Arsenal back in top four race as they earned an important win in the London derby against Chelsea.
Unai Emery’s men returned to winning ways as they beat London rivals Chelsea 2-0 at The Emirates Stadium. The Gunners are currently three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, and are fifth, pushing Manchester United back to sixth after the Red Devils had moved up to fifth in their 2-1 win against Brighton.
With intense pressing from kick-off, Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring, in fine fashion, in the 14th minute. His nice first touch from a Hector Bellerin cross, before briskly turning and beating Kepa Arrizabalaga at his near post with a wonderful strike.
Arsenal continued to pressurize Chelsea at the back, and Unai Emery’s men doubled their lead through skipper Laurent Koscielny in the 39th minute.
Chelsea lost focus to keep off the Frenchman in the box from a set-piece situation, and Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ cross into the box found Laurent Koscielny unmarked, who missed a header, but providentially fell off his shoulder.
Chelsea obviously lacked creativity in the first half, and without having a single shot on target, but they came close to reducing the deficit on the stroke of half-time, but unfortunately hit the post through Marcos Alonso’s header from a corner.
Chelsea continued to pose even greater threat in the second half, but had to wait until the 82nd minute to test Bernd Leno from a powerful strike by Marcos Alonso in a tight angle on the left side, as the Arsenal’s defense proved formidable, thanks to the excellent performance of Laurent Koscielny.
Arsenal’s intensity was made clear on two occasions in the first half when striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang twice ran back into his own half to make challenges, most importantly denying Eden Hazard a chance to score with a perfectly timed tackle in the box. Alexandre Lacazette did the same in few occasions too.
Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea obviously needs a striker, as Eden Hazard played as the false nine where he even had to play deep, hence reducing his effectiveness in front of goal. The Blues’ fans will be hoping the signing of Argentine striker, Gonzalo Higuain, will be officially announced this week.