Result: Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea
Competition: Premier League
Date: 26 December 2020
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Tierney, Holding, Pablo Mari, Elneny, Xhaka, Smith Rowe, Saka, Martinelli, Lacazette
Subs: Runarsson, Ceballos, Aubameyang, Maitland-Niles, Soares, Pepe, Mustafi, Willock, Nketiah
Arsenal turned the form book on its head to secure a 3-1 victory against Chelsea that eases the pressure on manager Mikel Arteta.
Alex Lacazette’s penalty and Granit Xhaka’s free-kick put the home side in charge at the break before Bukayo Saka chipped a third.
The Gunners squandered several chances to extend the lead before enduring a nervy climax after Tammy Abraham reduced the deficit and Jorginho had a penalty saved by Leno.
Gabriel Martinelli recovered from Tuesday’s kick on the shin to lead the line for the second game in a row. It wasn’t such good news for his Brazilian compatriots. Before kick-off it was confirmed that Willian and David Luiz were struggling with illness and that Gabriel was self-isolating having come into contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19. In their place, Emile Smith Rowe and Pablo Mari were handed first Premier League starts of the season and Granit Xhaka, back from suspension, was recalled to the starting lineup. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, struggling with a calf problem, was included on the bench. Hector Bellerin captained the side.
Arsenal made a very positive start and controlled the opening minutes targeting both flanks with wilful running by the full-backs. It nearly paid dividends immediately. Inside 40 seconds, Bellerin played in a dangerous cross from the right that Martinelli scuffed wide. Not long after a ricochet in the box saw the box pop off Lacazette’s head into Mendy’s hands.
Having looked a bit nervy, Chelsea came back into things and started to knock the ball around confidently. As was the case in the opening stages of the FA Cup final, Pulisic’s running was a problem. On 12 minutes, Xhaka ‘dealt’ with him by taking his legs out from behind. Mount took the resulting free-kick and clipped the outside of the post as Leno scrambled across his line.
It was tit-for-tat for 15 minutes or so. Holding did well to block an attempt by Wener after Elneny’s carelessness had accidentally sprung a Chelsea counter. Pablo Mari, already in the book for a late challenge on Kovacic, also did well on a couple of occasions to stop Abraham. At the other end, Smith Rowe couldn’t get on the end of a Bellerin cutback.
While we lacked confidence on the ball, you couldn’t deny the energy the players were putting into things. Martinelli, Saka and Smith Rowe all looked to snap into challenge and that became contagious as Lacazette and Xhaka also pushed up high. We were rewarded for the effort.
On 33 minutes, Xhaka sprayed a lovely pass out to Tierney who darted inside James and then went down as the Chelsea full-back clumsily tried to rescue the situation. Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot. The contact wasn’t as clearcut as it looked originally but the decision, even after a review by VAR, stood. Lacazette stepped up and sent Mendy the wrong way. (1-0)
Aside from a Werner shot that went wide without troubling Leno, we were relatively comfortable. The aim was to get to the break with our lead intact. We went one better.
On 43 minutes Kante’s late challenge on Saka saw us win a free-kick on the edge of the box and after referee Oliver denied us the chance to take it quickly, Xhaka and Lacazette had a conversation about who should get the honours. The Swiss stepped up and curled an absolute beauty over the wall and out of the reach of Mendy. He was mobbed on the spot by his teammates. (2-0)
Chelsea made a double change at the break bringing on Hudson-Odoi and Jorginho. The former was quick to whip in a brilliant ball that Bellerin had to head clear from under his own bar.
Just as you sensed we might have to mount a rearguard action for 40 minutes, we went and extended our lead out of the blue.
Saka, given the ball by Smith Rowe on the right edge of the box, seemed to be trying to cross for Martinelli at the back post but, possibly having spotted Mendy off his line, clipped a delicious chip over the keeper which went in off the post. It was hard to tell if he meant it, he certainly didn’t give anything away with his celebration. (3-0)
Martinelli had two chances to further extend our lead. First, he tried an overhead kick that Mendy gathered, then the French keeper did well to get down to his right after the Brazilian had started and ended a quick counter connecting with a Tierney pullback.
