Arsenal trounce hapless Chelsea to keep title hopes alive

Arsenal trounce hapless Chelsea to keep title hopes alive

Arsenal bounced back from their chastening 4-1 defeat against Manchester City with a morale-boosting victory over Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday. The Gunners blew their London rivals out of the water with a stunning first-half performance as a Martin Odegaard brace and a third from Gabriel Jesus put the hosts 3-0 up at the break. Noni Madueke found a consolation for Chelsea in the second half as Arsenal took their foot off the gas, but the Blues were powerless to prevent a fourth consecutive league defeat in North London.

Mikel Arteta’s relinquished their lead atop the Premier League table for the first time since February heading into this fixture, but Arsenal were back to their best against a Chelsea side lacking confidence. The Blues lost each of their first five games under caretaker Frank Lampard, and all the signs pointed towards a sixth defeat. Arsenal nearly carved Chelsea open inside five minutes, with Granit Xhaka almost converting from Cesar Azpilicueta’s poor header to open the scoring.

The visitors survived that early scare, but it took the Gunners just 18 minutes to find the opener. Martin Odegaard drifted unmarked into the Chelsea penalty area before meeting Granit Xhaka’s cross with enough force to beat Kepa Arrizabalaga and find the back of the net off the crossbar. 13 minutes later, Arsenal recreated a carbon copy move which resulted in their second. The Swiss midfielder sent in another cross from the left channel for the oncoming Odegaard, who struck a low shot through the Chelsea defence to score his 14th league goal of the season.

The away side received no respite throughout a clinical first half from the title challengers, and Arsenal added a third before the break. Gabriel Jesus capitalised on a goal-mouth scramble and some lazy Chelsea defending, slamming the ball from close range to put the game to bed.

Frank Lampard brought off former Arsenal striker Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang at half-time after an anonymous performance, but his changes failed to make a difference. The home side had multiple chances to hand Chelsea a drubbing, but couldn’t capitalise on their opportunities, with Thiago Silva making a vital goal-line clearance to keep the score respectable.

The Blues, though, found a rare opening in the second period and managed to find a consolation. January signing Noni Madueke scored his first goal for the club since his move from PSV Eindhoven, latching onto a Matteo Kovacic pass and beating Aaron Ramsdale.

The goal, however, was a mere footnote in an otherwise dominant Arsenal display, temporarily taking the Gunners back to the top of the league over Manchester City.