Date: 3rd January 2018 at 9:48pm
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The first of three games Chelsea have with Arsenal took place at the Emirates this evening. With the Carabao Cup double header due later in the month, this game was always going to be viewed as the most important.

Both sides started with strong starting XI`s. Games between the two clubs, in the past, have been feisty affairs. Chelsea have had David Luiz, Pedro and Victor Moses dismissed in recent games.

Arsenal kicked off the game and for the first ten minutes the two teams were like boxers, eyeing each other up. It was a pacey start though, both sides created chances as the game ebbed and flowed between ends.

A mistake in Arsenal`s backline allowed Alvaro Morata, who`d dropped into space in his own half, to have a run on Petr Cech, as the Spaniard neared Chelsea`s ex No.1, he stabbed the ball wide of the goal. It should have been 1-0.

A low ball into the box by Victor Moses also saw Morata get close to clipping the ball at Cech`s feet. Straight up the other end and Thibaut Courtois was called into action. He superbly pushed away an Alexis Sanchez effort that rebounded from post to post, along the goal line and into his arms. He celebrated like he`d scored, and why not. Another diving save from Alexandre Lacazette followed shortly after.

The first 25 minutes belonged to Arsenal, Chelsea had shown touches of promise but it was the Gunners making most of the running. One positive for Chelsea, was when Eden Hazard had the ball, which wasn`t that often, the Arsenal players were terrified to touch him. Another positive was Tiemoue Bakayoko having a shot on target.

First yellow card of the game went to Arsenal`s Jack Wilshere who went in late on ex-Arsenal man Cesc Fabregas. An unusual tactic, if it was a tactic, that Antonio Conte was employing was his use of Bakayoko. The big Frenchman was often the furthest Chelsea player forward. Could Baka become a box-to-box midfielder? He has a little way to go before he reaches the heights of Frank Lampard.

It was the big man who won a free-kick that gave dead ball specialist Marcos Alonso, his first sight on goal. It was right on the edge of the box and you could say it was too close to the goal. As it turned out, that was the case, as Alonso fired the ball into the stand behind the goal.

Second yellow card of the game was a reversal of the first, Fabregas on Wilshere, the Spaniard was harshly carded for simply going for the ball as Wilshere tumbled over his leg.

On the stroke of half-time N`golo Kante broke up play and set Chelsea on break, neat play by Hazard saw him him back heal the ball for Fabregas to fire wide.

Half-time 0-0

In the first half Chelsea didn`t show enough composure in front of goal, it they were to get a result that would have to change in the second period. With the chances they`d had, Arsenal seemed almost bound to find the net at some point.

There were no changes for either side going into the half. The first real chance of the half came for Eden Hazard a Fabregas through ball allowed Hazard a run at Cech and he fired the ball low which Cech saved with his legs. Minutes later the Czech keeper got down well to push a goalbound Alonso header away after the Spaniard gave it the ‘full Kevin Keegan`.

At the other end, Tibo saved once again from Lacazette, whilst, Jack Wilshere was lucky to stay on the field, being fortunate to not get another yellow for simulation, on the edge of Chelsea`s box.

Antonio Conte made his first substitution on 57 minutes, taking off the ineffective Victor Moses and replacing him with Davide Zappacosta. In a game that was all about the keepers, Courtois had no chance with the effort that eventually saw Arsenal take the lead.

Jack Wilshere fired the Gunners ahead, giving the Belgian no chance as the ball smashed into the net. The irony of the scorer being, that he shouldn`t have been on the pitch.

The lead didn`t last long though, Eden Hazard was fouled in the penalty area and it was the Belgian captain, who calmly stepped up and slotted past Cech. On the touchline Arsene Wenger was apoplectic with rage, as angry as Conte should have been for Wilshere`s goal. Swings and roundabouts Arsene>

Morata had another one on one with Cech that he again failed to convert, although he had been pushed wide of the goal.

It was a tense, as well as an intense London Derby, it was edge of the seat stuff. Both sides were pushing for a win. Conte replaced Fabregas with Danny Drinkwater. As ever, it was Eden Hazard who was the main provider of Chelsea chances, a deft back heel played in Morata, who ran at goal and he cross was cut out by Cech with Hazard close by.

All that made Conte`s final switch, all the more strange?.or did it… Willian came on Hazard. Within two minutes Chelsea led. Willian played a crossfield pass to Zappacosta, who fired a cross into the box, that Marcos Alonso somehow managed to direct into the Arsenal goal. The nervy game was becoming an exceptionally nervy game. Arsenal still pressed. There were four minutes of added time. It was torture for a Chelsea fan, this one anyway.

The inevitable happened with three minutes left, the ball flew out of Chelsea`s penalty area and fell to Hector Bellerin, who stroked the ball past Courtois.

