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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

Vaibhav Joshi
ANALYST
Modified 27 Dec 2020
Top 5 / Top 10
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#3 Arsenal’s youth rises to the occasion

Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were instrumental in Arsenal
Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were instrumental in Arsenal's 3-1 win

With Arsenal’s strikers struggling to find the back of the net in the Premier League this season, the lack of a creative attacking midfielder capable of creating scoring opportunities for them has been more pronounced than ever.

Mesut Ozil is seemingly frozen out of the squad completely and the new signing Willian is failing to make an impact in the role. Therefore, it was Emile Smith Rowe who was allowed to play in the number 10 role for Arsenal on Saturday.

The 20-year-old Englishman was joined in an extremely youthful attacking trio by 19-year-old pair Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, with Mikel Arteta’s options somewhat limited by injury and illness.

As it turned out, going with youth paid off handsomely for Arsenal. Their young attackers showed great energy and desire on the pitch, hurrying and harrying the Chelsea defense and forcing them into committing mistakes.

In fact, after Saka drew the foul that led to Arsenal’s second goal, he was set up for the third by Smith Rowe as the youngsters reaped rewards for their untiring efforts in the attacking third.

And so, with games coming thick and fast across all competitions, Mikel Arteta can take heart from the fact that he can count on his side's young guns to rise to the occasion when needed.


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#2 Away form now a real concern for Frank Lampard 

Defeat against Arsenal has left Lampard with much to ponder
Defeat against Arsenal has left Lampard with much to ponder

After showing encouraging away form at the start of the season, Chelsea’s performances on the road seem to have dipped dramatically in recent weeks.

This emphatic loss against Arsenal marked Chelsea’s third straight defeat on the road, coming after away losses against Everton and Wolves.

Even more worryingly for Frank Lampard, his side has struggled to find the net away from home during this time, despite playing a lot of excellent passing football.

In fact, even though they have struck the woodwork on a few occasions in these games, there has been a startling lack of shots on target for the Blues. It is surely an area they will be looking to address going forward if they are to mount a serious title challenge this season.


#1 Arsenal defense in need of serious reorganization

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Bernd Leno
Bernd Leno's late penalty save helped preserve Arsenal's lead

Although the much-improved performance against their local rivals will give the Arsenal faithful much to cheer about over the festive period, their defensive worries remain unaddressed.

Having succeeded in keeping the Chelsea attackers at bay for most of the game, Arsenal were good value for the 3-0 lead they had racked up before the hour mark and maintained going into the final few minutes.

However, after non-stop pressure, the Blues pulled one back in the 85th minute. The Arsenal defense then seemed to buckle significantly under pressure as they allowed their opponents a glimmer of hope.

And, as Chelsea were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute after Pablo Mari’s clumsy tackle on Mason Mount, the momentum was well and truly on the side of the visitors as they searched desperately to get back on level terms.

As it turned out, Jorginho’s tame spot-kick was saved by Bernd Leno to save Mari’s blushes and calm a few nerves in the Arsenal camp. The Gunners then saw the game out and claimed three crucial points.

As such, while Mikel Arteta and his men are to be commended for raising their game for this crunch encounter, they would do well to pay heed to the warning signs and place an increased emphasis on defensive solidity going forward.

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Published 27 Dec 2020, 06:17 IST
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