Arsenal players show they are still fighting for Mikel Arteta as resolute display frustrates Chelsea FC

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

It sums up the bizarre nature of Arsenal’s season that, after this win at Stamford Bridge, they have now done the double over Chelsea for the first time since 2004.

This was by no means a performance of that trademark ‘Invincibles’ team but it nonetheless was one that will have given satisfaction to Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal won it 1-0 in the end, with Emile Smith Rowe scoring after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had laid the ball back to him from six yards out.

It all came about from a horrendous back-pass from Jorginho, who had Kepa Arrizabalaga scrambling full stretch to keep it out. He managed to do so, but Arsenal still profited.

That summed up how luck was on Arsenal’s side at Stamford Bridge and it did not run out over the course of the 90 minutes. Chelsea twice hit the bar, Kai Havertz squandered a glorious one-on-one and Mason Mount was denied three times by a combination of defenders and Bernd Leno.

Arteta, however, will argue that you make your own luck and Arsenal certainly put in the effort to warrant theirs tonight.

This was a performance based on substance and not style, with the whole side grinding and grafting to secure the three points. It was by no means pretty, but it showed a level of fight and hunger that has been questioned recently - particularly after Arsenal were dumped out of the Europa League last week.

The players showed they are still fighting for Arteta, who is under pressure to deliver, and this was a performance from his first season's playbook - when Arsenal won the FA Cup.

The Gunners went to a back-three, opting to sit in and frustrate Chelsea in the hope of catching them on the counter.

In truth, there was little attacking threat, but the heart was there and that, more than anything else, should please Arteta.

Thomas joins the Partey

Arsenal fans have been waiting for a performance from Thomas Partey like this - and tonight they saw what all the fuss is about.

We have seen in patches how talented the midfielder is, namely at Manchester United in November, but those displays have been rare.

Against Chelsea, however the Ghanaian came to the party and that will give Arsenal hope going forward next season.

There was no shock he looked more solid with Arsenal lined up defensively. Against Villarreal, and at other times, Partey has been a one-man midfield - but against Chelsea he was flanked by the tireless Mohamed Elneny.

It is the same formula that worked at Old Trafford and it is clear Partey looks happier alongside him, as opposed to Dani Ceballos.

Arteta gives nod to future with team selection?

Arteta was vocal in the build-up to this match about the need for Arsenal to “evolve” this summer. An overhaul of their squad looks on the cards and, the team selection against Chelsea, seemed to suggest who will be staying around.

Nearly all of those in the starting XI, bar Martin Odegaard, should be here next season and those left on the bench could be on their way out. That included the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Hector Bellerin, who are two of the most senior players possibly facing an exit.

Those who started against Chelsea certainly bought into Arteta’s plan, executing it with hunger and work ethic.

Perhaps this was the Spaniard laying the foundations for next season?

Read More

Arsenal player ratings vs Chelsea: Emile Smith Rowe shines again but Bukayo Saka struggles at right wing-back

Chelsea FC 0-1 Arsenal LIVE! Smith Rowe goal - Premier League match stream, latest score updates today

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting