BY PAUL LAGAN
Arsenal 1 v Chelsea 2
Tammy Abraham snatched a late, late winner as The Blues came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates in a enthralling derby encounter.
Arsenal should have been out of sight in the first 45 minutes as the outfoxed their sluggish opponents.
As it was it as just a 1-0 lead thanks to a powerful header from France star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Jorginho equalised in the second half after a calamitous error by goalkeeper Bernd Leno – but should the Brazil-born Italian have been on the pitch? That’s the question as arguably he should have had a two yellow cards for fouls.
But it set the game up for a frantic finish and a wonderful turn and shot by top scorer Abraham, from close range, snatched the points for the west Londoners as he drove the ball under the body of Luiz and Leno from a fine byline cutback from William
Arsenal piled on the early pressure, Chelsea hardly touching the ball in the opening minutes. Ex-Blue David Luiz tried a spectacular overhead kick from a corner on sim minutes, but his effort crept wide of Kepa’s right-hand post.
But a well-worked free-kick on 11 minutes saw Willian pass a square ball to Mason Mount. The midfielder’s first-time strike forced Bernd Leno into snaffling the ball at the second attempt.
then home side’s total dominance paid divides two minutes later when a simple corner was headed into the path of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to head powerfully home from six yards out to put Arsenal 1-0 up.
Following a challenge with Tammy Abrahams, Calum Chambers’s day was over as he limped off the pitch on 23 minutes – Shkodran Mustafi replaced him.
A double yellow card for Mount and N’Golo Kante – both for fouls – emphasised the growing frustration in the Chelsea ranks as Arsenal continued to pass the ball around without any serious attempt by the visitors to close them down or win the ball back.
Antonio Rudiger the third Chelsea player to enter Craig Pawson’s book occurred seconds before grad coach Frank Lampard opted to make his first tactical change- midfielder Jorginho entered the fray for left wing-back Emerson.
The meant a return to four at the back with skipper Cesar Azpilicueta going to left back with Fikayo Tomori taking the right-back berth.
Abraham though he had a penalty when Matteo Guendouzi pulled him back in the Arsenal area, but Pawson ignored the pleas as did VAR.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
Kante had a sliced volley go wide, three minutes after the restart a the Blues sought to get a grip on the game.
Tariq Lamptey came on for Tomori on 59 minutes as the Blues at least took an equal share of possession. – the first stage, they hoped to an equaliser.
Luiz did well to clear a Willian cross when Abraham was ready to pounce – the striker perhaps took a touch too many before attempting an angled shot on 66 minutes.
Lampard’s final throw of the die came with 20 minutes left when he replaced Kovacic with Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Abraham had a free header from a Willian corner but it wasn’t powerful enough to trouble Leno.
Jorginho was next into Pawson’s book for a needless foul.
Sloppy play at the back by the visitors allowed sub Joe Willock to chance a right-footer, it zipped inches wide of Kepa’s left upright.
A slice of good fortune struck for Chelsea with seven minutes left on the clock a regulation cross from the Wright was incredible missed by Leno and Jorginho was on the spot at the far post to tap the ball in. VAR had a look for a possible offside but it was justifiably given as an equaliser.
Sensationally the game was turned on a sixpence when a Willian cut back was called to his feet by Abraham, he swivelled 180 degrees and plonked a low, right-filter between Luiz’ and Leon’s legs to give Chelsea a 2-1 lead with three minutes left.
Seven minutes of added time came and went and Lampard can claim the scalp, away from home of both of north London’s finest in the space of two weeks.
Teams: Chelsea; Kepa, Rudiger, Kante, Abraham, Willian, Zouma, Kovacic, Mount, Azpilicueta, Tomori, Emerson
Subs, Christensen, Jorginho, Barkley, Caballero, Hudson-Odoi, Batshuayi, Lamptey
Arsenal; Leno, Lacazette, Ozil, Torreira, Aubameyang, Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Luiz, Nelson, Guendouzi, Saka
Subs, Pepe, Mustafi, Martinez, Mavropanos, Willock, Smith Rowe, John-Jules
Referee Craig Pawson
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