Five-star Arsenal thrash Chelsea to go three points clear

Daily News
12 Min Read
Five-star Arsenal thrash Chelsea to go three points clear

Arsenal provided a major statement about their title credentials as they thrashed Chelsea 5-0 at the Emirates Stadium to move three points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

Kai Havertz and Ben White scored twice each in a rampant second-half performance from Mikel Arteta’s side after Leandro Trossard had struck an early opener in an end-to-end first period.

The emphatic victory, coming just three days after they bounced back from losses to Aston Villa and Bayern Munich with a 2-0 win at Wolves, gives Arsenal a three-point cushion on Liverpool in second and puts them four clear of champions Manchester City in third.

The title-race spotlight now turns to Liverpool, who face Merseyside rivals Everton at Goodison Park, live on Sky Sports on Wednesday, before City play the first of their two games in hand away to Brighton, also live on Sky Sports on Thursday.

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Sky Sports’ James Savundra and Nick Wright react to Arsenal’s 5-0 demolition of Chelsea to send the Gunners three points above Liverpool at the top of the Premier League

For Chelsea, meanwhile, the chastening defeat, the club’s heaviest in a London derby since 1986, following an FA Cup semi-final loss to City at Wembley on Saturday, dents their hopes of salvaging a European spot from a bitterly disappointing season.

Player ratings

Arsenal: Raya (7), White (9), Saliba (7), Gabriel (7), Tomiyasu (7), Partey (8), Odegaard (9), Rice (8), Saka (8), Havertz (9), Trossard (8).

Subs: Jesus (7), Martinelli (7), Zinchenko (7), Jorginho (7), Vieira (6)

Chelsea: Petrovic (5), Gilchrist (4), Disasi (4), Badiashille (4), Cucurella (4), Caicedo (4), Fernandez (4), Gallagher (5), Madueke (5), Jackson (5), Mudryk (5).

Subs: Sterling (6), Chalobah (6), Silva (6), Casadei (6)

Player of the Match: Kai Havertz

How Arsenal blew Chelsea away

Before Arsenal’s devastating second-half display, there was a more evenly-matched first period, despite Trossard converting a smart diagonal finish from Declan Rice’s pass in the fourth minute for his 10th Premier League goal of the campaign.

The Gunners created a succession of chances to add to their lead, with Trossard seeing a deflected effort fortuitously hit Djordje Petrovic after the Chelsea goalkeeper had saved brilliantly from Havertz, but as the hosts spurned opportunities, Chelsea grew in confidence.

Team news

  • Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made two changes, with Thomas Partey and Takehiro Tomiyasu starting in place of Jakub Kiwior and Gabriel Jesus.
  • Chelsea were without Cole Palmer due to ilness, while Ben Chilwell and Malo Gusto missed out through injury. Alfie Gilchrist made his first Premier League start.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side were able to find the gaps they needed to play through the uncharacteristically open hosts and had chances to equalise, hitting the post when Nicolas Jackson’s cut-back bounced off Gabriel, almost outfoxing David Raya.

Arteta cut a frustrated figure on the touchline during that opening period but he was able to plug the holes in his midfield at half-time and Arsenal quickly took the game away from Chelsea, significantly boosting their already superior goal difference in the process.

Leandro Trossard celebrates with his Arsenal team-mates after scoring the opening goal against Chelsea

Image: Leandro Trossard celebrates his opener with his team-mates

White added the second only seven minutes after the break, finishing coolly following a corner after Rice’s shot had bounced into his path off Thomas Partey, and the third arrived only five minutes after that as Havertz held off Marc Cucurella to lift a cool finish over Petrovic from the excellent Martin Odegaard’s ball in behind.

A party atmosphere had gripped the Emirates Stadium at that point and Chelsea’s collapse continued when Havertz collected a Bukayo Saka pass and capitalised on more passive defending from the visitors to send a low finish into the net off the post to compound the misery of his former side.

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Arsenal continued to pour forward, with White further delighting the home fans when his first-time, volleyed cross sailed over Petrovic and into the net. His sheepish celebration suggested he did not mean it. Not that it really mattered to the hosts.

They could have added to their lead after that, amassing a total of 27 shots as Chelsea continued to wilt, powerless to stop an Arsenal machine which looks increasingly capable of securing the club’s first Premier League title in two decades.

Arteta: It was a joy to watch us

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to TNT Sports:

“I’m happy with the win and the amount of chances and goals we scored. Also the clean sheet shows the consistency of this team.

“We had to be more disciplined in the second half to do the right things and we created many chances and we defended the box so much better.

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was delighted with the performance of his side

“I congratulated the players for making our supporters happy in a big London derby and it was a joy to watch them play. It’s onto Spurs now.

“They know what we are playing for. They are so excited and they are at it. Even the players that haven’t played much have been outstanding and that holds the team together.

“My job is to keep challenging and be demanding of them but to also make them believe they can do it because that is a very important thing.”

Arteta hails Odegaard’s leadership

Mikel Arteta was full of praise for captain Martin Odegaard, saying: “We always knew he was a player of huge talent that could develop with us.

“We were convinced he could add something special to this team and he keeps running.

“There’s always a question about whether you can handle a new role, stand in front of people, represent the club and he’s done it in an amazing way. So natural.

“He is loved by everybody. He is not someone that will knock at your door shouting but the way he leads and the love he has for this game is more than enough for everyone to follow him.”

Poch: When we have bad days, we are so bad

Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino in his press conference:

“It’s true we did not compete. I cannot blame the players, as a team we are showing this inconsistency. That is why we are where we are, because we are capable of having an amazing performance, and three days later to be at the other extreme.

“When we have bad days, we are so bad. When we are good, we are capable of everything. But it’s another thing that we need to be aware that we need to improve for the future.

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Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino was left despondent after his side were thrashed 5-0 by Arsenal

“We cannot blame the players, I’m not going to blame the players. The circumstances are bigger than the performance of the players.

“We cannot blame young guys who came here and after suffering some circumstances, come here to fight against a team preparing to win the Premier League.

“We cannot be unfair with our players. It is true we are disappointed with our performance, but I am not going to say something which is unfair to describe our team, our players, our squad.”

Chelsea’s dreadful defence – Opta stats

  • Chelsea have conceded 57 goals in the Premier League this season, their most in a single campaign in the competition (overtaking their total of 55 from the 1994/95 and 1996/97 seasons).
  • Arsenal recorded their biggest ever victory against Chelsea across all competitions, while this was the Blues’ heaviest defeat in a London derby since losing 6-0 to Queens Park Rangers in March 1986.
  • Arsenal picked up their 24th victory of the Premier League campaign; their joint-most after 34 games of a top-flight season after last term and the 2003/04 season under Arsene Wenger.

What’s next?

Arsenal continue their Premier League title bid at rivals Tottenham in the North London Derby this Sunday, live on Sky Sports. Kick-off 2pm.

Chelsea are on the road again with a trip to Aston Villa on Saturday. Kick-off 8pm. Mauricio Pochettino’s then host London rivals Tottenham, live on Sky Sports, on Thursday May 2. Kick-off 7.30pm.

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