Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Sokratis, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Subs: Cech, Monreal, Mustafi, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Ozil, Iwobi
Arsenal showed a response to their recent poor form as goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny gave them a 2-0 win at the Emirates this evening – cutting the gap to the top four to just 3 points.
To counter the recent poor form, Unai Emery reverted to a back four, brought Aaron Ramsey into the team and included Mesut Ozil in the squad.
The Gunners started brightly, forcing the visitors into errors around their own box, and should have gone ahead in the fourth minute. Bellerin played it down the line to Lacazette, he squared it for Aubameyang who was just 6 yards out but somehow failed to make contact.
Sokratis headed a Xhaka cross wide a couple of minutes later, while at the other end Eden Hazard had a good sight of goal but put his first time effort wide.
There was another glorious chance for Arsenal to go ahead when Koscielny met a Torreira free kick, his header hit Arrizabalaga who knew nothing about it and it went over for a corner. From the subsequent set-piece, and another corner, we eventually took the lead.
Bellerin put in a low cross from the right, Lacazette took a lovely touch, another, then slammed it in from a really tight angle to make it 1-0.
Aubameyang then robbed Azpilicueta, went through, turned inside, shot but hit it straight at the keeper, before Pedro almost equalised after being put through by a fine Luiz pass. He attempted to lob Leno, succeeded, but saw the ball drop just wide of the post.
Chelsea responded well to going behind, forcing the Arsenal defence to work hard to keep them out. Jorginho shot over from outside the box, and after a frenetic opening 25 minutes the game settled down a little bit.
Ramsey had a pop from distance, again Arrizabalaga was equal to it, and the Arsenal lead was almost doubled in the 36th minute. Kolasinac burst down the left, put in a great cross, and Aubameyang’s acrobatic effort went just wide.
Luiz picked up a yellow card for a foul on Ramsey, and it was a costly foul to make as it led to Arsenal’s second goal. Torreira took the free kick, Kolasinac headed it back to Sokratis who looped a cross into the box, Koscielny stopped to head the ball home, missed it with his head but it hit off his shoulder and looped in to make it 2-0.
As the half came to a close Alonso hit the post with a header from a corner, and we had to deal with a dangerous free kick conceded on the edge of our box, but defensive commitment was 100%.
There were no changes by either manager at the break, and the visitors started well, dominating possession and making life difficult for the Gunners. Good play by Willian created a chance for Pedro who skied his shot over the bar, the Brazilian had a shot blocked himself, and Chelsea made their first change with Barkley replacing Kovacic in the 63rd minute.
Kolasinac found himself in behind after good work from Lacazette but his cutback was intercepted, and there was a chance for Bellerin to cross for Ramsey and Lacazette but he took a touch and saw his ball across put behind for a corner which came to nothing.
Unai Emery made his first changes in the 68th minute, bringing off Ramsey and Lacazette for Iwobi and Maitland-Niles, but immediately he was forced into another when Hector Bellerin went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. The Spaniard was taken off on a stretcher and replaced by Mohamed Elneny.
Olivier Giroud returned to his old ground to try and get his new club back into it, and Chelsea dominated possession as the Bellerin injury sapped even more of the energy from the team and the crowd. Hazard shot over with his left foot, and Sarri made his final change sending on Hudson-Odoi for Pedro.
Torreira went down with cramp, Elneny shot over after good work from Iwobi, and the game went into 6 minutes of additional time with Chelsea still more or less on top but without really causing Leno any problems.
The defensive commitment of the Arsenal players helped protect their keeper, with interceptions, tackles and clearances galore. Barkley got booked for a foul on Guendouzi, but there was no way through for the visitors.
Two goals, a clean sheet, and crucially three points. Well done lads!