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Arsenal Blow Top Four Race Wide Open with Win Over Chelsea

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By Martin Graham | 21st Apr 2022

Arsenal have dealt a big blow to their fellow top four contenders Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur by stunning third place Chelsea at home 4-2.

The match was an incredibly entertaining end-to-end game which saw all shot on target end up in the back of the net.

Arsenal, coming in on the back of three straight losses against Crystal Palace, Southampton and Brighton on which they only managed a single goal and conceded six, chose to alter their formation against the UEFA Champions League holders.

A back three of Rob Holding, Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes started the game for Arsenal in a formation which Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta chose to be mysterious about when quizzed before the game.

The game built up slowly until Eddie Nketiah took advantage of an Andreas Christensen mistake in the 13th minute to slot one past Edouard Mendy in the Chelsea goal.

The Gunners’ lead did not last last long as in the 17th minute, Timo Werner received the ball from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who pickpocketed Nketiah before blasting a low deflected shot past a confused Aaron Ramsdale.

10 mnutes after Werner’s goal, a wonderful counter attack involving, Emile Smith-Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Martin Ødegaard was finished by the Arsenal number 10 with a beautifully placed finish from the edge of the box to the bottom corner of Mendy’s post.

The first half would not end without Chelsea getting one back when some suspect defending led to Mason Mount putting in a low cross into Arsenal’s box and captain Cesar Azpilicueta sneaking in behind Arsenal fullback Nuno Tavares to grab the equaliser in the 32nd minute.

The second half started on the same note as the first until Nketiah popped up with his second I’m the 57th minute after the Chelsea defenders failed to successfully clear their lines with the young striker relentlessly pressing for possession.

Arsenal then sat back and Chelsea attacked. The Blues could not find a breakthrough and it looked like it was going to end in Arsenal’s favour, only for the Gunners to put a final nail in their coffin when Azpilicueta made a rookie error and brought down Bukayo Saka I’m the penalty area, who stepped up and dispatched the spot kick for the Gunners’ fourth goal.

Arteta praised his team after the game. “What I love is the spirit of these players. When you lose matches you get punished and criticised but with these players I don’t care because they’re growing.

“For us to win a London derby away the way we did it I’m really happy as well.”

Arsenal will now be buoyed to face a struggling Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday as they seek to go closer to their desired top four finish.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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