|Bukayo Saka blitz past Cesar Azpilicueta in Arsenal's shock 4-2 success at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. (Photo credit: Premierleague.com)|
On a night of comical defending by both sides, Arsenal triumphed to heap pressure on Tottenham in the race for the top four with a 4-2 win over Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge Stadium on Wednesday night.
Arsenal went into the game on the back of three league defeats and wasn’t even tipped to earn a point against the reigning World European champions. Depleted by injuries to Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney and Alexander Lacazette, Arsenal had to trust Edward Nketiah upfront.
Chelsea rested Kai Havertz and handed the starting berth to Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner upfront and settled for a back three of Malang Sarr, Andreas Christensen and Reece James with Antonio Rudiger suffering from dead legs from the FA Cup semifinal win over Crystal Palace.
Arsenal scored the opener through Nketiah. The youngster latched on to a failed pass by Christensen and raced down to beat Eduard Mendy but the lead lasted less than five minutes. Nketiah’s misplaced pass found its way to Ruben Loftus Cheek, he fed Werner and his deflected effort beat Aaron Ramsdale in the Arsenal goal.
Emile Smith Rowe scored from a free-flowing Arsenal move before the half-hour mark but that lasted only five minutes too. Ben White’s ankle was snatched in the process but Cesar Azpilicueta’s goal stood as the frenetic first half ended 2-2.
Nketiah scored again just two before the hour mark and this time, Arsenal saw the game out with gritty defending and occasional forays upfront that Chelsea had no answer to. Chelsea brought on Havertz and Hakim Ziyech as they tried to claw back the game but to no avail.
Chelsea didn’t register a single shot on target in the second half and only scored from their only two shots on target in the entire game. The questions would now be directed at Lukaku as the summer window nears.
Bukayo Saka made sure of the points with a late penalty after Azpilicueta hauled him down in the Chelsea area. The England winger grabbed the ball and sent Mendy the wrong way for his tenth goal of the season.
It was the first time Chelsea would lose three games on the bounce at home since 1993 after home losses to Brentford, Real Madrid and now Arsenal.
Chelsea stays in third after the defeat with a five-point buffer on Spurs and Arsenal but both London clubs are only separated by goal difference and would both fancy their chances for a top-four finish.