Arsenal v Chelsea

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Post-Match Report

Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea: How it happened

Chelsea -

Emirates Stadium
Premier League
Premier League
  Arsenal
      
                  Wilshere (63')
                   Bellerin (90')
            
   crest
Arsenal
Wilshere (63')
Bellerin (90')
2 2
  Chelsea
      
              E. Hazard (67' pen)
               Marcos Alonso (84')
          
   crest
Chelsea
E. Hazard (67' pen) Marcos Alonso (84')

WHAT HAPPENED

Hector Bellerin scored an injury-time equaliser as we snatched a draw from a hugely-entertaining London derby at Emirates Stadium.

Jack Wilshere powered in his first Premier League goal since May 24, 2015 to give us the lead, but not long afterwards the visitors drew level when Eden Hazard went down in the box and slotted home the resulting spot kick.

With the game in the balance, Marcos Alonso then slammed in what looked like the winner with seven minutes remaining - before Bellerin kept his composure to sweep in a deserved leveller to secure us a point.

The game was played with real pace and power right from the off, with Alvaro Morata having the first chance went put through but surprisingly he screwed his shot well wide of goal.

Moments later the play flew down the other end, as Mesut Ozil found Alexis in the area and the Chilean’s strike was pushed on to the near post before rolling along the line and striking the other before Thibaut Courtois snaffled it.

Chelsea were next to go close as Tiemoue Bakayako tested Petr Cech, before Ozil fired inches wide and then former Gunner Cesc Fabregas fired over just before the interval.

Chelsea started the second half in bright fashion, and we were twice indebted to Cech who firstly saved from Hazard and then denied Alonso moments later.

It was our turn to go close next as Lacazette spun into space in the box and opted for power rather than placement, only to see Courtois make a smart save at his near post.

Ozil nearly found a way through on the hour mark, but just a minute later we finally had the breakthrough as Wilshere drilled a powerful drive past Courtois at his near post and into the top corner.

Lacazette saw a shot saved by the Chelsea goalkeeper moments later as we came close to doubling our advantage, but there was an almost immediate twist as the visitors were awarded a controversial penalty after Hazard fell in the box. Coming so soon after that late spot kick at West Brom, it was tough to take – even more so when Hazard slotted it home himself.

Morata had another big opportunity for the visitors when put through again, but again he couldn’t find the target but Alonso made no mistake in the closing stages.

There was still time for Bellerin to crash in a half-volley in stoppage time to equalise - but Chelsea came close to winning it through Morata and then Davide Zappacosta right at the death.

But a draw felt like a fair result from a thrilling affair.

HOW IT HAPPENED

See how the match unfolded and get all the standout stats in our play-by-play commentary

WHAT IT MEANS


WHAT’S NEXT

We start our defence of the Emirates FA Cup with a trip to the County Ground to take on Nottingham Forest in the third round.

We last faced the Championship club in the League Cup in September 2016, with a brace from Lucas and goals from Granit Xhaka and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain securing the win.

OZIL WATCH

Mesut Ozil was a surprise inclusion in the Arsenal team, having been expected to miss out with the knee problem that saw him sidelined for the trip to West Brom on New Year’s Eve.

The World Cup winner was at the heart of the action, and hewre are some of his key moments:

10 – Ozil leads a sweeping counter-attack and races into the area but can’t get on the end of Alexis’ cross towards him

17 – Ozil finds Alexis in the box, with the Chilean’s shot hitting both posts before being saved

23 – After another spell of pressure, Ozil finds space on the edge of the area and picks out Lacazette, whose shot is pushed around the post by Courtois

39 – Ozil collects the ball from Xhaka on the edge of the area, takes a touch and lets fly with a shot that flies just wide of the far post

62 – Ozil combines brilliantly with Lacazette and the one-two buys him space in the area with just Courtois to beat, but he attempts to square for Alexis and the visitors scramble it clear

Video

All the goals from that thriller with Chelsea

Hector Bellerin struck in injury-time to see us share the points with Chelsea at Emirates Stadium.

