The boxing day encounter was everything Arsenal have hardly achieved so far this season. For instance, in the 4 matches Arsenal managed to win out of the 14 Premier League games they played before they hosted Chelsea at the Emirate Stadium, they have never gone 2 goals up in the first half, they achieved that against Chelsea.
More so, the last time Arsenal scored up to three goals against a Premier League club in a league match was on September 12, 2020, when they defeated newly-promoted Fulham 3-0 in their first league match of the season. Also, the last time coach Mikel Arteta and his boys enjoyed victory in the league before they met Chelsea was on November 1, 2020, when they stunned Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford.
The win over Chelsea was Arsenal’s first victory in December and coach Mikel Arteta described it as a turning point because before the match, everything looked like the only way for Arsenal was to go down to the relegation zone.
Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty in the 34th minute gave Arsenal hope of turning things around after suffering 5 defeats and two draws in their last seven Premier League games.
To make it more beautiful for Mikel Arteta that has been under intense pressure, Granit Xhaka’s free-kick made it two for Arsenal in the 44th minute while Chelsea continued to enjoy the possession around their half without creating any threatening goalscoring opportunity.
The second half resumed and Chelsea continued to show their lack of direction kind of football which Bukayo Saka took advantage of in the 56th minute by scoring a long-range lob over Edouard Mendy to make it three for Chelsea.
From that point, Chelsea started to play a more purposeful kind of football which produced their first goal of the match in the 85th minute through the chest of Tammy Abraham. But that proved not to be enough to engineer any comeback.
Even a late minute penalty awarded to Chelsea could not change much as Jorginho’s spot-kick proved to be too weak to go pass untroubled Bernd Leno.
At the end of 90 minutes of football, Arsenal gave their fans an unexpected 3-1 Christmas gift which has moved them from the 15th spot on the league table to the 14th spot with 17 points in 15 league games, 6 points away from the relegation zone, and 11 points away from the top-four.
The boxing day victory means Arsenal have recorded a total of 5 league victories, two draws, and 8 defeats which is still fair enough to keep Mikel Arteta in charge of the resuscitating club.
“It’s a really big win for us. We were really disappointed with the results – not so much the performances. Our players were suffering, our fans were suffering”, Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports after the match.
“It doesn’t get any better than winning a London derby against Chelsea on Boxing Day. Hopefully, this is a turning point. I know they can play at this level. We know how good Chelsea are but big moments in the game we were the better team.
“The injuries, the Covid, playing 10 men…you start to think what do we need to win a match.
“It’s nice to give something back to fans because I can imagine they have been really disappointed. We started well and we were dominant. That gives the team confidence.
“Let’s carry on. We still have big things to improve on.”