Six things learned as Gunners seal fine win to boost top four hopes ahead of Manchester United clash
Arsenal have returned to form at the perfect time and place with a 4-2 win over Chelsea in a rollercoaster match at Stamford Bridge. Eddie Nketiah scored twice on just his second Premier League start to hand Mikel Arteta a huge three points.
Arsenal are back fighting for a spot in the top four with a morale-boosting victory against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Rare starts were handed to Nketiah, Rob Holding and Mohamed Elneny but the Gunners rediscovered their touch in front of goal to reassert themselves in the battle with Tottenham and Manchester United for a Champions League position.
Thomas Tuchel will be scratching his head over another defensive collapse – following recent goals plundered to the likes of Brentford, Real Madrid and now Arsenal. Big wins over Southampton and Crystal Palace show that inconsistency is creeping into the Blues at exactly the wrong time.
Chelsea love giving Arsenal presents
Much like in the reverse fixture, it was a monumental error that led to Chelsea conceding when Andreas Christesne attempted a shockig backpass that failed to get nowhere near Edouard Mendy. It gave Eddie Nketiah the relatively simple task of dashing through on goal to slot past the Senegal international.
In the corresponding fixture, it was Jorginho that tried a similar pass that absolutely failed with Emile Smith Rowe being the benefactor on that occasion. This is not a first time either this season in big games – such as N’Golo Kante’s slip against Manchester United that saw Jadon Sancho score his first Premier League goal in a 1-1 draw.
Bukayo Saka is the man
If Arsenal are to stand any chance of finishing in the top four, they will need Bukayo Saka at the top of his game. When one on one with Marcos Alonso, the Englishman had him chasing shadows.
Still just 20 years old, there is more to come from Arsenal’s top talent and it is up to Arteta to get it out of him. And all remaining left-backs in his wake should be shaking in their boots.
Chelsea cannot lose Antonio Rudiger
Chelsea’s left side of their defence were brutally exposed and it just emphasised how important Rudiger is to this team. The Germany international is out of contract at the end of the season while the club are not allowed to renew his deal due to government sanctions.
His replacement in tonight’s line-up was Malang Sarr, one of two defenders as well as Alonso to endure horrid nights. Tuchel must find a way to live without Rudiger fast – or things might get very messy.
Mason Mount future legend
One of the top talents to come out of the Chelsea academy in recent years made his 100th Premier League appearance tonight in Mount. It makes him the fourth-youngest player to reach that total for the Blues – and he is not there by accident.
His assist for Azpilicueta’s goal was his 27th goal contribution of the season at just the age of 23. Many like to call the Englishman the next Frank Lampard but even he was nowhere near those kind of numbers at his age, it spells a very bright future for Chelsea and Mount.
Eddie Nketiah should replace Lacazette
Nketiah scored his first and second Premier League goals of the season and, granted they both arguably came from errors, it was a strike from a player that looked like he had done this for years. Arsenal have been craving a forward since the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and this was some test for the 22-year-old.
But he passed with flying colours with a major contribution to his side, leading the line with confidence. His contract is up at the end of the season and Arteta might be worth trying to get him to stay a little longer.
Romelu Lukaku fails to take chance
At the start of the season, Lukaku bullied Arsenal’s defence but this time round the Belgian mustered just 22 touches. It was a dismal display after being given a chance to shine by Tuchel.
So much so that the German coach turned back to Kai Havertz despite begging to give him a night off. A reminder that Chelsea spent £97million on Lukaku, who effectively is failing even as a third-choice striker.