CHELSEA 0-1 ARSENAL: Gabriel Magalhaes goal was enough for the Gunners to secure a slender 1-0 victory at a sodden Stamford Bridge as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang endured a miserable afternoon against his former side
The Gunners had fallen behind Manchester City following their dramatic win over Fulham on Saturday but Mikel Arteta’s men underlined their title credentials with a mature display at Stamford Bridge. Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes gave the Gunners a deserved second-half lead as he converted from close range following Bukayo Saka‘s cross.
Here are Mirror Sport ‘s standout talking points from the clash in West London as Arteta‘s Gunners once again establish themselves as challengers for this season’s domestic crown.
1. Aubameyang’s Arsenal reunion falls flat
Heading into the showdown at Stamford Bridge, there was of course plenty of talk surrounding Aubameyang’s reunion with his former club. the Gabonese attempted to stir the tension ahead of the clash with a few choice words. That – coupled with his somewhat acrimonious exit from the Emirates Stadium – saw him receive loud boos from the away end.
Unfortunately for Aubameyang, he really struggled to have an impact on the game and produce the lethal goalscoring instincts that were regularly on display across the capital. He was eventually withdrawn midway through the second-half in place of Armando Broja.
2. Arteta’s Stamford Bridge fury
Whilst Arsenal boss Arteta assured reporters that he only wanted to focus on his side instead of Aubameyang ahead of the game, he had no choice but to put his focus on the Chelsea star midway during the first-half. The former Barcelona striker produced a crunching tackle on Arsenal defender Ben White – leaving him sprawled on the floor.
Referee Michael Oliver quickly brandished a yellow card for Aubameyang but that did nothing to cool Arteta’s mood as he was left apoplectic at the tackle.
The Spaniard continued to cut a stormy figure throughout the game and remonstrated with the fourth official after Saka was booked for a foul on Marc Cucurella. His mood will no doubt have improved after seeing his side hit the front after the break and hold onto what could be a vital three points.
3. Michael Oliver a busy man
In all honesty, there was a real lack of goal-mouth action throughout the game but that does not mean there was a lack of competitiveness.
During the 90 minutes, a vast number of heavy challenges were flying in from both sides – potentially indicating how much of an even keel both sides are currently on. Throughout the match, there were 33 free-kicks awarded with all of Cesar Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah, Saka and Aubameyang all receiving bookings.
The stop-start nature of the game certainly made it tough for each side to build momentum so Arsenal must be credited for finding a route through to goal in an extremely bitty affair.
4. Chelsea’s patched-up defence underwhelms again
Chelsea are currently in the doldrums of a defensive injury crisis with the likes of Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Wesley Fofana all restricted to the sidelines – and that appears to be a major reason behind their struggles.
After shipping four at Brighton last time out, the Blues’ backline did not cover itself in glory for Gabriel’s opener. Saka’s cross somehow managed to find its way through a clutch of Chelsea players before finding its way to the unmarked Brazilian – who had the simple task of firing home unchallenged.
Graham Potter certainly has his work cut out in tightening up a defence that has looked lost at sea for weeks.
5. Saliba dominates
It was certainly a busy summer for Arteta and his recruitment team in North London with numerous decisions over the squad. One of the major calls was over William Saliba‘s future – the Frenchman having enjoyed a brilliant season on-loan at Marseille last season.
There was a discussion over a permanent switch but the young defender stayed and has impressed. In the meantime, the Gunners were also linked with Chelsea forward Broja before they made a move for Gabriel Jesus. They were not convinced to spend the huge asking price that the Blues demanded.
On reflection, both decisions appear to have been the right call. After the Albanian was introduced as a substitute, he was expected to test Saliba with his physicality but it was the Frenchman who came out the victor as he dominated their first battle. In all, it was a very mature and impressive performance from the former Saint-Etienne starlet.
6. Jesus’s drought continues
Jesus was certainly earning plenty of plaudits earlier this season – and justifiably so – but he needs to get back to top form sooner rather than later.
The Brazilian had two perfect opportunities to end that barren run. He at first ghosted into the Chelsea penalty area to latch onto Martinelli’s cross but somehow put his header wide before firing a near post effort at Edouard Mendy just after the hour-mark.
Luckily, his compatriot and namesake was on hand to ensure that the Gunners were not made to pay for his lack of productivity.