Arsenal love that top of the league feeling after humbling Chelsea 1-0 at the Bridge
By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 0 v Arsenal 1
Arsenal went some way to establish their title credentials with a deserved 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.
The Gooners dominated large sections of the game, reducing the home side to meagre pickings in and around the opposition penalty area.
Gabriel Magalhaes scored the second-half winner - a simple tap in from close range from an in-swinging corner.
But that corner was a piece of self-inflicted nonsense after Thiago Silva found himself with the ball just outside his area, but with no one to pass to. Rather than hump it forward, the ball was nicked off him. The resultant shot created the critical corner - the game was lost from that point onwards.
This was a chastening defeat for Chelsea under new man Graham Potter.
Under the previous ownership, Potter would be staring down the barrel of the sack. His side are now 13 points adrift of league leaders Arsenal and don’t look like they are going to get close anytime soon.
There is a serious malaise running through the league performances of Chelsea.
In Europe, they look assured and confident.
In the league, where the high press is king, they simply have no response.
Arsenal have the pace, the nous and the finishing power to put Manchester City under serious pressure at the top end of the league.
Chelsea are already looking at Europa League qualification as the best they can hope for in the league.
Arsenal started the more confident and their passing was crisp and purposeful.
Chelsea by contrast looked bereft of ideas other than not giving the ball away, hence the numerous back passes from midfield to defence.
All the pressure and half-chances were falling to the north Londoners, Ben White’s snatched effort on 11 minutes, that went just wide of Mendy’s right post was a classic example.
The Blues’ occasional forays towards the Arsenal defence were always a result of a counter-attack. All lacked the killer instinct needed to make a goal threat.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got a needless yellow for a reckless challenge on White on 28 minutes.
Gabriel had another half-chance to open the scoring after an excellent breakaway by the Gooners, but his diving header, was not firm enough to direct it towards goal.
Bukayo Sako was given a yellow card by Michael Oliver with three minutes of the half left.
It was a revenge tackle on Marc Cucurella who had earlier got away with one on the Arsenal winger.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
On 50 minutes, Cesar Azpilicueta was unlucky to go into Oliver’s book after a robust, but fair challenge for the ball saw Gabriel Martinelli crash to the ground.
Martinelli missed a glorious chance on 56 minutes when his glancing header went wide. He was unmarked in the six-yard box.
There was a break for a medical incident in the Matthew Harding stand that lasted three minutes before play was resumed.
Trevoh Chalobah took one for the team as he prevented an Arsenal counter from midfield on 60 minutes.
Thiago Silva was easily dispossessed of the ball from just outside his area but Mendy was on hand to parry Gabriel’s shot for a corner.
But from the resultant kick, Arsenal took the deserved lead on 63 minutes.
A regulation in-swinger was missed by everyone and Gabriel Magalhaes got ahead of Azpilicueta and tucked the ball home.
Graham Potter, the Chelsea head coach decided to bring on striker Armando Broja and midfielder Conor Gallagher straight away, ineffectual Kai Havertz and Aubameyang were replaced.
Saka could have made it 2-0 five minutes later, but skied his right-footer into The Shed.
A swift counter by Arsenal almost reaped dividends but Martin Odegaard clipped the ball over Mendy, but also his crossbar.
Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic were next brought on to save the game, off came Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount.
Mikel Arteta replaced Oleksandr Zinchenko with Kieron Tierney.
The last 10 minutes were nervy for both sides, as Arsenal looked to dig deep in defence and Chelsea attempt a shot on target.
It made little difference to the performances of either side, and the north Londoners saw the game out confidently.
Teams; Chelsea, Mendy; Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Silva, Cucurella; Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Mount; Sterling, Havertz, Aubameyang
Subs: Bettinelli, Koulibaly, Gallagher, Hall, Kovacic, Zakaria, Pulisic, Ziyech, Broja
Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.
Subs: Turner, Tierney, Holding, Cedric, Lokonga, Elneny, Vieira, Nketiah, Nelson.