From nowhere, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal is winning. After the victory against West Brom the other day, it was time for the Gunners to face the in-form Chelsea in their own backyard and there came one of those moments where Arsenal rode their luck. Any victories are morale-boosting, but Arsenal, still, need to improve.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) May 12, 2021
The concern should be about Chelsea of how they played at Stamford Bridge last night. Their approach lacked the spark that helped them to become one of the competitive sides in Europe this season. Clearly, the Chelsea of Thomas Tuchel could not match the fight of Arsenal.
Rob Holding produced a gigantic display at the back for the visitors and Mikel Arteta was delighted with the way his bruised side held on for a win that lifts them up to eighth, with European qualification still a slight possibility.
The schedule had its tool on the Blues who would feature in the finals of the FA Cup and Champions League and everyone knows how stressful the journey could be for reaching the finals.
The Arsenal ? pic.twitter.com/VQqw793nJR
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) May 12, 2021
The passing of the Blues lacked its usual zip and their lethargy during the early stages was typified by Kai Havertz, who produced far too casual a finish when Arsenal proved vulnerable at the back.
But Arsenal regrouped, pressed and the Blues melted.
Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard flickered behind Aubameyang and there was some resilient defending from Arsenal when Chelsea began to stir, with Mari particularly vocal at the back.
Jolted by the pressing, Chelsea were struggling to display their way out of a tight position when Jorginho made matters worse with a moment of high farce, almost scoring a truly magnificent own-goal with a stray back-pass.
Although Kepa Arrizabalaga scrambled to push the ball away from the goal, the Chelsea goalkeeper was powerless to prevent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from collecting possession and giving Smith Rowe an easy finish.
Great team effort, Let’s finish strong ?? pic.twitter.com/Aly3FnNXdw
— Emile Smith Rowe (@emilesmithrowe) May 12, 2021
Jorginho, who have been one of the vital cogs at the center of the park alongside N’Golo Kante this season and his composure helped Chelsea a lot, such a blunder from him was staggering.
Chelsea tried to shrug off the complacency – Mason Mount led the charge, only to see one goalbound shot saved by Leno and another blocked by Holding. Christian Pulisic also went close, nodding over from close range.
Arsenal restricted Chelsea to few clear openings and were rewarded for their spirit when VAR came to their aid after an hour, ruling Pulisic offside when the winger headed in a corner from close range.
“It has been 10 years since we won here so it’s a really important result for the club, for our fans and as well for our players,” Arteta said after the match.
“I think they showed how much they mean it, the spirit and the attitude they have among the group, and how much they care about it.”
“They don’t have to show anything to me because I see them every day, how they prepare, how much they care, how professional they are and how much they try. Probably for the outside it was a big message.”
Arteta’s side now sit eighth in the table with two games remaining. It is too little, too late perhaps, but Arsenal have at least started to lift some of the gloom that has descended over the cub in recent weeks.