Jack Wilshere fired us into the lead following the break with a fierce effort, only for the Blues to draw level through Eden Hazard from the spot and then go in front late on courtesy of Marcos Alonso.

Bellerin, however, ensured that we finished with a point, lashing the ball home with just moments to go.

Click on the video above to watch our extended highlights and on the video below to watch our bitesize highlights.


Interview

Wenger - Ainsley’s performance was ‘remarkable’

The praise for Ainsley Maitland-Niles was widespread on Wednesday night as he delivered another confident performance in our 2-2 draw against Chelsea.

The England Under-21 international may have been out of position at left wing-back, but he won plenty of admirers for the way dominated his flank.

Arsene Wenger is a big believer in Maitland-Niles and was delighted with his display, but sounded a note of caution.

“He had a big performance today,” the manager told Arsenal Player. “What he has to learn is to keep that focus, urgency and concentration for 95 minutes because on the second goal he was a bit caught. Overall, though, I thought he was remarkable.

“I felt we had a very good performance [as a team]. I knew that the last 20 minutes could be difficult because we played three games in six days. The schedule was not to our advantage and also, once again, we were a bit unlucky with the decisions.

“We are a fantastic football team. I think we have seen fantastic football but there are some deeper problems and some on our side that we have to correct. At the moment, the club is really hurt hard and for me, it’s difficult to take.”

Press conference

‘Jack deserves credit for his remarkable strength’

Anyone of an Arsenal persuasion would have been delighted to see Jack Wilshere back in the scoresheet for us against Chelsea on Wednesday.

The midfielder has been in fine form of late and his strike was his first in the Premier League since May 24, 2015.

Arsene Wenger was impressed with Wilshere’s display, and this is what he said in his post-match press conference:

on Jack putting in another good display…
Yes, that’s football.

on it being two and a half years since Jack last scored in the Premier League…
I think he is at the level now where not many people expected him to be. When was the last time he played for England? Exactly, against Iceland [at Euro 2016], he came on. Since he has not played for England and I would say that means that everybody had given up on him. Today, nobody would be surprised if he was selected again. So that means instances of us being criticised for that, I think first of all he deserves a great credit for remarkable strength and we do as well.

on Hector Bellerin’s resolve…
Well, what you get at the moment, no matter who you are, is criticism. That’s for free on the market. It flies around in a very severe way and that, I think every player gets that. The only response they can give is on the football pitch and he is a remarkable fighter.

on Konstantinos Mavropanos and whether he is close to signing…
Yes. But he is not ready to play for us. We will give him out on loan.

Interview

Jack - Why I’ve gone dairy and gluten free

Jack Wilshere has played five Premier League games in a row for the first time in three years - and he puts it down to his new diet.

Having battled back from a series of injuries, the Arsenal midfielder knows his body better than ever before and has taken big steps to improve his fitness even further.

“I’ve been dairy and gluten free now for six weeks, my kids have always been since birth and I never really had dairy,” Wilshere said. “I cut it out completely and I think I look a bit better.

“I certainly feel a bit leaner and I think I’m fitter as well. I feel I can last longer. At the end [against Chelsea] when we scored the second goal I thought, ‘Come on, we can go again here’ and I was pressing, it was good.

“It’s good to know I have belief in my body. I never questioned it or thought before the game that I’m going to be tired today and now this is the third game in six days, I’m ready to go.

“I know my body well, I know the right foods to eat, I know the best way to recover and get the right amount of sleep. I’ve learnt that over the years and I think that I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been.”

Interview

‘It’s not enough only to do the job at home’

Despite Hector Bellerin’s last-gasp equaliser to rescue a point against Chelsea, Shkodran Mustafi admits the result felt “more like a defeat”.

The Germany international believes we did more than enough to win the game, and that a share of the spoils was the minimum we should have got from it.