We kept pushing forward. Willock, on for Smith Rowe, skied from a tight angle when a pass to Lacazette might have been the better option. Martinelli made it to the 70 minutes mark before he was given a breather. Pepe came on in his place.
Thiago Silva had a header over the bar from a corner but heading into the final 15 minutes, Lampard’s men hadn’t had a shot on target. An injury to Pablo Mari, who went knee-to-knee with Abraham, wasted valuable minutes. While the Spaniard received treatment off the field, Abraham headed another effort over.
Lacazette really should have put things beyond doubt with seven minutes remaining but couldn’t curl his effort over Mendy after pressuring the keeper into a loose pass. From the resulting corner, Elneny crashed a shot against the bar and Holding forced another saved as the ball bounced around. Surely that wouldn’t prove costly? Erm…
Almost immediately, Chelsea went up the other end and did put the ball in the back of the net. The linesman flagged Abraham offside after he chested home Hudson-Odoi’s cross but the decision was reviewed and the goal stood. Surely not. (3-1)
Thiago Silva really should have reduced the deficit further with 90 seconds to go but his header flew wide. To ratchet up the nerves the Blues then went and won a penalty when Pablo Mari fouled Mason Mount.
Jorginho did his usual hop, skip and jump but Leno outwitted him, diving to his left and making the save. He even dived on the loose ball before getting the biggest of hugs from handsome Pablo who knew the German had dug him out of a hole. (missed penalty)
The Blues kept pushing but last-ditch defending and some more solid keeping from Leno saw us over the line.
After a torrid run of form, this was a very welcome three points against a side who would have gone second had they won. It’s too early to say if it’s a turning point, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
What a lovely feeling winning, playing attacking football. The youngsters really showed up the senior players. Absolutely loved Martinelli, ESR and Saka. As well as ofcourse Tierney and Bellerin (both with shirts tucked in) bombing forward. Laca put in a good shift as well. Boom Laca, Xhaka, Saka. Hope this lights a fire in the rest of the team as well. Despite my enthusiasm for Pepe he is going to have work hard for a PL start. For the 2nd game he came on for Martinelli and not able to sustain the kind of influence that Martinelli did! I’ll leave… Read more »
We need an acronym for Saka Martinelli and ESR
SME… Subject Matter Experts
Hi E-go-low 🙂
Aubameyang, Saka, Martinelli,
How about BADASSMOVAFUKAZ. It’s not an acronym, it’s just truth.
6 things We learnt today.
1. Martinelli is a baller
2. Emile Smith Rowe is a baller
3. Saka is a genious
4. Arteta has started listening. …and the above should be seen regularly
5. Young cares more
6. Willian should only be arranging cones during training
We have been saved by the fates that saw Luiz and Willian being ill. Even Gabriel because Mari also looked good.
anyone else think it’s weird two former Chelsea players, who may or may not be causing dressing room unrest, were ‘ill’ for this game!?
7.Xhaka gave his yearly solid performance now needs to pack his bags, no need to give him more chances
Great comment. Already seeing people let their own goodheartedness allow the wool over the eyes. The guy neeeds to go he is shit.. But today I do credit a very good performance from him.
Yes will always be an asshole
A thousand times this
6.Willian should be wherever he was today for all match days.
Having Ozil instead of Willian should have been better for the squad. Ozil even when having a stinker can create a chance out of nothing while Willian on big wages is doing **** all. As it seems, Ozil will be sold/released in January then give him an appearance for one last time. He was the one who ended our drought and was influential when things were going good. ESR wants to learn from Ozil (according to his tweets) but board wants Ozil of the wages so that Willian can get paid his retirement package. Bench Auba and play Laca since… Read more »
Willian is over. I hope stubborn Arteta finally sees this & plans the January window accordingly. Would be a Christmas miracle.
If we get Willian bumped off, we save his £15m a year salary, no? Surely a hitman costs less than that.
Xhaka Saka Laca boom!
The magic of having a CAM on your starting squad. Also the magic of having time-tested teammates. Liking this generation.
You need to keep your lucky pants, def it was not effing xhaka!
They aren’t sexy but Xhaka and Elneny just did the graft to let that attacking group create. I’m ok with that if it’s good enough to beat Chelsea. Until Partey returns, of course.
