Arsenal won a critical Premier League match against Chelsea on Monday night, beating the Blues 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium. Martin Odegaard proved to be the star of the show, scoring two goals in the first half, with Gabriel Jesus adding the third from close range. Noni Madueke’s goal midway through the second half provided a consolation for the 12th-placed visitors.
Arsenal is back in the lead
The win puts Arsenal two points ahead of Manchester City, despite the fact that the Gunners have played two more games, guaranteeing that the title battle stays alive despite the events at the Etihad Stadium last week. Mikel Arteta’s side was desperate to draw a line under the recent dip in form, pinning Chelsea back in their own half and piling on relentless pressure.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga heroically saved Granit Xhaka’s foot in the fifth minute following a bad backward header from right-back Cesar Azpilicueta, but his difficulties were only getting started. Arsenal quickly ran wild along the right flank, with Xhaka twice finding the unmarked Odegaard, who finished with aplomb on both occasions, his first-time efforts giving Kepa little chance.
Chelsea twice failed to clear their lines following Ben White’s right-wing cross, allowing Jesus to fire home his 10th Premier League goal of the season from close range for Arsenal’s third goal. Arsenal held on despite a late injury scare to centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes, collecting a much-needed victory and showing that, as their London rivals languish in 12th, they may yet fight Manchester City all the way to the end.
Very different performance for Arsenal
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta praised his team’s performance, saying he liked their energy, commitment, fluidity, movement, and purpose. He stated that the first 60 minutes of the game were vastly different from the performance against City, and that his team needed to improve in many areas. Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard lamented his team’s passive play in the first half, stating that they were “too nice to play against” and “not in that position” of being a top team.
After the game, Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard spoke to Sky Sports on his team’s performance. He felt the first half was fantastic and that they played with a different mentality than in the last game. Despite a sloppy second half, they needed this victory.
“Everyone was devastated after the City game, but we used that anger to bounce back. It’s possible to lose games, but we weren’t ourselves. I think we showed a different side today”, explained the Norwegian.
Arsenal’s emphatic win over Chelsea gave them a much-needed morale boost and kept their title aspirations alive. It remains to be seen whether they can maintain this form and push Manchester City all the way to the end. Chelsea, on the other hand, will be looking to bounce back from this defeat and improve their performance in future games.