Chelsea 0-1 Arsenal: Arsenal's "Haram Football" upsets Chelsea at the Bridge
|Pierre Emerick Aubameyang celebrates with Emile Smith Rowe after the two combined to down Chelsea at the Bridge. (Photo credit: ESPN)
“Statistics is like miniskirts, it gives you an idea but it leaves out the main detail” – Arsene Wenger (2004)
When bookmakers released the odds for the fixture between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, not a single one gave Arsenal a chance, not a single pundit thought an upset was possible, you can’t blame them, they trusted statistics.
There are certain fixtures you have to look beyond data, you have to look beyond form and league table, London Derby is one of them.
With Arsenal languishing in midtable, crashed out of Europe and primed to miss out completely in the coming season.
With the FA Cup final coming in the weekend for Chelsea against Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester, rotation was important for Chelsea.
So Antonio Rudiger, Timo Werner and Andreas Christensen all sat this one out, Arsenal benched Pepe and Elneny returned in midfield in the absence of Granit Xhaka.
The last time Arsenal beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was in 2011 under Andre Villas-Boas, Robin Van Persie hat-trick downed the Blues on the day but not once since then did Arsenal pick maximum points away at Chelsea.
Right from kickoff, Chelsea had Arsenal by their lean necks, bombarding Bernd Leno’s 18-yard box with chances after chances and Kai Havertz would wonder how he blazed over when Pablo Mari played him in with only Leno to beat.
Chelsea would soon pay for the big miss, Jorginho’s heavy back pass to stand-in goalkeeper Kepa Arizabalaga headed home although the Spaniard laboured hard to keep the effort out but only as far as Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s feet, the Arsenal skipper squared to Emile Smith Rowe and the rest is history.
Chelsea conceded only for the second game at home since Tuchel took over and it seemed to anger them to act as they laid siege on the Arsenal goal.
Wave and waves of attack followed against Arsenal but the trio of Gabriel, Mari and Rob Holding stood firm, defending resolutely and repelling everything Chelsea threw at them; each time they got past the defence, Leno was there to stop them.
Christian Pulisic had a fine chance late in the half but blazed over before Kai Havertz saw his effort blocked and over for another corner by Mari.
Chelsea sent on Callum Hudson Odoi in place of the struggling Billy Gilmour and together with Reece James on the right troubled Arsenal a lot in the second half but not a single shot on target until late on in the game.
Mikel Arteta blinked and replaced Bukayo Saka with Hector Bellerin, the Spaniard was probably playing his last game for Arsenal as he limped off later with a knee problem which he incurred while clawing off a chance that was destined to land at the feet of Hudson Odoi.
Callum Chamber replaced Bellerin later but that was after Tuchel had brought on Olivier Giroud who scored 105 times for Arsenal and Hakim Ziyech in place of Kai Havertz and Ceaser Azpilicueta respectively.
Arsenal held on for a famous win despite Chelsea’s late onslaught which included two back to back efforts against the woodwork and some sensational defending from the entire Arsenal back five.
The result meant Arsenal kept a very faint hope of making the Europa League, they sit one point behind Spurs who are currently 7th but with a game in hand.
Liverpool would feel they have a chance now for the
champions league places but it is still very much in Chelsea’s hands.