Arsenal scored twice in the last 13 minutes to come away with a point from a thrilling 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea took a 2-0 lead and seemed headed for a third straight league win, but individual errors cost them two points.
The home side’s gameplan was clear from the start – sitting in a mid-block, and not allowing any space to Jorginho, Oleksander Zinchenko and Jorginho in the Arsenal central midfield. The full-backs Malo Gusto and Marc Cucurella were also staying touch-tight on Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, The Gunners’ two most potent attacking threats.
Mikel Arteta’s men found it difficult to build out from the back, and were also looking vulnerable on the counter-attack.
Chelsea’s breakthrough came with 15 minutes gone, when a cross from the right by Raheem Sterling was headed goalwards by Mykhaylo Mudryk. The Ukrainian’s effort hit William Saliba on his outstretched arm, and the referee awarded a penalty following a VAR review. Cole Palmer, who scored from the spot against Burnley in Chelsea’s last league game, stepped up again and sent David Raya the wrong way.
Declan Rice had a decent opening almost immediately at the other end, but his cross-shot drifted harmlessly wide.
For the rest of the first half, it was a case of Arsenal having the possession, but Chelsea creating the more dangerous chances. Both Enzo Fernandez and Gusto had efforts over the bar from the edge of the box, while Palmer narrowly missed with an opportunity to complete his brace.
Three minutes into the second period, the hosts doubled their lead. With Ben White well advanced in attacked, Mudryk picked up the ball in space on the edge of the penalty area on the left flank. His attempt at a cross to the back post looped over Raya and into the corner. There was a huge element of luck involved, but Mudryk wasn’t complaining as he celebrated his first goal at Stamford Bridge.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men had chances to make it 3-0, first when Raya’s horribly misplaced pass was intercepted by Palmer. The Englishman struggled to keep his balance however, and his ultimate effort was saved by the Arsenal goalkeeper. Later, substitute Nicholas Jackson was played through by Sterling, but the striker took too long and lost the ball in his effort to round Raya.
Arsenal were failing to create anything of note, and it seemed like they would need either a moment of luck or individual quality to turn things around. In the end, it was a combination of both. Robert Sanchez lost the ball while trying to play out from the back, and Rice pounced from 30 yards out to place his finish into an empty net.
The momentum shifted, and seven minutes later, it was 2-2. Saka was finally able to influence the game, as his pin-point cross to the back post was expertly finished by substitute Leandro Trossard. Gusto will look back on this goal with regret as he completely lost his man, but Trossard still had a lot to do.
In the end, neither team was able to fashion a dramatic winner. Pochettino will take away several positives from this game, but will certainly be disappointed by the result. For Arteta, his team stay unbeaten in the league this season, but he will view this as two points dropped in the title race.
Robert Sanchez – 5
Malo Gusto – 6
Thiago Silva – 7
Levi Colwill – 7
Marc Cucurella – 8
Moises Caicedo – 7
Enzo Fernandez – 7
Conor Gallagher – 8
Mykhaylo Mudryk – 7
Cole Palmer – 8
Raheem Sterling – 7
Nicholas Jackson – 6
David Raya – 6
Ben White – 7
William Saliba – 7
Gabriel – 7
Oleksander Zinchenko – 6
Martin Odegaard – 7
Jorginho – 6
Declan Rice – 8
Bukayo Saka – 7
Gabriel Jesus – 6
Gabriel Martinelli – 6
Takehiro Tomiyasu – 7
Emile Smith-Rowe – 6
Eddie Nketiah – 6
Leandro Trossard – 7
Kai Havertz – 5
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