As it happened: Arsenal receive top four boost with win over Chelsea
Photo: Getty Images - Catherine Ivill 

As it happened: Arsenal receive top four boost with win over Chelsea

Relive text commentary as Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-0. 

mattddawson
Matt Dawson
FULL TIME
Stay tuned to VAVEL UK for all of the reaction following this one. We'll have a match report and analysis coming your way very shortly. I've been Matt Dawson, thank you very much for joining me this evening. 
FULL TIME
The only negative for Arsenal will be Hector Bellerin who was stretchered off in the second half with a nasty looking knee injury. We wish him all the best in his recovery. 
FULL TIME
For Chelsea, it only provided further evidence of their need for an extra striker in January. Hazard was largely non-existent and they carried very little threat going forward. Back to the drawing board for Maurizio Sarri and his side. 
FULL TIME
A hugely disciplined performance from Arsenal. It's not every game you can say that! They've kept a rare clean sheet and narrowed the gap between themselves and Chelsea to three points. Laurent Koscielny was a rock at the back whilst Lacazette and Ramsey were the influencers at the other end for the Gunners. 
FULL TIME: Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea
A huge result in the race for the top four! 
96' Chelsea have a late free-kick. Hazard puts it in but Koscielny heads clear. 
94' Hazard attempts a ball in towards Giroud but it doesn't find him and ends up in the grateful clutches of Leno. He's heading towards just a second Premier League clean sheet. 
90' SIX added minutes at the Emirates. 
89' Good tracking back from Xhaka as he denies Kante a chance to break down the right side.
89' Since Giroud has come on for Chelsea they've still struggled to get the ball in the box. A matter of minutes left in this one now. 
85' Iwobi gets down the right and then flicks it inside to Elneny who takes aim but fires a shot over the bar. 
82' Lucas Torreira just down with cramp. That's a sign of how hard he's worked this evening. 
Chelsea substitution
80' A final throw of the dice from Chelsea as Hudson-Odoi is on for Pedro. 
77' Hazard drives towards the penalty area but fires over the bar. 
70' Bellerin knew straight away that was a bad one. Your first thought is his cruciate but we don't want to speculate at this time. He goes off and that means Maitland-Niles will now move over to right back. Elneny comes on in midfield. 
69' Hector Bellerin goes down without any contact and this looks very painful for the Spaniard. He's about to be taken off on a stretcher. He's going to be replaced by Mohamed Elneny. 
Substitutions
68' Changes for both sides as first Alex Iwobi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles come into the fray. They replace Lacazette and Ramsey. Olivier Giroud is finally on for Chelsea, he replaces Willian. 
67' Chelsea go forward and Barkley hammers one towards goal but it's blocked by Koscielny. 
65' And now the opposite Arsenal full-back gets forward! Bellerin is released down the right-hand side with Lacazette and Ramsey waiting but he delays it and the ball in is then blocked. 
64' What an opportunity for Arsenal and they should be 3-0 up. Kolasinac drives to the byline and cuts it back but no one in red and white can get on the end of it. Had the Bosnian pulled it back earlier Lucas Torreira was waiting in a fantastic position. 
Chelsea substitution
63' A first change for Chelsea as Ross Barkley comes on for Kovacic. 
59' It's all Chelsea now as Alonso drives wide. Arsenal standing firm for the time being. Koscielny has been immense in defence for the Gunners so far. 
56' Good work from Willian down the left as he pulls it back to Pedro on the edge of the area but he gets it all wrong, blazing a good opportunity over the bar. 
53' Chelsea have started the second 45 minutes on the front foot but they're still struggling to create. Willian cuts inside but hits a shot against his own teammate, Alonso. That rather sums up their day so far. 
46' Chelsea get us back up and running in the second period. 
Sarri has sent his side out early. We're almost ready to go for the second half. 
HALF TIME
Chelsea lack a focal point in attack and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Olivier Giroud introduced sooner rather than later. Azplicueta and Alonso have had opportunities in wide areas to cross but have decided against it because of a lack of height in the penalty box. Something needs changing from Maurizio Sarri over the break. 
HALF TIME
Arsenal have started games slowly this campaign time and time again but their first-half performance today was magnificent. They took the lead through Alexandre Lacazette before another Frenchman in Koscielny made it two. They've looked a threat every time they have gone forward. 
HALF TIME: Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea
Brilliant first half from the Gunners. It's not often we've said that this season. 
OFF THE POST
45' Almost a way back into the game for Chelsea as Marcos Alonso plants a header against the post after meeting a corner. 
GOAL ARSENAL - KOSCIELNY (2-0)
39' Arsenal have their second now! Torreira sends a free-kick deep which is headed into the path of Sokratis on the edge of the area. He loops the ball into the danger zone where Koscielny is unmarked and he finds the back of the net from close range. That's his first goal since that horrific Achilles injury last year. 
37' Almost an unbelievable goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang! Kolasinac dinks the ball into the area and the Gabonese striker attempts an acrobatic effort which flies inches wide of the far post. A fabulous effort and so nearly a second for the Gunners. 
29' Chelsea get caught in possession again which allows Ramsey to fizz an effort towards goal but his effort from range is saved comfortably by Arrizabalaga. 
24' The ball falls kindly to Jorginho outside the box but he skews it over the bar. This is a better period for Chelsea now. 
18' It's been a chaotic start to the game here as Chelsea almost find a leveller. Pedro latches on to a ball over the top and with Leno racing out of his goal goes for the chip. However, the ball bounces inches wide of the post. That's the Blues' best chance so far. 
17' Arsenal are all over Chelsea here and they could have had a second. Azpilicueta loses possession to Aubameyang who then weaves in and out of the Spaniard before seeing a shot saved by Arrizabalaga. 
GOAL ARSENAL - LACAZETTE (1-0)
14' It's no less than Arsenal deserve for their start to the game! Bellerin finds Lacazette inside the area who takes the ball beautifully, before turning and then hammering the ball in at Arrizabalaga's near post. It's a fantastic goal from the Frenchman and the Gunners have the lead. 
13' Wow, Laurent Koscielny has to score! It's a wonderful chance for the Gunners skipper as he gets on the end of a free-kick but puts it straight at Kepa who reacts to put it over the bar. 
10' First opportunity for Chelsea as Hazard fires wide from Azpilicueta's cross. 
8' Another brilliant chance goes begging for Arsenal! Torreira takes a corner short to Xhaka who then whips the ball towards Sokratis who is unmarked in the box but he heads wide. 
5' Great chance for Aubameyang but no goal! Bellerin feeds Lacazette down the right channel and he then squares the ball for Aubameyang inside the area but Azpilicueta does just about enough to put him off as the forward's effort goes wide of the target. 
2' A positive start from Arsenal but almost a nightmare one for the Blues. David Luiz gifts the ball to Aaron Ramsey 25 yards from goal but he fails to take advantage of a lapse in concentration in the Chelsea defence. 
KICK-OFF
1' Away we go! 
The players are in the tunnel, we're moments away from kick-off. 
We're approaching kick-off at the Emirates, with just over five minutes before the action gets underway. 
Arsenal hoping for more creativity
A major factor in Ramsey starting today was Arsenal's lack of impetus and spark in their defeat to West Ham. He comes into the side and will offer the Gunners far more in forward areas. It's been reported that Ramsey's future lies in Turin with Juventus when the summer transfer window arrives, but his commitment since the news that his contract wouldn't be renewed has been first class.
Around the grounds
It's been an entertaining day in the Premier League so far today. Here's a reminder of the results. 

