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Smith Rowe scores after Jorginho blunder
Chelsea squander chances and twice hit the bar
Arsenal do the double over Chelsea
If ever there was a reminder for Chelsea that there is still work to do to make sure this season finishes spectacularly, then this was it as Thomas Tuchel’s team were brought back down to earth with a bump.
On the back of the Champions League success over Real Madrid and the Premier League victory against Manchester City, Chelsea could have been forgiven for feeling pretty much unbeatable.
But Chelsea proved that, regardless of the opposition, they remain capable of beating themselves, as they gifted Arsenal a winner, missed chance after chance and twice hit the bar in time added on for stoppages.
Emile Smith Rowe took advantage of a Jorginho blunder and after that Arsenal sat back and hoped for the best. The fact they got away with it, to secure a first League double over Chelsea since 2003/04, deeply frustrated head coach Tuchel, who regretted making seven changes from the team that had beaten City.
“It is not a deserved win not at all for Arsenal, but we lacked concentration and focus, and that is very unusual and maybe I gave some signals with my changes that Saturday [the FA Cup final] is on my mind, even one per cent,” said Tuchel. “This is not how we approach things, but you get punished.”
Fortunately for Chelsea, a top-four finish remains in their hands, but Tuchel knows his team will have to be far more clinical and hope their luck returns in their remaining two League games and the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
“I don't need these things to wake up to know how hard it is, I don't need to lose to know this,” added Tuchel. “Now everybody is awake again."
Credit must go to Arsenal for their effort and in particular for the performances of goalkeeper Bernd Leno – who produced a superb late save – and defender Rob Holding.
"We had good organisation, moments when you come here against Thomas Tuchel you will suffer, it's not realistic to come here and think you will play them off the park,” said Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta. “The attitude of the boys and the team was extraordinary.”
Kepa Arrizabalaga’s inclusion was one of the changes made by Tuchel, with an eye on making sure the goalkeeper is ready for Chelsea’s FA Cup final against Leicester City, which the German confirmed he will start.
Kepa has played in all of the previous rounds of the competition for Chelsea, but his five-game run without conceding a goal under Tuchel quickly came to an end on Wednesday night.
At least the Spaniard could not be blamed for the goal, as it was his team-mate Jorginho who gifted Arsenal a 16th-minute lead.
Receiving the ball from Kurt Zouma, Jorginho looked to have the simplest of tasks to pass it back to Kepa, who was standing to the left of his goal.
But Jorginho inexplicably played the ball straight towards the middle of the net. Kepa did well to prevent an own goal, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was first to the ball and he set up Smith Rowe to score.
Chelsea had missed a golden opportunity of their own thanks to another defensive error, this time from Arsenal, a few minutes before falling behind.
Pablo Mari failed to control the ball properly 30 yards from his own goal, allowing Kai Havertz to nip in and run clear at Leno but the German lifted his shot over the Arsenal goalkeeper and the crossbar.
Chelsea responded well to their setback and twice went close to equalising through Mason Mount, who was stopped by Holding, who Tuchel thought had blocked with his hand in the penalty area, and then Leno.
Christian Pulisic was disappointed with himself for heading over from inside the six-yard box before Mohamed Elneny rescued the visitors by producing a goal-saving tackle on Mount.
History was not on Chelsea’s side as they looked to turnaround the scoreline in the second half. Ahead of this game, Chelsea had lost each of their eight home games when trailing at the break and that figure is now up to nine.
Tuchel’s team had the ball in the net just after the hour mark, when a high corner was headed on and then turned into the net at the back post by Pulisic. But the Video Assistant Referee showed that the American had been a good yard offside and the goal was correctly disallowed.
Substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi wasted a great opportunity by over-hitting a cross after getting behind the Arsenal defence, before both coaches made a change. Arteta tried to shore up his defence by replacing Bukayo Saka with Hector Bellerin, while Olivier Giroud was sent on in place of Havertz for Chelsea.
Giroud scuffed his first shot horribly wide and there was a warning for Chelsea with just under 20 minutes remaining when Kieran Tierney emerged free down the left and picked out Martin Odegaard, but he failed to hit the target.
Pulisic could not convert from Hudson-Odoi’s cross before the last-gasp drama in which Chelsea twice struck the bar. Leno produced an outstanding save to tip Zouma’s header on to the bar and then Giroud also struck the bar with his follow-up volley.