This is what he told the media afterwards:

on the game…
Unfortunately it was not too entertaining for us, we were dominant in the first half and I think we had the first opportunities. I’m sure we had a penalty as well that was not given, again, but I think the game in the second half became more open. We wanted to win this game so we didn’t try to defend 0-0, we went up 1-0 but got a penalty against us unfortunately and they scored. We tried to go for the second goal, they got the second goal unfortunately and obviously we went to the last minute to try and equalise which we did and I think it’s more than deserved to take a point from this game.

on whether it’s a relief to equalise…
Yes, but to be honest it feels more like a defeat than relief. You aim to take every point until the end of the season, but it feels more like a defeat than like a winning equaliser.

on the possibility of revenge in the cup…
You always get the chance for revenge, but as I said unfortunately today we tried to take three points which we really needed in the Premier League and we wanted to start 2018 with a win. Unfortunately we didn’t but we have to keep going, there’s no other way.

on our home form…
I think we’ve done well at home, but in the Premier League it’s not enough only to do the job at home. You have to concentrate on doing it away as well, I think it’s something that gets a little in your head, we play at home and everything is easier, we play away it’s harder and at the end of the day it’s a 90-minute football game so we have to concentrate and I think that’s what we have to do, even when we play away from home it’s a game like every other game. I think today it was not about our injuries, it was a big game and the split seconds where we should have been more concentrated we weren’t. We got punished but I think at the end of the day we deserved more.

Press conference

‘We saw a great game, but we don’t talk about it'

Having conceded a controversial late penalty against West Brom on New Year’s Eve, it was tough to swallow another one being awarded against us when we faced Chelsea on Wednesday.

Arsene Wenger was understandably frustrated after the match, and this is what he told the media in his press conference:

on the game…
I think it was a great football game, where we saw fantastic action on both sides and a game where we have shown great mental resources. I knew before the game that the last 20 minutes could be difficult for us, because we have a big disadvantage with the schedule. We got, again, a farcical decision but we knew that as well before, so we have to deal with that. That’s it basically.

on the penalty decision…
I don’t know, I don’t want to talk about it. I’m fed up with that. The referees get away with you, the English press, no matter what they do.

on what he wants to say about his charge…
Nothing at all.

on what he means by ‘we knew that as well before’ in his first answer…
Sorry? I mean nothing. You are always more intelligent than everybody, so you can guess what happens.

on whether he thinks VAR would prevent errors…
I am very sceptical.

on if he has decided to contest his FA charge…
Sorry? 100 per cent. You can listen to every interview I said, and I stick to everything I said without any problem. I am 35 years in football, I know what I say after the game and I stand up for what I said. No problem.

on whether his conscience is clear…
Look, what I find terrible is that we have just seen is a great football game and we talk only about things that are nothing to do with football. At some stage, you stand up in the morning and you say ‘we have seen a great football game’ but you are not interested in that. For me, that would be nice, that at some stage we speak about football again. What are we talking about? It’s nothing to do with football.

on whether managers should just accept refereeing decisions and not complain…
That’s what I do. I have no choice. But you have to say as well that at some stage in football, you have to stand up for the referee’s decisions. But you have to say as well that at the moment, we have to face surprising decisions.

on Petr’s comments after the last game and whether referees are contradicting what is said in meetings with players and managers…
What I am finding is just what I want to tell you. I would love to talk about football, because that is what I love. We have seen a great football game tonight, but what are we talking about? Not about football.

on whether it is frustrating that we are sixth in the table…
That is very frustrating, I agree with you. We have to look at ourselves as well, but still, I think it was a great football game and when you look recently our performances have been top quality. The regret we have is that we have not the results that we could have had. Certainly that is part of our problem, but as well on the other side, you have to say that we have not been gifted this luck.

Interview

Bellerin - I’m proud of how we reacted

When Marcos Alonso scored for Chelsea with seven minutes remaining, it looked like we would be frustrated again in another thrilling game at Emirates Stadium.

