Emile Smith Rowe denied Chelsea the prospect to cement their prime-4 standing as he took benefit of Jorginho’s howler to present Arsenal a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues would have all however secured their Champions League qualification with a victory which might have taken them 10 factors away from Liverpool, who’ve 4 video games left to play, however after making seven adjustments forward of Saturday’s FA Cup closing, struggled to create clear-lower probabilities.
Kai Havertz ought to have put them forward 10 minutes in when he intercepted Gabriel’s free move for Pablo Mari and raced clear by means of, however then fired over Bernd Leno’s bar with solely his compatriot to beat. Moments later Jorginho’s equally poor again-move was saved out by Kepa Arrizabalaga at full stretch, however Smith Rowe was readily available to bundle residence after being teed up by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Chelsea have been dominant for the big majority of the remaining 75 minutes with out forcing Leno into any uncomfortable saves till the ultimate minute. They did beat him by means of Pulisic’s shut-vary header from a nook, which was swiftly denied by a VAR evaluate, earlier than the German produced a shocking cease to tip Kurt Zouma’s header onto the crossbar, which was then rattled by Olivier Giroud’s shot on the rebound.
The Gunners now sit solely a degree behind their north London rivals Tottenham, who’ve performed a recreation much less, whereas Chelsea’s prime-4 cushion could possibly be lower to at least one level if Liverpool win each of their video games in hand.
Chelsea made to pay for lack of innovative
Arteta has loved a few of his finest days as a supervisor in opposition to Chelsea and because the hosts made seven adjustments, with one eye on Saturday’s FA Cup closing, he would have been particularly desperate to proceed his robust report in opposition to the highest six in an in any other case depressing season.
The Spaniard has employed some tactical masterclasses in these wins however their first-half success owed extra to a pair of Chelsea howlers. Jorginho, going through his personal objective, did not lookup and spot Arrizabalaga’s uncommon place extensive of his web, forcing him to palm off the road at full stretch and into the trail of Aubameyang, whose sq. ball was scuffed residence by Smith Rowe.
By then, Arsenal ought to have already been behind. A poor ball by Gabriel to Mari was pinched off his toe by a greater-positioned Havertz. That set the German clear by means of, however he beat each Leno and the bar.
Mason Mount’s free function troubled the guests all through the half however he was twice denied in his seek for an equaliser, whereas Christian Pulisic headed over a nook from shut-vary as Chelsea went in on the break with their prime-4 spot a extra urgent concern than the weekend’s closing.
Callum Hudon-Odoi was launched at half-time and provided Chelsea little by means of an extra innovative, though they briefly thought that they had levelled on the hour when Pulisic nodded in from a nook, however the American knew he was offside lengthy earlier than VAR intervened.
If something, with 20 minutes to go and Chelsea urgent additional ahead Arsenal started to look the extra probably, and Martin Odegaard teed up Hector Bellerin to fireplace straight at Arrizabalaga earlier than taking pictures over himself when properly-positioned.
Just because it seemed like a leveller was past the hosts, Hudson-Odoi’s teasing low cross was fired into Leno’s physique by Pulisic, who ought to have finished higher. The goalkeeper then helped protect Arsenal’s three factors with an exquisite cease to tip Zouma’s looping header onto the bar, and watched on helplessly as Giroud turned the rebound again in opposition to the woodwork and away to security.
Chelsea are off to Wembley within the FA Cup closing on Saturday, the place they may face Leicester City; Kick-off at 5.15pm.
Arsenal’s penultimate recreation of the season can also be in London, with a visit to Crystal Palace subsequent Wednesday evening; Kick-off at 7pm.