Arsenal have run their socks off to earn a critical victory. Shades of one-nil to the Arsenal, of the 1993-94 Cup Winners' Cup run with real diligence and tenacity. They were made a gift of the goal but rolled their sleeves up and dug deep. Chelsea were very disappointing, too much foreplay, not enough [insert own verb here].
90+7 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Leno punches a couple of times and Pulisic shoots, which is deflected out for a corner. Gabriel heads it out. Back comes James to cross, Gabriel heads it back across goal and Jorginho slices an effort from five yards wide.
90+5 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
They defend it well and push the ball up to halfway. They break from the second ball back into the box, Smith Rowe wins it and plays it up to Lacazette who slips Thomas through up the inside left. He doesn't have the pace to burn off his pursuers but does go down in the box after taking it to the left. The ref books him for diving unjustly, I think. His heel was clipped.
90+2 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Six minutes of injury time have been signalled. All hands to the pump for Arsenal as Chelsea have a corner on the right.
90 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Arsenal twice saved by the bar in seconds as they cling on by their fingernails and the aerial bombardment is launched. the first effort was from Zouma with a 16-yard header that Leno tips on to thecrossbar and Giroud steps out to the right to hook a right-foot volley from a tight angle into the middle of the woodwork.
89 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Tierney thwarts Pulisic as he bombs down the right and hacks his cross out for a corner. Mount takes and Odegaard boots clear.
87 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Giroud turns in the centre-circle and slips a pass down the left for Hudson-Odoi. He takes it 20 yards down the flank and then centres, just in front of Pulisic who slides in to tray and shoot bit cannot connect properly. Bellerin can't continue and Arsenal send on Chambers, their third RWB of the night.
85 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Arsenal down to 10 men for the corner but Lacazette heads it clear at the near post and Bellerin gingerly jogs back on.
83 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Good tackle from Bellerin hooks the ball out for a corner after Hudson-Odoi switched wings and was trying to reach Ziyech's lofted, curling diagonal. He injures himself in the process.
81 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Header in the box from Giroud on the end of James' cross but he glances it wide.
79 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Final Chelsea sub: Ziyech comes on for Azpilicueta.
Both captains depart: Aubameyang exits and Lacazette replaces him.
77 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Good spell for Arsenal in terms of possession and holding Chelsea at bay by pushing them up the pitch rather than packing the defence.
74 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Nice run from Smith Rowe on the left, slinking between Azpilicueta, James and then nutmegs Thiago Silva but none of them take a bite at him and risk a penalty and the ball just runs too far ahead before he can shoot.
72 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Poor effort from Odegaard when he is picked out by Tierney's cross on the run. It arcs to the right of the D from the left wing and Odegaard meets it with his left and spanks a riser high into the first tier of the empty seats.
70 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Oh dear. A pair of terrible shots from Zouma, which draws Tuchel's ire, and Giroud after Elneny was robbed. The World Cup-winning centre-forward was 20 yards out and somehow managed to swipe it with the outside of his left foot which sent it towards the corner flag.
67 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Neat move from Arsenal to work a shot for Bellerin on the right after Gabriel sends Tierney down the left. The great Scot whips over a cross that Bellerin kills with a velvety touch to pass to Odegaard down the inside right. The shot was on, albeit from an angle of about 45 degrees to the left post, but he backheeled to Bellerin who was surprised to receive it and scuffed his shot at Kepa.
65 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
And for Chelsea Giroud comes on for Saka.
64 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Bellerin replaces Saka.
62 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Bellerin is stripped and ready to come on. Meanwhile Chelsea probe up the right, switch infield and drill a long pass up the left of centre for Chilwell but it's too heavy and Arsenal have a goalkic. Leno takes his time over it.
Pulisuc was offside when he turned in the knockdown from the left wing corner at the back post.
Chelsea 1 Arsenal 1 (Pulisic) Looks offside.
60 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Tierney injured momentarily when Hudson-Odoi raps him on the knee. After some treatment he resumes.
58 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Good chance at the near post when James whips over a dangerous cross but Havertz just swung his leg at it rather than really throwing himself at it and really attacking it. Leno gathers.
56 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Mount comes a cropper in the box when challenged by Gabriel and appeals for a penalty. Some contact but Mount, special talent no doubt, went down like a bag of hammers.
