Arsenal may have won only 1-0 at the Bridge, but this was a dominant performance from the Gunners and the scoreline flattered Chelsea. Three points sent Arteta’s side back above Manchester City to the top of the table, as they outfought and outplayed Chelsea, who looked like a team in transition.
The same used to be said about Arsenal, but not now. After years of building, Arteta’s project finally appears to be taking off and this was another statement win. Arsenal players celebrated wildly at full-time, with many taking their shirts off and dancing in the rain in front of the away fans. Those celebrations continued in the dressing room and Arteta could do little to hide his delight afterwards.
When asked whether Arsenal were now in contention for the title, Arteta said: “We are today. But in football, today and tomorrow is very different, so let’s enjoy tonight.
“It’s another step as a team, to come here against a top opponent, top manager, top, world-class players around the pitch, and dominate the game and actually win it. It’s very meaningful and hopefully will give the boys more belief. I think the boys were phenomenal today.”
This was Arsenal’s third victory in a row at Chelsea under Arteta, but they have never won like this. In both of their previous two victories, Arsenal had just 32 per cent possession as they tried to keep things tight and hit Chelsea on the break. Yesterday, however, was a different story and Arteta’s side finished with 56 per cent possession. At half-time, they had just over 60 per cent.
“We controlled the game,” said Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard. “This is the way we want to play. Also, away from home, to be able to control these games and be the more dominant team.”
Arsenal’s dominance stemmed from Odegaard and his fellow midfielders, with Thomas Partey particularly impressive. The Ghana international dictated the tempo of the game as the Chelsea midfield of Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were overrun.
NOTHING PERSONAL .. LONDON IS RED ❤️
— Gabriel Magalhaes (@biel_m04) November 6, 2022
Defensively Arsenal excelled, too. All the talk before this game had been about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returning to haunt his old club, but he managed just eight touches before being hooked around the hour mark. Gabriel, and especially William Saliba, marshalled Aubameyang superbly and the Brazilian could not resist a little jibe on social media afterwards.
“NOTHING PERSONAL…LONDON IS RED,” Gabriel tweeted, in reference to Aubameyang’s promotional video for BT Sport ahead of the game.
The only frustration for Arsenal will have been that they did not win by more goals, given they had 14 shots on goal. Gabriel Jesus’s goal drought is now at nine games after he failed to turn home Gabriel Martinelli’s cross in the first half, while Odegaard should have made it 2-0 late on when through on goal.
In the end, it did not matter and that was largely due to the way Arsenal battled and defended. That started from the front and they won the ball back 16 times in Chelsea’s final third yesterday, which is more than they have in any other game this season.
After years of building, Arteta’s project finally appears to be taking off and this was another statement win
Jesus may have not scored, but he led from the front. The striker stole the ball off Thiago Silva outside his own box, winning the corner from which Gabriel scored.
That level of aggression has been lacking in recent Arsenal teams, who have been accused of being soft. This side have shunned that tag, though, as was demonstrated from the way they dug in for the final 30 minutes after taking the lead. That, just as much as the way Arsenal controlled possession, will give Arteta belief going forward that his side can achieve something special this season.