But Hector Bellerin fired in a deserved last-gasp equaliser to secure us a hard-earned point against Chelsea and this is what he told the media afterwards:

on an entertaining game…
It was non-stop football, running up and down. We know when we play them that it is always a hard game, always entertainment, but we we worked hard all week and it is a bit disappointing because we should have held the score [at 1-0 up] but it was a great reaction at the end.

on the penalty decision…
Hazard is very quick in the box and the ball was in the air and I went to challenge for it, but we both got there at the same time and the referee thought it was a penalty. We will have to see the replay to see what it was like.

on scoring the equaliser…
Well I haven’t scored for a while so it was great to do it in a comeback in a hard-fought game. I’m happy with the goal but also happy with the reaction towards the end from the whole team.

Interview

‘I’ll enjoy my goal more when I see it at home’

When Jack Wilshere powered in the opening goal against Chelsea, he could be forgiven for soaking up the adulation - but that was far from his mind.

It was the Arsenal midfielder’s first Premier League goal since May 24, 2015, but he says that his reaction was one of delight for the team rather than himself.

This is what he said to the media after the game:

on his feelings after the game…
A bit of relief after going 1-0 up, we were sloppy to let them back into the game and into the lead, but I think we showed good character and never gave in. That’s a part of our game, we never like to give in, we fight to the end and we’ll take the point.

on the quality of the teams…
It was a good game, a good game to be involved in. As a player you want to be involved in those types of high-quality games, the important games. We knew it was important not to lose and of course we wanted to win the game but we failed, we’d done enough but we were sloppy, so we’ll take the point.

on scoring…
It was a nice feeling, my first thought was the team, we needed to win this game and I thought it was a good goal for the team. Afterwards when we go home I’ll enjoy it a bit more when I watch it again.

on the race for the top four…
Teams keep winning, you see Liverpool showing good character and finding two at the end, again we didn’t lose but we need to start picking up more points. We have a big game next week against Bournemouth, we need to get ready for that and we’ve got a couple of cup games in between, we’ll go again.

on the penalty and the potential penalty for Maitland-Niles…
It’s hard for the referee, it happens so quickly and he’s got to make a split decision, so it’s easy for us to go after the game in slow motion and say it’s a penalty, but over the season they even themselves out and I’m sure there will be a few more, we’ll get what we deserve.

on Bellerin’s goal…
It was a great strike, he showed great character and composure in the 92nd minute when you’re 2-1 down and chasing the game.

on his contract situation and Ray Parlour’s recent comments…
It’s nice hear that from Ray, he was a player that I watched when I was younger, a midfielder, and he came through the youth into the team, so it’s good to hear from him. I’ve just got to keep working and take each game as they come I’m happy and I’ve said it before, I just want to be playing games, I missed it so much going out on loan, I just want to be an Arsenal player.

Interview

Holding - We did enough to win it

In the end, a point seemed a fair result from a thrilling clash against Chelsea - but Rob Holding would not agree.

The Arsenal centre back felt that we did enough to beat the Blues, especially in the first half, and this is what he told the media:

on whether they are satisfied with a point…
No, I think we did enough to win it. A few mistakes at the back cost us and we had loads of chances in first half. We hit the post and the other post, so if those chances go in it’s a different game. We did well to fight back and get a point in the end.

on our record against Chelsea…
I think we’ve got a good recent history against Chelsea, there have been entertaining games and we’ve had the better of them I would say. They are always competitive games and you can see today everyone is at it, trying to get that win.

on having injuries going into the game…
We’ve suffered over the last two weeks with injuries and at the back defensively especially, so we’ve got lads ready to come in who have been playing in the cup games and are raring to go, so when everyone gets a chance we perform.

on their form…
We want to push on, we want as many points as we can, we want to be back in the Champions League next year, so that’s the goal to push and keep chasing.

on whether we showed good resilience…
I think the cliche of Arsenal being easy and pushovers, I don’t want that, we want to push on and be aggressive and go for the win and not give up.

on why they weren’t able to hold on to the lead…
I think we were pushing forward and they countered well. They nicked that goal, but we showed our resilience to fight back and get the goal.

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