Wolves 4-3 Leicester

Bournemouth 2-0 West Ham

Liverpool 4-3 Crystal Palace

Manchester United 2-1 Brighton

Newcastle 3-0 Cardiff

Southampton 2-1 Everton

Watford 0-0 Burnley


Yes you're reading that right, two matches that finished 4-3. 

Chelsea team news
Eden Hazard leads the line again for the Blues with former Arsenal man Olivier Giroud on the bench. Jorginho, Kante and Kovacic start in midfield. It'll be up to Pedro and Willian to provide the impetus from wide areas. 
Arsenal team news
So Mesut Ozil makes the squad. However, he has to settle for a place on the bench as Aaron Ramsey gets a rare start. The Gunners go to a back four after starting with three at the back against West Ham. That sees Sokratis and Laurent Koscielny start beside each other. Bellerin is back in the starting line-up, as is Lucas Torreira. 
Chelsea starting XI
Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Kovacic, Kante, Willian, Hazard, Pedro. 

Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Emerson, Ampadu, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud. 

Arsenal starting XI
Leno, Bellerin, Sokratis, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Aubameyang, Lacazette.

Subs: Cech, Mustafi, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Iwobi, Ozil. 

Plenty of Premier League football to keep us all entertained before this big clash. Wolves meet Leicester in the early kick-off at 12.30pm. The rest of Saturday's games which kick off at 3pm are as follows:

Bournemouth vs West Ham

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

Manchester United vs Brighton

Newcastle vs Cardiff

Southampton vs Everton

Watford vs Burnley 

Today marks the birthday of the late Herbert Chapman. The revolutionary manager who would lead Huddersfield Town and Arsenal to success in the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s was born on this day in 1878. Chapman, unfortunately, passed away suddenly in 1934 but his legacy lives on in today's game. 
If you fancy some extra reading before kick off then check out Rosie Tudball's preview ahead of the game. You can read that here
Countdown to kick off
That's all your pre-match build up for now. We'll have more discussion and confirmed starting XIs from an hour before kick off. A reminder that the action will get underway from 5.30pm GMT. 
Previous meeting
The last time these two teams met was in the second week of the season. Arsenal were brilliant going forward and looked a threat with each attack but it was Chelsea who came out on top. The Blues went 2-0 up thanks to Pedro and Morata but the Gunners fought back through Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi. However, Marcos Alonso was on hand to score in the last ten minutes to send Chelsea home with all three points as they won 3-2.
Sarri praises offensive Gunners
In Sarri's press conference ahead of the game, he spoke about Arsenal's home form and their offensive record: "This match is for us a risk and an opportunity. It is a risk of course because Arsenal are doing well at home so it is very difficult and dangerous for us, and it is also a great opportunity for us," he said. 

