Ten man Arsenal snatch a draw at Chelsea
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea faced Arsenal for a match that marked their two hundredth competitive meeting. During the opening minute, Gabriel Martinelli found Bukayo Saka, who slashed the ball over to the right. On seven minutes, after Callum Hudson-Odoi combined with Cesar Azpilicueta, a strike by Mateo Kovacic cannoned into Shkodran Mustafi, who was left winded on the floor. Later on, Azpilicueta pushed Lucas Torreira in the face. Then from an Emerson corner and missed header by Antonio Rudiger, a bobbling strike from Andreas Christensen, rose over to the right. On the quarter of the hour mark, following a cross by Hudson-Odoi and knock on from Rudiger, a header by Tammy Abraham was caught on the line by Bernd Leno. Two minutes later, Willian collected a pass by Emerson, before from an acute angle, Hudson-Odoi, struck the top of the outside crossbar. Emerson got the first booking for turning over Nicolas Pepe. In the twenty second minute, Willian linked play with Emerson, whose ball into the area was cut out by Granit Xhaka. However in the twenty sixth minute, a sloppy back pass by Mustafi, set free Abraham free, who drifted past Leno, before being brought down by David Luiz, who got a straight red card from referee Stuart Attwell, against his former Blues, and Jorginho stepped up to slot the spot kick, into the bottom right corner. In the thirty second minute, through an assist by N’Golo Kante, a clean strike from Hudson-Odoi, outside the area, was palmed away by Leno, as he dived to his right. On forty three minutes, from a delivery by Emerson, a rising header by Rudiger, flew over the top of the upright. Just before the break, through a Hudson-Odoi cross, a miss placed header by Kovacic missed to the left. At the start of the second half, Christensen rammed Martinelli into the right side of the advertising boards, but he went unscathed. Arsenal later made a change of Matteo Guendouzi for Mesut Ozil. In the fifty ninth minute, Hudson-Odoi teed up Azpilicueta at a tight angle, who drove the ball into Leno. The next yellow card went to Christensen for dragging over Alexandre Lacazette. But the ten men of Arsenal found a route back into the game, when Willian’s corner was headed out by Mustafi, and like a march hare, Martinelli charged through, as Kante slipped, and after covering the length of the pitch, Martinelli tucked the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga, into the net on sixty three minutes. The Blues looked for a quick response as Willian combined with Kovacic, before at distance, Rudiger tested Leno. Chelsea then took off Kovacic for Ross Barkley and afterwards replaced Kante with Mason Mount. In the seventy third minute, from a Christensen through ball, a rasping strike by Willian was blocked by Leno. The next caution went to Guendouzi after bringing over Mount, and from Emerson’s free kick, the ball was headed by Abraham, into the clutches of Leno, in the seventy seventh minute. The Blues next change was Michy Batshuayi for Willian. Three minutes later, from Jorginho’s looping delivery, a header by Barkley, was clawed away from the bottom left post with a reaction save by Leno. The Gunners then brought on Rob Holding for Pepe. There was concern for Chelsea as Abraham was pushed behind the goal by Holding, but it soon turned to joy, as from Mount’s resulting corner, the ball was put in from Hudson-Odoi, and an unmarked Azpilicueta turned the ball into the bottom left corner, on eighty four minutes. But again Arsenal drew level, when from Saka’s pass, Torreira found Hector Bellerin, out on the right, who struck a low drive into the bottom left corner, in the eighty seventh minute. The Blues responded when Hudson-Odoi’s over the top delivery was skied over to the right by Batshuayi. Near the end, Joe Willock took over from Martinelli. In stoppage time, from Mount’s corner, Hudson-Odoi’s shot drifted out of play as Chelsea and Arsenal ended 2-2 on a January night at Stamford Bridge.