Chelsea and Arsenal played out an absorbing 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge as the ten-man Gunners ended the home side’s four game winning run in all competitions.
Both sides missed huge chances in the first half with Pedro and Alexandre Lacazette the guilty parties in an end-to-end first half.
After the break, the chances dried up but Arsenal get their first away point of the season despite David Luiz being sent off late on for the Blues.
There was a nervous tension surrounding the away side before kick-off due to the effects of the 4-0 drubbing by Liverpool a few weeks ago and the nerves meant a testing start for Arsene Wenger’s men. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s confidence was sky high after a resounding victory in Europe on Tuesday and they forced Petr Cech into a good save after just three minutes through Pedro from 25 yards.
The Gunners did settle into the game and forced Chelsea into a few mistakes with a high pressing tactic which produced three good chances in the space of four minutes. Hector Bellerin played a nice one-two with Alex Iwobi and the Spanish wing-back picked out Danny Welbeck’s head with the cross, but the striker nodded wide from 15 yards.
Just after, Aaron Ramsey slid the ball behind Marcus Alonso to meet Bellerin’s run and the pull-back was flashed at goal by Lacazette, but Thibaut Courtois made a smart low save to keep it out. Sead Kolasinac forced Courtois into another diving save moments later, although this time the Belgian goalkeeper was lucky to get away with a parry into a dangerous area.
The game had opened right up but it left Arsenal looking vulnerable on the counter with Cesc Fabregas pulling the strings. The ex-Arsenal captain split the away defence with a pass through to Pedro but the attacker lacked composure as his weak shot was comfortably kept out by the experienced Cech. It was a great chance for the Blues and Antonio Conte will be disappointed in Pedro’s inability to find the net.
Another great chance went begging with four minutes to go until half-time and this time it was Wenger who was disappointed. Ramsey stumbled his way through two weak challenges into the penalty area and when his poked effort came back off the post, Lacazette looked destined to open the scoring but the summer signing blazed over from close range when it looked easier to score.
The second half was bereft of opportunities but Arsenal did get the ball in the net after 75 minutes. Alexis Sanchez’s cross was nodded in by Shkodran Mustafi, but the centre-back’s celebrations were cut short due to the offside flag. Replays showed that it was a correct decision from the officials, but it was the closest either side came to scoring in the final 45 minutes.
Chelsea have been in trouble recently with a number of red cards including two in an opening day defeat to Burnley and they ended the match with ten men here after a nasty tackle by Luiz. The Brazilian defender went in with his studs up on Kolasinac and left Michael Oliver with no choice but to pull out a straight red card. It wasn’t a vicious tackle, but it was certainly dangerous and Oliver made the right call.
In the end, the game ended goalless which is a result Arsenal can be pleased with after a proud away performance while Conte will be furious with his side failing to take control of the game like they should have.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)