Your hate for Xhaka cant be healthy, get some perspective. Most of your comments today have been against him. He doesn’t know or care who you are.
That’s half his problem. He doesn’t care and he’s know fucking idea who we ( Arsenal fans are). Totally backing up the fans view of him with your comment. Thumbs up from me 😉
What perspective? We have a senior guy, who should be an example, in a place all of us can only dream to be (playing for our beloved club), who cannot keep his nerves, has ego issues, does not play well most of the time, effs up with red cards and does not think he effed up, it’s always someone else, and yes, tells the fans to f off and doesn’t care or think he’s wrong after that. I am fed up with half products like him, meaning flawed players who are given too many chances and are the ones who… Read more »
4 bottom half teams are our next 4 matches.
This scares me a bit. We won because Chelsea attacked and left spaces. We’ve lost when teams have sat deep and hit us on the counter. You can expect the teams below us to do the latter. Let’s hope stubborn Arteta learns his lesson and gives ESR a run of games in the hole.
*queues up Tom Waits’ “way down in the hole”*
Same could be said about us right now 😌
those are the teams we need to take points off.
Yeah but going by our recent form against such oppositions, I would still continue to grab my arms rest and hold on for dear life, every time Arsenal is playing those, until we can show more consistency…winning!
Martinelli is an immense talent, but we do need to wrap him up and keep him fit. Just hoping ESR can have a run of games.
Legendary Nigerian Film Producer Chico Ejiro was a staunch Arsenal fan. He passed away untimely December morning. Respect
Pepe needs to borrow a leaf from The Egyptian god (Liverpool’s)
Hardwork beats talent
Talent is nothing without training.
Talent is nothing without application…
True. I have also come around to notion he isn’t yet a smart player. Seems to me he hasn’t learned to use his immense talent in the PL. some never do. None whom lack energy’s do.
He has the power alright, he needs to imbibe the right energy . The right vibe and fitness
laca. xhaka. saka. pretty sure auba would have scored if he came on. surprised musta(fi) didnt score. parta(y) could have scored too if he played. ok i’ll leave now. good night.
It was quite the gamble playing ‘the kids’. I’d like to see one of AMN or Willock in one of the deep midfield roles. Hopefully Arteta can take some confidence, learn from this & continue giving the younger players a run in PL games. We’ll win a few more and lose plenty but it will be progress as opposed to persisting with the same failed senior players. It’s long overdue.
Have been as vocal a critic as any, but fair play to Xhaka and Laca for stepping up in a big way today.
ESR looked really positive too, hopefully we can build on this. COYG!
Smith-Rowe through the middle gave us a central attacking threat which diversified our threat and thus liberated space on the wings. Questions over why it took forced changes for Arteta to finally utilise Smith-Rowe in this role… but it shows that with creativity in the middle (which, to be fair, he wanted in the summer in the for of Aouar), Arteta can coach fast progressive, forward-playing attacking football. I still don’t think Xhaka is good enough, but with the attacking threat in the final third, him and Elneny formed a solid base. I think Elneny is potentially excellent – he… Read more »
Agree with pretty much everything here mate. I’m very interested in seeing what Pepe can do if he have more central movement, it seems like everytime he gets the ball he has to beat 2-3 players on his own.
Can say this because I’m drunk and we’ve won – but I hope we add a Pulisic type player who can drive at and dribble past midfields at ease
I thought Xhaka really shouldn’t have pulling out of that challenge right before their goal, but I’ll forgive him having scored that absolute screamer 😉
post match interview xhaka – ‘ ppl again started talking after red card’
anyways it’s best to use him till he is here.
Get him out asap.. toxic snake he is
Frustrating that Xhaka seems to need something to react against to put in his best performances. One of the stranger revelations in The Last Dance was Michael Jordan admitting he made up a lot of beefs with opposition players in his head, then would go out, furious and motivated, as if it was something that had actually taken place.
Wish Xhaka could do that instead of getting stupid red cards, but I think he lacks the required imagination. His forward pass in to Tierney to cross for the first goal was as satisfying as the free kick to me.
Just shut up and put in performances like this one you big oath than fuck off as soon as we can get a better replacement.
