Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal: Champions hold out to stalemate against London rivals

Chelsea held on to a 0-0 draw at home against a confident Arsenal side

Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal: Champions hold out to stalemate against London rivals
David Luiz was given his marching orders three minutes before fulltime (Photo credit: Getty Images)
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Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kanté, Fàbregas, Alonso; Willian (Hazard, 69th min), Morata (Christensen, 90th min), Pedro (Bakayoko, 45th min)
Arsenal: Čech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerín, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolašinac; Iwobi (Elneny, 80th min), Lacazette (Sánchez, 65th min), Welbeck (Giroud, 72nd min)
SCORE: 0-0
REFEREE: Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG) Booked: Luiz (51st min), Morata (65th min), Elneny (84th min), Kolašinac (90th min), Bellerín (90th min) Sent off: Luiz (87th min)
INCIDENTS: Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal

Arsenal held on to a brave 0-0 draw away to the Premier League champions Chelsea in a thrilling encounter at Stambridge Road.

Aaron Ramsey had the best chance of the game, when the Welsh midfielder hit the post five minutes from halftime, and Alexandre Lacazette’s rebound with the goal gapping flew high over the bar.

David Luiz was sent off with three minutes to go, when the Brazilian defender flew in on Sead Kolašinac in front of the dugout. Despite already being on a yellow card, Michael Oliver dished out a straight red card to Luiz.

An unusual start

The opening ten minutes was as predictable as any fan could have guess. Chelsea dominated in possession and looked destined to score early due to the lack of structure in the Arsenal squad, but the hosts were wasteful, and saw many chances pass their way due to either a misplaced pass or a run from Álvaro Morata that was just too early.

Arsenal’s performance in the opening half had echoes of their first half display against the Premier League champions in the FA Cup final, were the Gunners frustrated their opposition early on, and looked to counter quickly after a slip up from a Chelsea player. However at Stamford Bridge, mistakes from the home side to give away possession were a rare occurrence.

Arsenal could had taken the lead twice in the 15th minute, when Danny Welbeck’s header from a Héctor Bellerín cross flew just wide of the post, and a second Bellerin cross found the feet of Lacazette, however his strike from close range was smothered by Thibaut Courtois.

A burst of life

The game had now burst into life, and Chelsea knew they had to react fast to get their footing back into the game. And they almost took the lead out of nowhere, as Pedro was played in one-on-one with Petr Čech after a fantastic pass from Cesc Fàbregas, however the winger’s effort was blocked by the Arsenal keeper.

Arsenal, though, remained the more confident side. Arsène Wenger’s side looked comfortable on the ball, and this confidence led to the best chance of the half, as in the 40th minute, Ramsey glided his way through the Chelsea defence and curled an effort from close range, but his strike smacked off the inside of the post, and Lacazette’s follow up shot sailed over the bar.

A quiet second half

The second half consisted of mostly of what was offered in the first half. End-to-end action with both sides going at it to try and get the opening goal. However, neither keeper was tested in the opening 10 minutes of the half.

Wenger added attacking reinforcements to the Arsenal attack when the Frenchman introduced Alexis Sánchez to the fold with 25 minutes to go, replacing Lacazette. Antonio Conte also saw fit to introduce his best winger into the game, as Eden Hazard came on for Willian.

The Gunners were forced into another change 72 minutes in, when Welbeck pulled up after a tussle with Luiz with what appeared to be a groin injury. Olivier Giroud replaced the former Manchester United striker. 

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Late drama

Shkodran Mustafi thought he had put the Gunners ahead on the 75th minute mark, when a whipped in free kick from Granit Xhaka found the head of the German defender, and Mustafi placed the ball into the back of the net. However, the flag had been raised, and the goal was ruled out for offside.

Chelsea were reduced to 10 men with three minutes of normal time to go, when Luiz received a straight card for a harsh tackle on Kolašinac. However, despite the extra man, Arsenal were unable to capitalise, and the game ended in a stalemate.