Arsenal: Cech, Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Bellerin, Xhaka, Wilshere, Maitland-Niles, Alexis, Ozil, Lacazette
Subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Coquelin, Elneny, Iwobi, Walcott, Welbeck
An amazing second half with four goals saw Arsenal play out an exciting 2-2 draw with Chelsea at the Emirates this evening.
Arsenal were without Laurent Koscielny who was replaced by Rob Holding, while there was a pre-kick off boost with the inclusion of Mesut Ozil who had been doubtful with a knee injury.
It was the Gunners who had the first attempt on goal via a 6th minute Alexis Sanchez free kick which deflected wide as the keeper went the other way. The Chilean almost found Ozil for a close range header from a swift counter, while at the other end Calum Chambers blocked a Hazard shot from inside our box.
However, the young defender showed some inexperience moments later and it could have been costly. He got caught ball watching, Morata was clean through one on one, and he put it well wide when he should have scored. A low cross from our left almost found the Spanish striker but he missed it, allowing Cech to save.
That prompted an extraordinary 60 seconds up the otbher end. After Anthony Taylor waved away claims for a penalty on Maitland-Niles, Alexis cracked a shot which the keeper touched onto the post, before the ball rolled agonisingly across the line to hit the other post without going over. It was so close to the opening goal.
Lacazette’s lovely turn saw him test Courtois but his low shot didn’t quite have the power to trouble the keeper too greatly. Cech had to save from Bakayoko, and when Xhaka committed a foul on the edge of the box, Alonso had the chance to trouble the Arsenal keeper but put it over the bar.
Wilshere and Fabregas traded yellow cards for fouls on each other, and a late chance in the first half created by Hazard could have been more dangerous, but the former Arsenal man skied his shot, to many cheers from the home crowd.
There were no changes from either side at the break, and a wonderful Fabregas pass provided Hazard with a real chance to open the scoring but Cech saved with his feet, and then got back up immediately to push an Alonso header around the post.
Maitland-Niles crossed for Alexis at the back post but it was just too high, before a superb turn from Lacazette put him on one with Courtois, he delayed his shot just a touch, but like his colleague at the other end, Courtois made a great save with his feet.
Arsenal did have the ball in the net but it was ruled out for a foul in the build up, but moments later we went ahead. Ozil played it into the middle, Holding played it back across, the ball deflected into the path of Wilshere who smashed it into the net from a tight angle. 1-0.
Lacazette almost doubled the lead a minute later, but his shot deflected wide of the near post. It was a miss made more frustrating when moments later Bellerin was adjudged to have fouled Hazard in the box, and of course Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot. The Belgian stepped up and made it 1-1.
Kante had a shot deflected wide, and Morata once again had a glorious opportunity for Chelsea but once again fluffed his lines, shooting over when he should have put the visitors ahead.
Danny Welbeck replaced Lacazette in the 80th minute, playing from the left with Alexis moving up top, but hopes he might get a winner were squashed when Chelsea went ahead in the 84th minute. Zappacosta beat Maitland-Niles down the left, Alonso made run across the box, he got ahead of Mustafi and sidefooted home from close range. 1-2.
Arsene Wenger sent on Theo Walcott for Chambers with three minutes of normal time remaining, and it looked as if we’d lose again. Arsenal kept probing though, Mustafi crossed from the right, Alonso headed it out but Bellerin came onto it and half-volleyed home beautifully to make it 2-2.
Straight from kick off, Morata got clean through again, and for the third time he missed a great chance, Cech made a save, and from the rebound Zappacosta smashed a shot off the crossbar.
It was a pulsating game of football, one from which we deserved something and in the circumstances a point seems a fair result.