Chelsea halted by Arsenal
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea had played more competitive games against Arsenal than any other team as their latest meeting marked the hundred and ninety second time that they had faced each other. In the third minute, Cesc Fabregas supplied Pedro, whose snap shot was collected by Petr Cech. Two minutes later, Fabregas combined with Willian, before cutting in from the right and having his near post low strike kept out by Cech, who protected his near post. After a clash between Alexandre Lacazette and Victor Moses, the Blues player was left worse for wear and required treatment. On ten minutes, the flag was raised for offside as Alvaro Morata, guided a header wide from a cross by Cesar Azpilicueta. The Gunners responded on sixteen minutes, as Lacazette and Alex Iwobi motored down the middle, and as Hector Bellerin swung over a cross from the right, a pin point header from Danny Welbeck flew over. Again the Gunners opened up the Blues defence as Aaron Ramsey found Bellerin on the right, whose low cross was met with a stinging strike by Lacazette, which required a reaction stop from Thibaut Courtois, as he blocked the ball. There was concern for Chelsea as Pedro was injured from a strong challenge by Nacho Monreal. The Gunners created another chance when Granit Xhaka found an unmarked Sead Kolasinac, whose long range shot took a strong save by Courtois, who averted the danger, in the twentieth minute. But an over the top delivery by Fabregas, paved the way for Pedro to race through but Cech stood tall and made an important stop, as he rescued Arsenal. Another header went wide by Morata, after a delivery from Moses. In the thirty second minute, a four way move by Arsenal started with Laurent Koscileny and Bellerin before from a pull back by Iwobi, a flying long range blast by Xhaka, went into the side netting by the right post. But in the forty first minute, Iwobi exposed a gap in the Blues defence, and Ramsey ran into the box, before cracking the ball against the bottom right post, before Lacazette blazed over. Further to the second half, Pedro was replaced with Tiemoue Bakayoko. Two minutes into the re-start, the Blues created first with Morata’s lay off to Fabregas, before a soft shot by Willian was latched upon by Cech. The yellow card was soon shown to David Luiz for dangerous kicking into the head of Koscielny. On fifty six minutes, Kolasinac found Welbeck, and after playing a one two, the ball over ran for Ramsey. Again Arsenal found space on the left from Welbeck but the ball was over run by Kolasinac, in the sixty second minute. Morata later got booked for barging over Shkodran Mustafi, before the Gunners brought on Alexis Sanchez for Lacazette, and then the Blues took off Willian for Eden Hazard. When Welbeck pulled up injured from a challenge by Luiz, he was replaced with Olivier Giroud. After Bakayoko appended Ramsey, a free kick by Xhaka, was guided from the left into the right side of the net through a header by Mustafi, but after he turned to celebrate, the goal was ruled out for offside. In the seventy ninth minute, from a pass by N’Golo Kante, weaving his way through, Hazard tested Cech with a right footed strike which was saved in the top centre of the goal. Following a foul on Hazard by Ramsey, from the free kick, Hazard found Fabregas, whose long distance strike drifted wide of the target, in the eightieth minute. Arsenal then changed Iwobi with Mohamed Elneny, who later got booked for a foul on Hazard. On eighty six minutes, Cech had to palm away an in swinging delivery by Hazard. But Chelsea were reduced to ten men, after a ferocious slice of Kolasinac’s leg by Luiz, who got his marching orders with a straight red from referee, Michael Oliver. It meant that Morata was sacrificed for Andreas Chritsensen. There was a yellow shown to Kolasinac for pushing Hazard before Bellerin got cautioned for a foul on Bakayoko, but the game remained a stalemate as neither Chelsea or Arsenal could breach each others defence as both teams settled for a point apiece.