"The match is very important but very difficult because they are a very good team, and in the offensive phase they are one the best teams in the Premier League," Sarri commented. 
Emery full of respect for Cech
Speaking to the media in his pre-match press conference, Emery was full of admiration for Cech. He said: "I think he's a very big person. As a person I've only known him six months. After that, I know him like a player. A great player with a lot of titles in his career and I think the respect to him is very big for me and for all the football world." 

On the match versus Chelsea, Emery added: "It's a difficult, tough match and I think it's a good test for us also. We wanted to go into this match with three points difference in the table, but our defeat at West Ham doesn't give us this possibility." 

Cech to retire
This week Arsenal goalkeeper and Chelsea legend Petr Cech confirmed he will retire at the end of the season. He's hugely unlikely to start at the weekend but will certainly get a good reception from both sets of supporters. The 'keeper has the most Premier League clean sheets in history, 202, and has played 443 times in England's top flight. 
Chelsea team news
Former Gunner Olivier Giroud may miss the trip to his former employers with a swollen ankle but could be fit enough for a place on the bench. Alvaro Morata is a doubt with his future at the club not certain. That could mean Hazard starts as the central striker once more. Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be absent with a back problem. 
Arsenal team news
The Gunners will be without Henrikh Mkhitaryan who is still missing following a fractured foot whilst they still have long-term absentees in Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck. Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal returned to the squad last time out and the former is likely to replace Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the starting XI. It shall be interesting to see whether the Gunners go with three at the back or four after switching between the two this season. Against West Ham they opted to play Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi in defence but the latter was withdrawn in the second half. 
Ozil saga continues to roll on
Does Emery want Mesut Ozil at Arsenal? Who knows. The Arsenal manager says he does but the continuing saga between the two will likely continue for a while yet. The German World Cup winner has been a fringe player in the last couple of months and was omitted entirely from the Arsenal squad that lost to West Ham due to tactical reasons. That wasn't the first time this season either, but with the Gunners' lack of creativity without him being so evident last weekend, Emery could choose to bring him back in for the visit of Chelsea on Saturday. 
Higuain to become a Blue?
Chelsea have been in the market for both a striker and a midfield replacement for Cesc Fabregas who departed Monaco this month. Gonzalo Higuain, who has not been enjoying his time with AC Milan looks set to join Chelsea on an 18-month loan deal this month. He'll severely bolster a Chelsea forward line that have struggled for goals, Eden Hazard aside. A deal is reportedly also being worked on to bring Zenit midfielder Leandro Paredes to the club. 
Mislintat to leave?
2019 has already been a rollercoaster for Arsenal and the news that head of recruitment and world-renowned scout, Sven Mislintat could be heading out of the Emirates after just a year is a cause for concern. He and Raul Sanllehi, director of football, have been the driving force behind player transfers over the past 12 months but a supposed breakdown in relations between the pair and Emery has led Mislintat to question his future with the Gunners. 
No money for Arsenal to spend
Arsenal needed investment in January but it looks as though any significant arrivals this month will be extremely unlikely. Emery revealed before the Gunners defeat to West Ham that they could only sign players on loan. A deal is reportedly being worked on to bring in Denis Suarez on loan before paying a fee to make it permanent in the summer, but the defensive reinforcements which have been the main topic of discussion probably won't happen. The north London's club's top four hopes have now become slimmer. 
Chelsea ticking along
Chelsea started their new era under Maurizio Sarri in fantastic fashion. They looked as though they could potentially be in the hunt for the title but have fallen off the pace somewhat since. They've been a little inconsistent over the past few months with defeats to Wolves and Leicester pegging them back in December. Despite that, they continue to tick things over and are unbeaten in their last four league outings as they sit in the driving spot for the final Champions League place. 
Emery's revolution hitting a stumbling block
Remember when Arsenal supporters were cheering that they'd got their club back? Well, that seems like a long time ago now. The Gunners had that impressive unbeaten run but in the past month have stumbled and find themselves six points off of Chelsea who occupy fourth spot. Arsenal are also on the same points now as Manchester United who started the season so poorly. This game will be massive for Unai Emery team's Champions League hopes, then. 
Welcome
Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live text commentary of Arsenal vs Chelsea in the Premier League. I'm Matt Dawson and I'll be taking you through the build-up followed by all of the match action which gets underway at 5.30pm GMT. 
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