Chelsea’s top four hopes were dealt a blow as Emile Smith Rowe’s early goal gave Arsenal a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Kai Havertz was handed a glorious opportunity to open the scoring early on as he nicked the ball from Pablo Mari just inside the Arsenal half, though the German international fired over with just compatriot Bernd Leno to beat.
Chelsea were immediately made to regret the miss as Jorginho’s back pass almost caught Kepa Arrizabalaga off guard, yet despite the Spaniard’s impressive reactions he could only spoon the ball out to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who laid it on a plate for Smith-Rowe to tap home.
The Blues thought they’d equalised midway through the second half but Christian Pulisic’s effort was disallowed for offside, before Leno produced a fantastic save in injury time to ensure it would be Arsenal who took all three points.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – 6/10 – Did well to prevent Jorginho from putting through his own net but nothing he could do about the follow up from Smith Rowe.
Cesar Azpilicueta (CB) – 5/10 – Certainly no lack of effort from the Spaniard but was given the runaround at times by Arsenal’s forwards. Withdrawn as Chelsea went in search of an equaliser.
Thiago Silva (CB) – 6/10 – Will probably have sleepless night after being nutmegged by Smith Rowe. Sat at the heart of the defence and was decent in possession.
Kurt Zouma (CB) – 5/10 – Took a shot from all of 35 yards which landed somewhere near Sheffield. Pretty much summed up his night.
Reece James (RWB) – 6/10 – Full of energy all game but Chelsea’s wing-backs were nowhere near as effective as they usually are. Put in some good deliveries after Olivier Giroud was brought on but the Frenchman failed to make the most of them.
Billy Gilmour (CM) – 4/10 – Really struggled to impact the game in the midfield. Found himself being overrun at times and was given a bit of a lesson if we’re honest.
Jorginho (CM) – 5/10 – Produced a calamitous back pass that ultimately caused his side to fall behind. Still, at least he did something more noteworthy than stand in the centre circle all game keeping things ‘ticking over’. *Yawn*
Ben Chilwell (LWB) – 6/10 – Offered plenty of running down the Chelsea left with little in the way of an end product.
Christian Pulisic (RW) – 5/10 – Thought he’d equalised but was denied by the offside flag. Has struggled for consistency throughout his Chelsea career and this was another off-day.
Kai Havertz (ST) – 5/10 – Really should have given his side the lead but showed a real lack of composure when through on goal. Plenty of running but not much else.
Mason Mount (LW) – 6/10 – Desperately unlucky not to open Chelsea’s account for the night but was denied by a solid block. Clearly pinpointed by the Arsenal backline as the dangerman and was crowded out on a number of occasions.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (RW) – 6/10
Olivier Giroud (ST) – 5/10
Hakim Ziyech (RW) – 6/10
Bernd Leno (GK) – 7/10 – Not given the busy evening he would have been anticipating. Pulled off a fantastic save in the closing stages to ensure his side grabbed the win.
Rob Holding (RB) – 7/10 – Was a key part of the Gunners’ backline as Chelsea began to throw balls into the box following Giroud’s arrival.
Pablo Mari (CB) – 6/10 – Had an absolute nightmare trying to be clever early on and nearly cost his side a goal. Regained his composure and was impressive in the latter stages as the home side pushed forward.
Gabriel (CB) – 7/10 – Won a number of key headers against the team who’ve scored the most Premier League goals from corners this season.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – 6/10 – Maybe still searching for a bit of match fitness and didn’t show as much endeavour to get forward as usual, but a good defensive display.
Mohamed Elneny (CM) – 6/10 – Did a lot of good defensive work for the team. Was a little wayward with some of his passing but a decent display overall.
Thomas Partey (CM) – 7/10 – Looked much better than he has done for large spells of his Arsenal career to date. Played on the front foot and helped break the lines with some progressive pasing.
Emile Smith Rowe (AM) – 8/10 – Picked up pockets of space and played on the half-turn all game. Did well to support the attack and got his reward with another Premier League goal.
Martin Odegaard (RW) – 6/10 – Looked good in little bursts but once again couldn’t really get a grip on the game like Arsenal would have expected him to when they secured his loan signing.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) – 6/10 – Grabbed himself an assist having picked out Smith Rowe for the opener but struggled with the pace of the game at times. Clearly unhappy at being withdrawn late on.
Bukayo Saka (LW) – 6/10 – Not as much of a llivewire as we’ve become used to but still worked hard on the Gunners left.
Hector Bellerin (RB) – 7/10
Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – 6/10
Calum Chambers (RB) – N/A