Everybody’s got haters, he focuses on his
My brother has 6 kids, I can’t blame anyone wanting to pull out
Jokes apart, really impressed w ESR today, and we most defo need to build a team around Gabi and Saka – they’re world beaters
Did you see how he passed it forward, into space, and the forwards actually reached the ball? So wonderful. Haven’t seen that in ages, it feels like.
1000%, his first pass was a give and go, and my brain went “wtf…that has been an option all along?”
I was worried he’d be marked out of the game but Kante but wasn’t to be
Its more Willock’s missed challenge that created space and time for the cross to come in.. it happens, players make mistakes..
Laca has been at races since the beginning of the year. He is victim of Arteta poor management willing to boost nketiah ego when he is nowhere near good enough. Great win.
Differing opinion here tbh, I think Laca wasn’t at his confidence best this year. Always works hard though!
I’m of the same opinion on Nketiah unfortunately. Possibly a good finisher but does seem to lack a lot in other aspects
Areta has chopped and changed in all his time here. Klopp never tinkered with his attack even before he had Mane, Salah and Firminho.. Even other great managers never mess with team chemistry.. Arteta will have to learn, if he doesn’t, he’ll be managing small clubs all his career.
Utter nonsense comment.
Arsenal FC, playing with my feelings since 2006
Scoring 3 goals in the league, a penalty save by an Arsenal keeper and a win against Chelsea after our worst run of form in decades. It truly is a Christmas miracle!
I feel you bro!
I hope we didn’t use all our luck up at once, busy period & all
Been going since 1972.
The old man since 1952.
My granddad since 1935.
I have a mate whose great grandfather used to watch Dial Square.
The pain never lessens. But the sweetness of performances like this makes it worthwhile.
This is why we support. Let’s get behind the project,
‘I reckon 3-0 to Arsenal today. Hope you had a good Christmas.’ Is the text I sent my friend Duncan at 1.03pm today.
What….what is this strange feeling? Joy? Happiness?….. pride? Either way I’ll take more of it. Bit if squeaky bum time at the end there and feel like there’s room for improvement with the base of our midfield (although that Xhaka freekick made up for a lot), but our front 4, especially Martnelli and Saka, plus Tierney at LB…. just loved it. That’s what I want to see. Definitely didn’t mean it but Saka more than deserved that goal, he was outstanding. Long may this continue!!
I don’t know if Saka meant it or not, but he certainly wasn’t looking to find a team mate cos nobody was at the far post.
Could think of something cynical to say, honestly I’m tempted to. but fuck it, we needed this so bad. we won and we deserved it too! merry christmas gooners!
some thoughts, martinelli is Excellent, smith-rowe deserves to start more we look comfortable with a 10, elneny was really good, all over them today. and boy do I love bukayo saka. well done to everyone though (yes even you granit) It’s been so long since I had that much fun watching a match. We could have scored 5-6! let’s goooo let this be our turning point we can do this
Young legs in attacking areas with a good dose of Martinelli enthusiasm made all the difference.
Mikel forced by illness to make changes is a positive worry
I see what you did there
True. Get well later, Willian. Please take your time. We understand.
Oh Saka you’re so fine you’re so fine you blow my mind hey Saka hey Saka
Oh Gabi you’re so fine…
Someone must have tricked the lads into believing this was a Europa game.
On a serious note, Martinelli, Saka, and Tierney are BIG assets to this club. Have so much love for them.
If there was a bet to go long Gabi winning atleast 1 Golden Boot in his life I’d put money up immediately. What an absolute gem
A gem indeed.
well done Mikel. you can see what it means to him.
Xhaka played like a proper midfielder today. I’ll take that as the apology. Well played sir
Xhaka and Elneny are both good players to sit behind the ball, recycle possession etc and generally do the dog’s work in midfield, but they look shit when they’re expected to create because that’s not their strength. Today they played behind a creative player and they both looked impressive – I hope Arteta also spots this trend!
Fuck knows we needed that. Merry Xmas everybody!
Christmas came a little late this year, COYG!
But it is only the second day of Christmas.
Maybe all Xhaka needs is to play once every 4 games. Immense!
Or have someone pass forward in front of him! Also immense!
Just my thought.
Glad to see youth finally given a chance & Willian out of the side. Great stop by Leno as I’m not sure we could have hung on otherwise.
