did however put a free header straight at Arrizabalaga at one other.
Aaron Ramsey is about to go away Arsenal on a free switch in the summertime however began as essentially the most attacking player in Arsenal’s midfield and he performed a key function each going ahead and main the north Londoners’ press.
He always hassled Chelsea’s Jorginho – a key player within the Blues’ creativity – and no player had coated extra floor than the Welshman when he was substituted within the 67th minute.
The solely down facet to Arsenal’s evening was what appeared to be a severe harm to right-back Hector Bellerin who went down clutching his knee regardless of there being no contact within the problem.
Chelsea’s want for a central striker laid naked
For Chelsea the issues are acquainted ones which have been obvious within the Blues’ matches in current weeks.
Sarri’s facet scored 27 instances of their opening 11 league matches this season however have netted just 13 instances of their subsequent 13 outings.
Eden Hazard was again performed in a false 9 function however dropped deeper and deeper searching for the ball before finally Olivier Giroud was launched as a central striker within the 68th minute and the Belgian was capable of play from a wider place.
Chelsea had 64% possession however failed to create any clear alternatives from open play with their passing and build-up too sluggish. Their one shot on target got here from Alonso from a decent angle on the left-side of the field and was simply parried away from Bernd Leno.
The Blues typically labored the ball into vast areas 30 yards from goal however that they had too few players within the field and had been crowded out by Arsenal’s spectacular defence.
Koscielny repeatedly reduce out crosses and each he and fellow centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who had one in all his finest games since becoming a member of Arsenal final summer season, headed away any excessive balls.
Chelsea have been closely linked with a transfer for Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, presently on mortgage at Juventus, who Sarri labored with at his former membership Napoli and on this proof some elevated attacking efficiency is clearly wanted.
Man of the match – Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)
‘We might be optimistic’ – supervisor response
Arsenal supervisor Unai Emery: “I’m very happy with this victory and these three factors. After our defeat at West Ham we would have liked to point out our supporters a robust second.
“I believe we will enhance. We might be optimistic sooner or later however we have to discover a good stability between once we’re taking part in away and once we’re taking part in at home. We might be optimistic as a result of we’re nearer to numerous groups like Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.
“I’m very proud of the final 20 minutes and the way we defended against them. The first half made the distinction with the outcome, however within the second half we confirmed how we will defend collectively.”
Chelsea supervisor Maurizio Sarri: “I’m disenchanted and I’m indignant. I used to be disenchanted with our psychological method greater than anything.
“From a psychological perspective we suffered an identical form of method against Tottenham Hotspur. I believed that we might overcome that, however it might now seem that there is nonetheless an excessive amount of work to do to have the ability to get these players really motivated and up for enjoying these games.
“I believe notably within the first half our urgent wasn’t ok. We did not press far sufficient up the pitch and I believe there was a particular lack of willpower, notably in our personal penalty space. The first goal was a fairly large instance of how we lacked willpower.”
Opposing derby fortunes – the most effective stats
- Arsenal have gained consecutive home games against Chelsea in all competitions for the first time since February 2004.
- Chelsea have solely gained one in all their final seven away London derbies within the Premier League (D2 L4), profitable 1-Zero at Crystal Palace in December.
- Arsenal are unbeaten in 13 Premier League London derby matches at home (W10 D3), profitable the final six in a row.
- Arsenal have gained extra factors in seven games against ‘large six’ sides this season (8) than they did in the entire of the 2017-18 campaign (6).
- Chelsea’s first shot on target did not come till the 82nd minute, from Marcos Alonso.
- 63% of Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette’s Premier League goals this season have are available in London derbies (5/8).
- Only Arsenal team-mate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (6) has scored extra Premier League London derby goals this season than Lacazette.
- Laurent Koscielny turned the first Arsenal defender to attain 20 Premier League goals. The Frenchman has scored in every of his 9 campaigns within the competitors – solely Dennis Bergkamp (11), Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott (10 every) have scored in additional for the Gunners.
Arsenal’s subsequent fixture is within the FA Cup fourth round against Manchester United at home on 25 January (19:55 GMT) stay on BBC One. The Gunners’ subsequent league game is on the Emirates against Cardiff on Tuesday, 29 January (19:45 GMT).
Chelsea have their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham on Tuesday (19:45 GMT) as they appear to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit. They then play Sheffield Wednesday within the FA Cup on 27 January before returning to league action on 30 January with a visit to Bournemouth.