Chelsea had a chance to win the game from the re-start when, once again, Morata found himself facing down Petr Cech. Once again the Spaniard fluffed his lines. The rebound though, came to Davide Zappacosta, who smashed an effort on to Cech`s crossbar. It was Arsenal then, that pressed for a winner, fortunately it didn`t come.

So often these games between the top six sides are a bore-fest, that was certainly not the case with this one. This was a Premier League game to be proud of. The only downside being Alvaro Morata`s inability to finish.

The two teams meet again at Stamford Bridge, in the semi-final if the Carabao Cup at Stamford Bridge. It surely won`t be as intense.

Final score 2-2


40 Replies to “Chelsea Slug Out A Draw At The Emirates”

  • Awesome match …. 2 pts dropped looking to the excellent chances we had …. its a real dog fight for the remaining 3 CL places …. hope these 2 pts are not crucial at the end ….

  • Probably a fair result, but disappointingly a missed opportunity to go second. Morata get your act together you were awful tonight and cost us the game!

  • Morata was really bad in his finishing today …. Costa would have converted at least one of the 3 excellent chances Morata had …. that said, the fact he gets these chances shows he gets into good
    scoring positions, so some more work on this & he can be a top centre forward.

  • It is surprising that Eden Hazard have always to be substituted by Conte. May someone can shed some light on what I miss. Fabrigas should not be starting against his former club Arsenal, they really get fired up and he becomes nervous.

  • Morata behaves like someone who is pampered. He should have been substituted instead of Hazard for me.

  • people said we needed a backup for Morata but from what I’ve seen today we don’t need a backup but a replacement. How can a striker miss 6 one on ones in two games in a week. What is this? Total waste. Tbo was splendid today. May I ask how much we selling him for

  • yes we need total replacement for both morata and batshuayi. the two are useless, morata is a fraud.

  • This Morata is turning out to be an inconsistent striker!! He seems to have lost his confidence finishing at the vital moment. He’s simply ain’t good enough being a $60 m pound striker!! Hate comparing him to Costa, but while Costa is always looking for trouble intimidating the opposite team, Morata is more and more a “crying baby, dropping at the slightest of touches and hoping for a foul!” Why can’t he go on with the game and start scoring more i/o of looking for a foul!! From the look of Conte’s reaction when Morata couldn’t score on a 1v1, he is bitterly disappointed as well. But with no other striker to replace him apart from Bats, he has no option at the moment. I feel that Morata is not dedicated enough on the game. The way he posts his personal relationship with his wife (now even more because his beloved wife is pregnant) shows that his personal life is interfering with his profession. Conte better sort it out this month, or like everyone else says, Chelsea might not even make the CL spots with Spurs and Liverpool showing consistent scoring form lately. As with Baka and Fab, the less said about them the better. Baka is getting to be useless, and Fab is ever so casual / lazy with his passing in midfield.

  • To be fair Costa, was just as bad in the second half of last season, but i agree Morata is becoming a liability, Moses has been poor since his injury, has not even scored in 13 months . While i do think Baka and Morata will improve, this is a bad time for experiments , and DD should be starting over Baka.

  • A month ago, i thought we would give Barca a real game next month, not so sure now, we have too many passengers on this ship. Today we had seven players who were excellent and five who were middling to abysmal.

  • Blah Blah Blah of course Morata should have scored those chances but the useless comments bout what Costa should have done are pointless he is gone and was not loyal REMEMBER??? As for Bats we only cry for him when Mo isn’t operating well but could he have created those chances to score with his poor 1st touches & bad positioning??? that’s debatable!! Mo just needs to sort out his finishing with those feet plain & simple, anyone with half a footballing brain knows as far as intelligence & & creativity are concerned he is miles ahead of the Batsman, as enthusiastic & lively as he might be on any given day. Mo is still the top dog as for Costa comparisons that’s just stupid.

  • Truthfully speaking, when Morata is on the ball, nobody thinks he can produce anything. He is far from the type of Kane, Salar, Aguero, Sanchez and the like. So what kind of a striker do we have? For me Morata is at the moment best suited as a second striker and not the main striker.

  • Problem he has is that he is more scared of tackles from defenders whenever he has the ball instead of concentrating on beating the goalkeeper.

  • yeah morata shouldn’t be the first striker but the second striker, how many chances does morata need to score just one goal?( countless). when getting to the business stage of the season, the striker is very very vital, because you can’t afford to miss easy goals over and over again and don’t get punished, that’s why am not comfortable with our strikers and we can’t play hazard as a false 9, that isn’t working too for the now. morata too has just added to our many passengers of players. too many average and inconsistent players we have. we need players who are dedicated, once drinkwater came in, I saw dedication from him, not like bakayoko who don’t mark or do anything on the pitch but juggling around, players who don’t need full chance but just halve chances to score a goal and not a striker like morata who needs 10 one vs one to nick one goal.

  • If Demba Ba finished like Morata Liverpool would have been Premier League Champions in 2014. Some absolutely staggering misses. Aren?t you paid the big bucks to stay calm under pressure?

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