Irrespective of the mess we find ourselves in, there are still players we can all rally behind!
Elneny and Bellerin 💯
Meant Jebus. Damn auto correct.
Praise Leno! 👐
At last: Laca, Xhaka, Saka.
What is this feeling? We actually won? Long may it continue.
If Willian comes back to this side after he’s well I’m done
I will take the bait and sing it out like a drunkard on the rooftop. No Willian = Arsenal winning.
On to more positive matters. Saka. That’s all there is to say.
And of course ESR, Tierney and everyone else, who put in massive shifts today, but Saka was head and shoulders above everyone else.
Wow. Such a pleasant surprise. I have forgotten how it feels to win a game in Premier League with style, ambition, going well forward. Looking at line-ups I was scared of Elneny-Xhaka duo, but Granit did his job today, not only with a world class free kick!
A few players played a wonderful game tonight – Saka, Martinelli, Smith Rowe, Holding and Tierney (wow, love him). Leno made an impact as well when a nervous minutes gloomed over the Emirates after penalty was conceded.
A great christmas present from the team. More of this line up please.
What in the Xhaka was that!?
Lava should’ve chipped that one.
The moment ESR and Martinelli were taken off, our attack was limited.
The fact that Bellerin started ahead of AMN is above my thinking.
Great game. Good start for the year.
I think bellerin did rather well today !
Finally! Weeeee hahahahaha
What is this weird feeling, opposite of negativity and pessimism…W…in?
What is a win?
Oh, it’a sweet!
Saka, Martinelli and ESR playing together makes the team completely different. Add Partey to that mix and you never know? COYG!
Ian Wright scream laughing after Saka’s goal and yelling ITS LIKE WATCHING BRAZIL… our truest legend.
Yes, yes and yes.
Now let’s build on this, ideal matches coming up to build these younger players confidence.
Great penalty save from Leno too, we have flogged Martinez no point banging on about it anymore, let’s back the man we have.
Time to build a streak up.
We won and we played attacking football. :O
No Willian and no Luiz gibea victory. I think those are agent Mourinho’s moles sent to hollow out Arsenal.
Wow that’s was nice! Merry Christmas Gunners!!
That is more like it from the youngsters.
Tierney, Saka, Martinelli and ESR were simply immense.
Leno was good too.
I hope we’ve seen the last of Willian as a starter.
WELL DONE ARSENAL.
Gary Neville calling Saka’s goal a fluke. If it was any other team than Arsenal it would have been a great goal. If it was Man U…..world class.
That said, butterflies in the tummy from kick off to final whistle.
It was a cross though. Who cares.
I don’t think he called it a fluke directly, I think he said something in the sense that ‘Saka will tell himself whether it was a fluke or intentional’ as they just selected him as MOTM and therefore knew he’s coming for an interview afterwards
You can see Saka’s reaction when he plays the cross that he knows he’s hit it wrong to be fair to that miserable cunt
When Neville starts getting salty, you know The Arsenal are playing well.
Fuck him, the Manc twat.
Yes yes yes. Delighted boys worked so hard and were together. Fuck the old has beens go for youth bravery and enthusiasm rather than mellow yellow piss smelling old Chelski players. Pablo Mari I have been unsure of and still hold our fears of him against a fast guy but was superb today and on 70 something mins covered Tierney on the counter filled out LB then dropped in again. How often have we seen Luiz or Mustafi finger signalling and wasting energy shouting at the full back. Mari rolled up his sleeves held out ODoi did his job for… Read more »
Best young player of the premier league season – SAKA!!!
What… What the fuck just happened? What is this feeling?!?
Martinelli and Smith Rowe should keep Pepe and Willian out of the team. Permanently. It’s up to the big money men to win their places back if they care.
Good game by Xhaka. Big ups man
I’d let Saka, Martinelli and ESR braid my arsehair. Up the Arse!
Not that one needed to know about your Arsehair, or your need to braid it, but please employ Willian to do it instead. With him so busy, the truly deserving players will get to actually play.
Auba needs to sit until he proves he worth a start.
Give me Laca instead, with this set up.
