Arsenal’s seven-game winless run in domestic competition finally came to an end with an impressive 3-1 win over London rivals Chelsea.
Mikel Arteta’s side were without a win since they beat Manchester United back on November 1st, a run of form which saw them slide perilously towards the Premier League relegation zone, with question marks being raised about the Spaniard’s ability to turn things around.
Arsenal did get off to a bright start though at the Emirates, with Kieran Tierney looking a particular threat down the left, though they were unable to make the most of a number of early chances. However, they were handed the opportunity to take the lead after the returning Reece James was adjudged to have brought down Tierney. Alexandre Lacazette stepped up and duly sent Edouard Mendy the wrong way to give his side the lead on 35 minutes.
That lead was doubled nine minutes later, with much-maligned figure Granit Xhaka despatching an inch-perfect free-kick over the wall and beyond the Senegalese ‘keeper, after youngster Bukayo Saka was brought down just outside the box.
Chelsea made two changes at half-time in a bid to get back into the game, though their attacking threat remained largely unchanged, and 10 minutes after the restart, Arsenal extended their advantage. A move down the right saw the ball arrive at the feet of Saka, the England international’s effort – which looked suspiciously like a misplaced cross – looping over the head Mendy, off the post and into the back of the net.
Arsenal would spurn a number of quickfire chances to further extend their lead, the pick of which saw Mohamed Elneny crash an effort against the bar.
The Blues did however finally muster a late rally, Tammy Abraham bundling home from close range following a Callum Hudson-Odoi cross to cut the arrears, and they could have further reduced the deficit after being awarded a 90th minute penalty. However, Jorginho’s tame effort was well saved by Bernd Leno who really didn’t have too much to do throughout the game.
Arsenal get their first Premier League win since November 1 😤 pic.twitter.com/X8bK9Kv4oF
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 26, 2020
Speaking afterwards, Mikel Arteta hoped the impressive win would prove to be ‘a turning point’ for the north London clubs struggling season.
“It’s a really big win for us. We were really disappointed with the results – not so much the performances. Our players were suffering, our fans were suffering,” Arteta told Sky Sports.
“It doesn’t get any better than winning a London derby against Chelsea on Boxing Day. Hopefully, this is a turning point. I know they can play at this level. We know how good Chelsea are but big moments in the game we were the better team.
“The injuries, the Covid, playing 10 men…you start to think what do we need to win a match.
“It’s nice to give something back to fans because I can imagine they have been really disappointed. We started well and we were dominant. That gives the team confidence.
“Let’s carry on. We still have big things to improve on.”
Today’s win sees Arsenal move six points clear of the relegation places, with the Gunners facing Brighton at the AmEx on Tuesday evening.