Jorginho’s defensive howler handed Arsenal a morale-boosting win at Stamford Bridge that saw Chelsea miss an opportunity to effectively wrap up their top four spot.
The Chelsea midfielder, normally so composed on the ball, attempted a no-look back-pass to goalkeeper Kepa, only to discover in horror that the Spaniard had moved wide to offer a passing option, leaving the ball trickling towards an empty net.
Kepa did remarkably well to scramble back and hook the ball off the line, saving Jorginho from one of the all-time great Premier League own-goals, but the keeper succeeded only in palming the ball straight to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who squared for Emile Smith Rowe to tuck home on 16 minutes.
Chelsea thought they were level when Christian Pulisic bundled home at the back stick midway through the second half, only to see his goal correctly chalked off for offside. And Chelsea went close again as the game drifted into stoppage time, with Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud both hitting the bar in quick succession.
But, despite dominating possession and territory for much of the match, Thomas Tuchel’s side failed to break down the visitors’ deep-lying defence as the much-changed Chelsea line-up were left looking frustrated at full-time.
The result leaves the Blues still potentially in danger of being caught in the top four race. Wins in their remaining matches would still see Tuchel’s team secure one of those berths, but this result gives chasing West Ham United and Liverpool a glimmer of hope.
Arsenal’s win moves them to within a point of neighbours Spurs as Mikel Arteta’s side look to end a disappointing season on a morale-boosting high.
Talking Point – Did Chelsea lose their focus?
There were some flashes of quality from Chelsea on the night, with the first-half front three of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic all lively in patches. But this was a performance that screamed of a squad with their mind elsewhere. Gone was the intensity and zip we’ve come to expect of Chelsea in recent months. And their laboured build-up play failed to break down an impressive but vulnerable Arsenal back-line. Tuchel will be hoping that he can get his players back to their best in time for the weekend’s FA Cup final (and a certain other final later in the month).
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Man of the Match – Bernd Leno (Arsenal)
The Arsenal keeper marshalled his defence well, particularly when they dropped nervously deep during the second half. But the moment that defined his match came late on, when a brilliant fingertip stop saw him tip Kurt Zouma’s goalbound header onto the crossbar.
Arsenal: Leno 7, Holding 6, Gabriel 6, Pablo Mari 6, Tierney 5, Partey 7, Elneny 5, Saka 5, Odegaard 4, Smith-Rowe 7, Aubameyang 6. Subs: Bellerin 6, Lacazette 6, Chambers 6
11’ – Mari dawdles on the ball at the back and Havertz swoops, nicking it off him and bearing down on goal one-on-one. He should score, but fails to hit the target.
16’ GOAL! – Arsenal have the lead and it’s a gift! Jorginho looks to play back to Kepa, but the keeper had moved out wide to create a better angle. The Chelsea stopper scrambles to keep the ball out, but succeeds in only flicking it straight to Aubameyang, who lays it on a plate for Smith Rowe. 1-0!
22’ – It’s Mount again, who is floating into such dangerous positions for Chelsea in the final third. His effort from close range is blocked. The replay of the Mount effort shows that it struck the hand of Holding to keep it out. Presumably the ‘natural position’ thinking is what stopped VAR from getting involved, but that’s perhaps a let-off for the Gunners.
26’ – It’s Mount again, shooting across goal after great work by Havertz, but Leno makes the save. The young Englishman will feel he should probably have scored there.
60’ – Chelsea think they are level as a corner is flicked on and an unmarked Pulisic turns it home at the back post. But Pulisic was miles off when the ball was flicked on, and the goal is chalked off.
90’ – How did that not go in for Chelsea? Zouma loops a brilliant header over Leno and off the bar (via a crucial touch from the keeper), and on the rebound Giroud turns a shot from a tight angle back off the crossbar for a second time in quick succession. Remarkable!
Stats and Facts
Chelsea have been behind at half-time in eight Premier League games this season and have gone on to lose all eight.
This was Arsenal’s first league win at Stamford Bridge since 2011 and their first Premier League double over Chelsea since 2004.