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Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea: 5 Talking Points as under-fire Gunners make a timely return to winning ways | Premier League 2020-21

Arsenal claimed a well-deserved 3-1 win over Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday
Arsenal claimed a well-deserved 3-1 win over Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday
Vaibhav Joshi
ANALYST
Modified 27 Dec 2020, 06:17 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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A much-improved performance saw Arsenal put an end to their winless run in the Premier League on Saturday, as they ran out 3-1 winners against local rivals Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.

The home side withstood early pressure from the visitors in the first half before Alexandre Lacazette’s 34th-minute penalty broke the deadlock. The Frenchman's goal was added to by a fantastic free-kick from Granit Xhaka just before half time to send the Gunners into the break with a 2-0 lead.

Bukayo Saka then added a third for the home side in the 56th minute with a fortuitous cross-turned-shot. His effort looped over Edouard Mendy in the Chelsea goal as the Gunners looked to be out of sight before the hour mark.

Tammy Abraham’s 85th-minute goal was the catalyst for a nervy finish that saw Bernd Leno save a penalty from Jorginho in stoppage time. However, Arsenal closed out the game to claim three vital points.

Arsenal’s win saw them move up one place to 14th in the table as it stands. Meanwhile, it condemned Chelsea to their third defeat in four games, with the Blues currently in sixth.

And so, as Arsenal claimed the three points and bragging rights in the London derby. Here are the five major talking points from an exciting game at the Emirates.


#5 Arsenal struck by pre-match illness blows

Gabriel was one of three first-team regulars rendered unavailable before the game
Gabriel was one of three first-team regulars rendered unavailable before the game
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Coming into this game without a Premier League win in nearly two months, Arsenal’s pre-match preparation took another hit. Three first-team players dropped out of the matchday squad due to illness.

First-choice centre-back Gabriel was forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with a person who was found be to COVID-19 positive. Meanwhile, former Chelsea duo David Luiz and Willian were unwell but had recently tested negative for the virus.

With the Brazilian trio, all of whom had been regular starters this season, out of the picture, Mikel Arteta was forced to make eight changes from the midweek loss to Manchester City. These including recalls for the likes of Pablo Mari and Xhaka, who was back from a three-match suspension for Arsenal.

Additionally, star striker and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was only fit enough for a place on the Arsenal bench after missing the last couple of fixtures with a calf injury.

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In contrast, Chelsea had no new injury or illness concerns to contend with. Lampard even named Ben Chilwell in the starting lineup after the left-back went off 10 minutes into their 3-0 win over West Ham last weekend.


#4 Chelsea’s new attackers continue to struggle

Another disappointing outing for Chelsea summer signing Timo Werner
Another disappointing outing for Chelsea summer signing Timo Werner

After an extremely busy summer transfer window, Chelsea welcomed a whole host of new faces into their ranks as Frank Lampard looks to take his side to the next level.

Unfortunately for Lampard and Chelsea, it is only their defensive signings that have made a positive impact on the side recently. Their new attackers continued to struggle to come to terms with the physicality of the Premier League against Arsenal.

Edouard Mendy and Thiago Silva consistently impress in goal and defense respectively, but the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Hakim Ziyech are yet to really come into their own.

While Ziyech has struggled with injury since making the move to London, the high-scoring German duo of Werner and Havertz have struggled to find their shooting boots in the league.

Against Arsenal, Werner started on the left-wing for Chelsea and struggled to form a partnership with Tammy Abraham, with the duo failing to find each other on multiple occasions. 

In addition to misplaced passes and poor touches in front of goal, Werner’s performance also featured wayward shooting. Meanwhile, Havertz had to make do with a place on the bench for the second Premier League game running and made little impact after he was brought on.

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Published 27 Dec 2020, 06:17 IST
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