55 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Chelsea commit players into the box in anticipation of Hudson-Odoi finding one of them. But inexplicably he takes on the shot from 25 yards and scoops it over the bar.
53 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Big scramble in the Arsenal box after a Pulisic corner. Plenty of swings at shots and blocks and Arsenal manage to push them out of the box but then let them come back ... again.
51 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
James slips hitting a 30-yard back-pass and puts far more weight and height on it than he intended. Kepa has to take it on his chest before playing out.
49 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Chelsea have big overloads down the right with Hudson-Odoi joining James and Azpilicueta but unless they can work better crosses into the box, they won't exploit all that hard running and numerical advantage.
47 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Havertz appeals for a penalty after he took James low cross, hit with hardly any backlift, on his instep with his back to goal and spun. The ball ran too far ahead of him and as he tried to force himself in front of Gabriel their legs got tangled. Computer and VAR says no.
46 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Hudson-Odoi has come on for Gilmour. Mount drops back into midfield and the formation remains the same.
Half-time Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Smash and grab with an inside man in Jorginho for Arsenal. They've defended with guts, skill and luck since them as Chelsea's intricate passing and probing is strangled by the lack of space when 10 sometimes 11 men get behind the ball. Might be a game to chuck Olivier Giroud, go to a back four and put Hudson-Odoi on up the right.
45 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Just a minute to be added on. Arsenal are in full catenaccio mode at the moment but at last make a conceretd break with Aubameyang, Tierney and Smith Rowe. Tierney, for once, is played down the left but his cross is kicked out for a throw-in.
43 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Tierney again is the furthest forward Arsenal player when they win back possession but his runs comes to nothing because the pass doesn't come.
41 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Arsenal just can't string more than two passes together before conceding possession. There are moments when Tierney and Saka make the runs but no one seems aware of them or how to find them when they belatedly shout their whereabouts.
39 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Arsenal have 10 men behind the ball as Azplicueta and James try to bludgeon a whole in the massed defence down the right but a Chelsea handball, after close-quarter combat, ends the attack and Arsenal can have a breather.
37 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Mistake from Saka in his own box. He has the ball at the byline and thinks he can diddle Chilwell with a turn and then bomb away but he was too close to the left-back who nicks it off him and pokes it up to Mount whose shot is blocked out for a corner, which Arsenal defend scruffily but without immediate damage.
34 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Brief interlude for Arsenal in the Chelsea half ends with a misunderstanding between Saka and Odegaard. The Real Madrid loaneed thought Saka was going to make a very challenging run down the right and laced it 30 yards. Usain Bolt wouldn't have caught it before it went out for a goalkick. They exchange Paddington Bear stares.
32 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Zouma leaps highest at the back-post from Jorginho's corner but Pablo Mari does enough to give him too little leverage to do anything other than loop a header towards Leno.
30 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
It's all Chelsea in terms of possession and territory. Arsenal's retreat has at least squeezed the space but Chelsea are backing themselves to go through or, on this occasion, over the defence. Holding knocks it behind for a corner rather than risk Gilmour and Mount being able to get a cross in.
28 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Arsenal are sitting very deep now, 11 men in their own half and inviting pressure. Leno is forced into action when Gilmour passes to Havertz who takes it to the left edge of the D then slips in Mount to his left. He opens his body to spear a left foot shot with his instep that the goalie pushes away.
25 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Jorginho's long, curling right-foot cross from the left balloons over Pulisic and out for a goalkick.
23 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Excellent block from Holding in the Arsenal area from Mount's side-foot volley after nifty footwork from Pulisic down the right to pull it back. The chance had been set up by Azpilicueta's long run to the edge of the area and cute pass to Pulisic.
21 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Chelsea are passing it around the back, the very high positioning of Arsenal's wing-backs meaning they can't play it out as easily as they'd like. Hence the long ball from Zouma, perhaps the least reliable of the long-passers, intended for Havertz that Pablo Mari easily picks off.
19 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Congestion in the Arsenal box when Chelsea were on the attack and both Mount and Havertz wanted to use the inside-left channel at the same time and got in each other's road.
17 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Mistake from Jorginho who plays a no-look backpass, expecting Kepa to be standing in the middle of his goal but he was out to the left, making an angle. The ball races towards the line and would have been an own goal but for Kepa's scramble across, dive and tenacity to claw it off the goalline out to the right of the six-yard area. Aubameyang gobbled it up, isolated Thiago Silva with a cut-back and left Smith Rowe with a tap-in, which he scuffed in off the post, not that it mattered, to give Arsenal the lead.
Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1 (Smith Rowe)
13 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 0
Arsenal have a corner on the left which they make a mess of, but have a second chance when Saka intercepts and picks out Holding who has stayed up but his long cross is far too heavy and flies over the box.
11 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 0
Oh my! What a miss. Havertz surprises Pablo Mari in the centre-circle with a smart interception. He toes it away and he's clean through on goal, accelerating away from the centre-back. Out comes Leno and Haversz arrows a left-foot shot over him and over the bar! Should have scored.
8 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 0
Odegaard also drops back deep in alongside Thomas to work the ball across to the left and Arsenal seek out Aubameyang who was offside. More precision required with the timing.
7 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 0
Neat left-side triangle between Zouma, Chilwell and Pulisic after dispossessing Thomas Partey. Pulisic takes it into the area and pulls back a pass for Mount who puts his laces through an angled daisy-cutting shot that Leno saves easily.
5 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 0
The wider of the centre-backs for Arsenal, are spreading very wide indeed and Elneny drops back into the middle. Pulisic dinks a 10-yard pass up the right for James to chase into the corner and he uses Tierney's shinpads as rebounders to earn a throw-in.
3 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 0
Arsenal seem to be playing long balls up the flanks as the cornerstone of their strategy. Holding sends one up the right for Aubameyang to chase but the ball skips out for a throw-in.
1 min Chelsea 0 Arsenal 0
Both teams in their home kits and after taking the knee, Arsenal kick off, attacking from left to right. Mari, playing in the middle, passes it Gabriel who knocks it up the left for Tierney to chase. Saka is playing at right wing-back.
Mikel Arteta speaks
[Chelsea] have been extraordinary in the last few months, in terms of results and performances, and it is always tough to come here. But we know what we have to do to beat them.
We have to be 120 percent of our level, individually and collectively. If we do that, we have a chance to win the game.
We need to lift our heads and show we care, and give this club and the fans the finish to the season they deserve
My mate Jeremy Docteur thinks Arsenal will match Chelsea's formation thus
Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Pablo Mari; Saka, Thomas, Elneny, Tierney; Odegaard, Smith-Rowe; Aubameyang.
Your teams in black and white
Chelsea Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Zouma; James, Gilmour, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz.
Substitutes Mendy, Alonso, Werner, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Emerson, Anjorin, Livramento.
Arsenal Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Pablo Mari, Tierney; Thomas, Elneny; Saka, Odegaard, Smith-Rowe, Aubameyang.
Substitutes Ryan, Bellerin, Ceballos, Lacazette, Willian, Cedric, Pepe, Chambers, Martinelli.
Referee Andre Marriner (Sheldon).
Five changes for Arsenal
Don't believe a word they say. Thiago Silva, far from being rested for Saturday as Tuchel said yesterday, is starting:
It's only nine months since this was the FA Cup final (which makes Arsenal, because of Covid pushing it back to August 2020, the shortest Cup-holders in history by contrast with Portsmouth, winners in 1939, who held it for seven years). How different things looked back then, Arsenal, after a few hiccups under new manager Mikel Arteta, were on the up; Chelsea, with Frank Lampard after a decent first season, seemed to have hit a ceiling which took another five months to provoke the owner into taking drastic action.
Now we have Arsenal, a Super League club, in ninth while their fellow ESL renegades, after biting the bullet with the manager, have a firm hold on fourth place plus FA Cup and Champions League finals to come. Arsenal have a truly terrible record at Stamford Bridge, too, not having won there since the 5-3 in 2011 when Andre Santos, of all people, scored and Robin van Persie bagged a hat-trick. Nothing - form, history, quality, cohesion - bodes well for Arsenal tonight but stranger things have happened and if they could pull it off it would be just the tonic needed to go into summer with a bold plan of action.
At yesterday's press conference Thomas Tuchel ruled out Mateo Kovacic and Andreas Christensen but hopes both will be in contention for Saturday at Wembley. He also confirmed that Thiago Silva will be rested for the finals ahead.
Arsenal will test the fitness of Pablo Mari and Granit Xhaka before announcing the team and reports suggest there will be recalls for all or some of Martin Odegaard, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Thomas and Kieran Tierney.
Join us for the team news at 7.15pm.