Chelsea 0-1 Arsenal: Mikel Arteta completes the double over Chelsea
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal celebrates with team mates after scoring their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on May 12, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta set up his side with a back three in an attempt to match up formations with his south west London counterpart Thomas Tuchel
 

Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney took up the wing back roles  with a Centre back trio of Gabriel, Rob Holding and Pablo Mari.  

Story of the match


The Game began in a cagey affair, both sides struggling to progress the ball forwards effectively.
 

Kai Havertz had an early chance to put Chelsea 1-0 up however, after a Pablo Mari error, the 21-year-old German spooned his shot over the bar of Bernd Leno’s goal. 

Arsenal grew in confidence after Chelsea’s close call and, after some confident play in the midfield, the North London club pounced upon a horror mistake from Jorginho, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found teammate Emile Smith-Rowe who calmly placed the ball into the net to put the Gunners 1-0 up. 

Chelsea asserted dominance quickly after in a quest to rectify the mistake of their Italian teammate.

Rob Holding made a crucial block to deny Mason Mount inside the box and, soon after a crucial stop from Leno stopped Mount from levelling the score. 

The Blues ended the first period the more dominant side, pinning Arsenal back and threatening to break into the box on multiple occasions. 

Chelsea switched up their system at the half time period bringing on Callum Hudson-Odoi to replace Billy Gilmour. This change involved blues midfielder Mount dropping into a deeper role.

The second half kicked off and Arsenal were pinned back right from the offset. The Gunners sat back and looked to hit their South-West London rivals on the counter attack.

Chelsea thought they had doubled their lead in the 60th minute when Christian Pulisic chested home from just a matter of yards out However, after a VAR check, the American was deemed to be offside. 

Hector Bellerin was introduced to the action on the 64th minute replacing Arsenal’s Hale End Graduate Bukayo Saka and got involved straight away in a move the ended with the Spaniard shooting straight into the palms of Blues stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Arsenal’s former striker Olivier Giroud was also bought on to replace Kai Havertz.

A sweeping move from the Gunners in the 70th minute saw Kieran Tierney drive a low cross into the box which found Martin Odegaard who shot high and over the bar.
 

Arteta’s side struggled to get forward and create chances throughout the 90 minutes with the Gunners being pinned back for most of the fixture. 

Alex Lacazette joined the field with ten minutes of normal time remaining, taking over the captaincy from striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal faced a late barrage of shots from the Chelsea attack in the 90th minute of the tie.

The ball rebounded off the crossbar and post one after the other as Bernd Leno made yet another crucial stop to deny the Chelsea offensive. 

The Arsenal backline came under siege in the remaining six minutes of added time however, the Back five held firm end ensured the three points returned to north London. 

Fighting spirit from Smith-Rowe

Emile Smith-Rowe remained Arsenal’s main threat in this London derby. The 20-year-old Englishman scored the deciding goal in this tie, slotting home from close range centrally.
 

Smith-Rowe faught hard for his side and looked to take on his opposition on many opportunities.  

Smith-Rowe is in talks to extend his contract with the north London club as, The Athletic understands Arsenal have opened talks over a fresh deal with the attacking midfielder.

(The Athletic) 

Arsenal fans will want to ensure he puts pen to paper as soon as possible and their Hale End graduate remains a key component of their club for the future. 

Smith Rowe was delighted to get the three points and when questioned on the tie his reaction was: 

"We were tired at times but had to dig deep to get the three points".

(Sky Sports)

Two games remaining:

Arsenal round off their season with a trip to Selhurst Park before Brighton visit Emirates Stadium for their final tie of a season to forget.

Arteta will want to ensure that the Gunners win the remaining six points that are available to them to try and enhance the slim chances of them qualifying for Europe next season. 

VAVEL Logo