This is why I trust Arteta. It’s fine to criticize, but he shows he can beat teams in the big 6 if he had better players. He should have played these young players months ago over the useless “experienced” players but give Arteta a group of players that are his and will run through walls for him and see how far he takes them. The pressure has to be on the board to clear out these dead, useless, serial fuck ups and replace them with top class additions and these young players
I think he has just had that bit of Luck he has been crying out for. Couldn’t pick either Luiz or Willian and a great result follows.
Look at it dispassionately.
What were our goals?
A penalty, a dead ball situation, and a wondergoal.
Did we consistently create high-quality chances? Not really.
I’m not really seeing much improvement.
I’d be a whole lot more optimistic if I knew that it was Arteta and not Covid who picked the good players today.
The criticism stems from the fact that in spite of having most of these players for the better part of the past month, we still had to endure the terrible performances especially from the attack, in the league. Martinelli was the only one who returned late. Accepted Pepe was carded off (rightly), but nothing, absolutely nothing justifies many of Arteta’s team choices.
He had these players. He refused to play them. As much as I want him to succeed, he doesn’t get the license to torment us with the Brazilian Chelsea guy
Suck it haters.. Xhaka may not be a pirlo but some Arsenal fans are pathetic the way they hate their own players.. he’ll be gone soon but the hate will continue just like before him, the haters will find someone new..
I’M Xhaka biggest critic but if he played like he did today at all, I wouldn’t have to be. I prefer facing objective truth rather than blind loyalty, and when he has performed terribly and disrespected the club, he showed his true colours. Unless you’re a relative of Granit your apparent worship of him is misplaced
God I hope he’ll be gone soon.
Hate? He told us to – what was it again? – oh, yes, to “fuck off”.
I’m just returning the sentiment.
I wish he would fuck off and stay fucked.
And I didn’t see you posting stuff defending Chaka before he scored a goal, so I don’t think it’s the “haters” who are pathetic.
I said it they call me mad! Xhaka and partey can be a solid midfield duo if given a good run a games with a consistent back four.
The hate is mostly unwarranted because he doesn’t pick himself. That being said, he’s a tad slow and unatheltic to be the linchpin of an arsenal FC team.
He played well today, and that free-kick was super important but let’s not forget that Pulisic was able to glide through our midfield a couple times before we scored
My friend Pulisic glides past everyone he plays against, unfortunately he’s that good. He was menace against us in the FA cup final untill he got injured. Watch Chelsea’s last game against West Ham, all three goals came because of his direct running.
I will take your word for it since I haven’t seen a lot of Chelsea matches recently….but yeah he does seem to glide past effortlessly…I hope we add a player like that, we’d suddenly be a big attacking threat if our wingers weren’t getting double teamed everytime they got the ball
A lovely, warm, beautiful, gracefully accepted late Christmas present. I love it when we beat the Chavs! And what did we learn? That the kids are great if you give them an opportunity. I don’t know why Willian didn’t play and I don’t care: ESR, Martinelli and Saka all had the energy, enthusiasm and skill to take us to the next level. I’m actually disappointed with the score: we should have scored at least two more goals. That’s how superior we were to the Chavs. After months of awful football we finally turned up in the PL. Now let’s build… Read more »
On a slightly sour note, noticed Maitland-Niles not involved. Hope the rumours about him going on loan to Athletico Madrid are false. Be a shame to lose him
Absolutely. AMN is part of this new generation. We need his energy and versatility at the club.
Don’t know what to make of this, this was a hell of a performance. Zero to 100. And you try to look for somebody to blame so to sustain the anger from these past few weeks, and there is nobody.
Good performance from the starting squad today. The difference goals from midfield can make. I know Saka probably didn’t mean that strike but he has a great right foot. Nice one from Leno to save the pen. Glad that donkey Jorginho wasn’t smiling this time around.
That being said I still think Arteta is on borrowed time, I am not confident he can turn this season around.
Tierney for the captain
Hi there, Paul Merson
Watched is pretty late in the night and thank god the boys did a marvellous job. Just wish Laca would have gotten that2nd goal. Would have done a world of good to him. On a more serious note, Willock didn’t match ESR’s energy or work rate. The cross for the goal should have been stopped by him. I feel if he doesn’t up his game, he will be a bit part player soon. Elneny and Holding have a very dangerous habit of misplacing passes or losing the ball near our penalty area. Luckily for us, we did not get punished… Read more »