Blues drop two vital points as Arsenal claw their way back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at the Bridge

By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 2 v Arsenal 2


Chelsea threw away a two-goal lead as Arsenal, who looked dead and buried, fought back to share the points in a pulsating, at times high quality encounter at the Bridge.

Off the back of three wins on the spin, this was going to be the Blue’s most serious match to date and it looked as if this was going to be major scalp and four wins in a row -it should have been.

With 13 minutes left on the clock the points were all but assured, with six minutes left on the clock, it looked like the Blues were falling apart and desperate to cling on to a point.

Some terrible goalkeeping, sublime finishing characterised his 2-2 dew that leaves Arsenal second in the Premier League and the Blues in ninth.

As opening play goes, Chelsea did okay. The initial attack might have ended with Enzo zapping a curler from the edge of the Arsenal penalty area over their crossbar, but it was a signal of intent to attack by the home side.

Cole Palmer was yellow-carded by referee Christopher Kavanagh for a late, ankle snapper on Gabriel Jesus on eight minutes.

He was quickly following by Oleksandr Zinchenko getting a yellow for tripping fellow Ukraine team-mate Mykhailo Mudryk.

Chelsea had a strong claim for a penalty a minute later when William Saliba appeared to handle the ball when Mudryk headed the ball on. The referee played on.

VAR intervened and Kavanagh was sent to the monitor and inevitably awarded the spot kick.

Up stepped Palmer – who coolly slotted home, sending David Raya the wrong way in the process to put Chelsea 1-0 up.

The home side have become something of a counter-attacking outfit of late and on 30 minutes, Palmer almost squeezed home a swept left-footer after a quick Blues break.

But the ball edged just wide of Raya’s left upright.

This tactic was repeated with three minutes left on the first-half clock, but this time, it was Raheem Sterling and Malo Gusta who led the charge with the right back chancing his arm, or in this case, his left leg to have a shot on goal.

But the ball sailed in to the Shed.

Arsenal made one change at half-time – Takeshiro Tomiyasu replaced Zinchenko.

But within three minutes of the restart, another quick break by Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher on the left – he fed the ball to Mudryk. The winger took a few steps forward before, from the byline, producing a sublime left-footed curling, dipping shot that went over Raya’s desperate grasp. And the ball landed inside his far side-netting.

Raya almost gifted Mudryk with a goal on 58 minutes but recovered well after giving the wide man the ball, and just as he was about to tap the ball home, recovered sufficiently to block the effort for a corner.

Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino decided to replace Mudryk for Nicolas Jackson on 66 minutes, and from that point, the game started to go away from the home side.

The striker’s first touch was to latch onto a Sterling ball and take it round Raya but the goalie snaffled the effort.

On came Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah two minutes later – off went Jesus and Jorginho.

With 14 minutes left a howler of a pass out by Sanchez, gifted Rice the ball and he embarrassed the former Brighton stopper by lashing the ball home from 20 yards to reduce the deficit to one.

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta was already lining up a double substitution, – on came ex-Blue Kai Havertz and Leandro Trossard, off went Odegaard and Martinelli.

Chelsea countered by brining back into the fold after injury, skipper Reece James and Noni – off went Sterling and Palmer.

Within seconds Arsenal were level – again Sanchez and right back Malo Gusto were at fault at his near post as a deep cross from the right found Trossard, free to slot the ball home to level the score.

There were seven minutes of added time for the home side’s fans to endure, while the away ones were revelling in the prospect of a come back win.

The home fans won that particular battle.

Teams: Chelsea, Sanchez, Cucurella, Silva, Sterling, Enzo, Mudryk, Palmer, Gallagher, Caicedo, Colwill, Gusto

Subs: Disasi, Badiashile, Noni, Jackson, Ugochukwu, James, Petrovic, Maatsen, Washington

Arsenal, Ray, Saliba, White, Gabriel, Saka, Odegaard, Jesus, Martinelli, Jorginho, Zinchenko, Rice

Subs: Hein, Partey, Smith Rowe, Nketiah, Kiwior, Tomiyasu, Trossard, Nelson, Havertz

Referee: Christopher Kavanagh

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