Arsenal made two comebacks with 10-men to earn a well-deserved draw at Stamford Bridge. This was a very important game for Chelsea and they may have let their lead slip in the fight for fourth place.
Chelsea started with a tried and tested 4-3-3 that gives them good balance. Mateo Kovacic returned to the line up to replace the misfiring Mason Mount. Reece James was out injured forcing Lampard to bring Emerson back into the starting eleven.
Chelsea started brightly with some early pressure to make up for the loss at Newcastle. They got their reward for it when Shkodran Mustafi’s back pass put Arsenal in trouble as Tammy Abraham hijacked the ball to get behind Bernd Leno facing the open goal. But former Blue David Luiz brought down the England striker earning his former club a penalty before being sent off on his return to Stamford Bridge. Jorginho took responsibility and converted the penalty as usual.
It was pretty much all Chelsea in the first half with Arsenal trying to hold the fort with 10 men. Things stayed the same way in the second half for a good period of time until Chelsea lost their defence in the 63rd minute. A good counter-attacking goal by the Gunners was the result of the brilliant work from 18-year-old Gabriel Martinelli, who thought he had lost the ball to the ever-reliable Kante, only for the Frenchman to slip at the last second leaving the Brazilian one-on-one with Kepa. Martinelli went on to score the equaliser for the visitors by sending Kepa the wrong way.
Chelsea came up with urgency to not lose yet another game and almost won it when Captain Cesar Azpilicueta scored in the 84th minute from Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross. But the lead didn’t last for long as returning Arsenal Captain Hector Bellerin scored a wonderful curler with his weak foot against a helpless Kepa. He should have got a touch on the ball but he wasn’t positioned well enough to do so.
Arsenal scored from the only two shots they had on goal. Although Chelsea’s defence is to blame, the fact can’t be ignored that Kepa hasn’t lived up to his standards and records show that he is amongst the worst keepers in the Premier League and Europe. Chelsea had to go for him with Thibaut Courtois going AWOL in the summer of 2018 and behind first-choice Alisson who had signed up for Liverpool instead. The transfer is still open to judgement but he needs to improve real soon to keep his career on track.
The worst news of the night was, however, Tammy Abraham limping off the field with what seemed like a bad ankle injury. The reports that Chelsea have made an offer to bring Edinson Cavani on loan only makes it worse for the 22-year-old.
Arsenal felt like they won the game and Chelsea felt like they lost it. It would seem apt given the form the teams are in. Stamford Bridge was once Chelsea’s fortress. It is now falling to almost every team that visits the Bridge. The Blues have won only 4 of their last 12 games but have somehow managed to stay put in fourth. The honeymoon period is well & truly over for Frank Lampard and it’s time for him to turn to the transfer market. The Blues travel to Hull City next to play the fourth round of the FA Cup.