Arsenal take advantage of massive Jorginho error to win 1-0 at Stamford Bridge
By Paul Lagan
Chelsea 0 v Arsenal 1
Arsenal parked the bus and took full advantage of a horror error by Jorginho to steal the three points as the north Londoners won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge tonight.
It reignited the Gooners’ slim Europa League hopes while denting Chelsea’s chance to jump, over Leicester City into third place.
Midfielder Jorginho almost scored a comical own goal, but Kepa could only scoop the ball off the goal-line to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who passed to Emile Smith Rowe, and the midfielder scuffed the ball home off the post.
Next Tuesday’s league match between the pair at the Bridge could decide who end up behind the Manchester sides.
But before that they face each other in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.
That would account for the seven changes Thomas Tuchel made from the win against Manchester City at the weekend, but not for goal-shy performance they put in.
Chelsea had two great chances to open the scoring in the first 10 minutes. First Mason Mount had a low drive saved by Bernd Leno, but when Kai Havertz took advantage of sloppy defending, he raced clear of the chasing defenders but crashed the ball over the Arsenal crossbar with only the goalkeeper to beat.
But on 16 minutes a terrible mistake by Jorginho saw the Italian under pressure put the ball back towards his own goal. Kepa did his best to scoop the ball off his goal line, but the ball fell to Smith Rowe who slotted the ball home to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
It was a horror error by the midfielder who simply did not look up to see where his goalkeeper was.
Chelsea responded well and a Christian Pulisic byline cross was met with a Mount volley. But the effort, while goal-bound was blocked by Rob Holding and cleared. Leno then stopped an angled shot by Mount on 27 minutes.
Thomas Tuchel opted to make a change at half-time - Callum Hudson-Odoi replaced Billy Gilmour.
Chelsea thought they had equalised on 60 minutes when Christian Pulisic headed home from close range after a corner. But the US winger was well offside.
Tuchel made his second change on 65 minutes - replacing ineffectual Havertz with Olivier Giroud.
While Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta brought on Hector Bellerin for Saka.
Giroud’s first touch saw the hit-man take a swipe at the ball that ended up in the middle of the Matthew Harding stand.
Hakim Ziyech was the final sub for the Blues, with Cesar Azpilicueta having an early shower.
Aubameyang then came off for Lacazette on 80 minutes.
Chelsea’s first effort of the second half on 87 minutes saw Pulisic stretching for a left-wing cross but all he did was tap the ball to Leno.
Chelsea had a late rally which saw the ball hit the cross bar twice, first Kurt Zouma’s glancing header was tipped onto the bar by Leno, and Giroud then smashed a volley almost onto the same spot.
Teams: Chelsea, Kepa, Azpilicueta, Silva, Zouma, James, Chilwell, Jorginho, Gilmour, Mount Havertz, Pulisic,
subs: Alonso, Werner, Mendy, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Emerson, Anjorin, Livramento
Arsenal, Leno, Holding, Mari, Gabriel, Ska, Elneny, Partey, Tierney, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang
Subs: Bellerin, Ceballos, Lacazette, Willian, Cedric Soares, Pepe, Chambers, Ryan, Martinelli
Referee: Andre Marriner