The Warmdown: Arsenal back to winning ways at Stamford Bridge
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 20: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-2 during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on April 20, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)

Arsenal were the victors in the latest London Derby, with academy products Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka all getting on the scoresheet.

The result meant the Gunners pulled level on points with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, setting up a thrilling North London Derby in May. 

Mikel Arteta's side have seen their recent form dip, suffering losses on the road to Crystal Palace and Southampton, as well as a home defeat to Brighton.

Chelsea, who booked their place in the FA Cup final on the weekend, remain in third place with a gap of five points over Spurs and Arsenal.

All four of Arsenal's goals were scored by products of the Hale End academy, with Nketiah bagging a brace, as well as the Gunners two top scorers Smith Rowe and Saka both chipping in with goals.

Striker Nketiah, who was released by Chelsea as an under 14 player, came back to haunt his former club, benefiting from a loose Andreas Christensen back pass for his and Arsenal's first goal, before poking the ball into the back of the net from inside the penalty area to score another in the second half.

The 22-year-old has mainly been restricted from appearances off the bench and in cup competitions, but with Alexandre Lacazette in poor form and only just recovering from Covid-19, the young striker has certainly given Arteta plenty to think about.

With his contract running out at the end of the season, Nketiah's future is still unknown, but after Wednesday's performance he has certainly put himself in the shop window.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 20: <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2021/12/04/arsenal/1095027-is-nicolas-pepes-arsenal-career-finished.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2021/12/04/arsenal/1095027-is-nicolas-pepes-arsenal-career-finished.html'>Eddie Nketiah</a></strong> scores the 3rd Arsenal goal during the <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2022/03/26/arsenal/1106465-who-is-darwin-nunez-a-look-at-arsenals-potential-next-striker.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2022/03/26/arsenal/1106465-who-is-darwin-nunez-a-look-at-arsenals-potential-next-striker.html'>Premier League</a></strong> match between Chelsea and Arsenal at <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2022/04/20/premier-league/1109132-chelsea-2-4-arsenal-nketiah-brace-powers-gunners-to-victory-in-thrilling-london-derby.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2022/04/20/premier-league/1109132-chelsea-2-4-arsenal-nketiah-brace-powers-gunners-to-victory-in-thrilling-london-derby.html'>Stamford Bridge</a></strong> on April 20, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2022/03/16/arsenal/1105375-arsenal-0-2-liverpool-jota-and-firmino-resign-gunners-to-first-loss-in-six-games.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2022/03/16/arsenal/1105375-arsenal-0-2-liverpool-jota-and-firmino-resign-gunners-to-first-loss-in-six-games.html'>Getty Images</a></strong>)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 20: Eddie Nketiah scores the 3rd Arsenal goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on April 20, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
 

 

 

Smith Rowe and Saka both showed why they have been two of Arsenal's best players this season, with Smith Rowe scoring a sublime drilled effort from outside the box in the first half, and Saka converting a late penalty to secure all three points.

Their goals take the two England stars up to 10 Premier League goals each this season.

The Gunners bench was also full of plenty of exciting prospects from the academy with Miguel Azeez, Omari Giraud-Hutchinson, and Zak Swanson all making the match day squad.

  • Back on track 

The Gunners have endured a dismal run of form coming into this game, losing three on the bounce in games that on paper they should have won. 

Patrick Vieira got one on over on his former side when Crystal Palace ran out 3-0 winners at Selhurst Park, with a 2-1 loss at home to Brighton and a narrow 1-0 away loss to Southampton following. 

As a result Arsenal looked as though they had shot themselves in the foot in regards to the top four race, and were looking down the barrel with games against Chelsea, Manchester United, West Ham and Tottenham awaiting them.

Arteta's young side were able to put in a great performance against the European Champions at Stamford Bridge, with their first win against any of the top three this season.

  • What's next?

The race for the top four is beginning to heat up at the summit of the table, with the battle now consisting of four teams, all of which Arsenal are set to play in the next month. 

On Saturday they face an out of form Manchester United team who are coming off the back of a 4-0 thrashing at Anfield, but the Red Devils still present a tough task for the Gunners to overcome. 

Two London derbies then follow, with a home game against Leeds United in-between, all three of which are vitally important to each team.

West Ham are outsiders to place in the top four, but Tottenham currently appear in the drivers seat, with the result of the North London Derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium potentially being the decider for the all important fourth spot.

Leeds are also fighting for their Premier League survival down at the bottom half of the table, and under Jesse Marsch look like a completely revitalised side.

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