Arsenal stay in hunt for fourth after solid win over Chelsea
Bellerin injury blights comfortable win over fourth-spot rivals
19 January, 2019 — By Tom Foot
ARSENAL 2 (Lacazette 14, Koscielny 39)
ARSENAL bounced back from the devastating defeat at West Ham with a convincing win over a spineless Chelsea.
The deserved three points mean the Gunners keep ahead of resurgent Man United and just three points behind the west Londoners who are in fourth.
The Chelsea manager tore into his players after the match saying they did not deserve to play for the club.
First half goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny sealed the win.
Manager Unai Emery said: “We started very strong with high pressing. The mentality is very good. We want to find the same performance when we are playing away.”
The Gunners started with intensity and had several good chances before Lacazette smashed past Kepa at his near post. The Arsenal number nine trapped a cross from Hector Bellerin Bergkamp-style, classily setting himself up for a thundering strike.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a golden chance in the first minute and nearly made it two when he showed lighting pace to outstrip Rudiger. His shot was well saved by Kepa.
Koscielny scored with his shoulder, steering in a Sokratis cross. It was a lucky connection but the Arsenal captain had gone close with a similar effort shortly before.
Just before half time Chelsea rallied and Marcus Alonso hit the base of the post with a header.
It was a surprisingly tame performance from a Chelsea side that tried to pick their way through the Arsenal defence. For all their fans chanting of how they’d “won it all” they only had one shot on target.
Manager Maurizio Sari said he wanted to give his press conference in Italian as he had stern words for his players.
A translator said: “I’m extremely angry, we played against a team that was mentally more determined than us. The fact of the matter is that this group of players is extremely difficult to motivate. From a technical point of view we are about the same, I don’t think tactics come in to it.”
He said if his players can’t change “they don’t deserve to play for this club”.
Former Gunner Olivier Giroud got a cheer and a song when he came on but he did not get a shot away.
Bellerin’s injury meant Mesut Ozil could not be brought on as Emery had one sub left and was forced into a defensive switch.
His players showed they can compete with the big boys without him.
Emery said it was too early to tell on Bellerin’s injured knee, but it will be a big loss if the right back is out.
ARSENAL: Leno, Bellerin (74 Elneny), Sokratis, Koscielny, Kolasanic, Guendouzi, Torriera, Ramsey (Maitland-Niles 68), Xhaka, Aubameyang, Lacazette (Iwobi 68),
Subs not used: Ozil, Cech, Monreal, Mustafi.
CHELSEA: Kepa, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Barkley, Hazard, Pedro (Odoi 80), Kovacic (Giroud 68), Azpilicueta, Luiz.
Subs not used: Caballero, Christensen, Emerson, Ampadu.