Arsenal thrash Chelsea 5-0 to open up Premier League lead

Arsenal humiliate Chelsea

Arsenal moved three points clear at the top of the Premier League and made a potentially significant improvement to their goal difference with a crushing victory over Chelsea at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners backed up their win at Wolverhampton Wanderers with an emphatic performance, helped by a dreadful display from a Chelsea side that looked like they wanted the season to end now after their FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City.

Arsenal suffered last week with a home Premier League defeat by Aston Villa and a Champions League quarter-final exit to Bayern Munich but the manner of this win demonstrated that title momentum is now back with Mikel Arteta’s team.

Leandro Trossard settled any early nerves when he beat Chelsea keeper Djordje Petrovic at his near post and while the visitors occasionally threatened in the first half, Nicolas Jackson missing a clear headed chance, Arsenal simply ran riot after the break.

The second goal Arsenal craved came as Ben White turned in after Chelsea failed to clear a corner before former Stamford Bridge forward Kai Havertz struck twice in eight minutes, the second a quite sumptuous finish from Martin Odegaard’s magnificent pass.

As Chelsea subsided in embarrassing fashion, White looped his second over Petrovic. It pushed their goal difference up to +56 – 13 better than Liverpool’s and 12 ahead of Manchester City—on what was pretty much the perfect night for Arsenal.

Arsenal back on track

Arsenal supporters may have viewed this meeting with capital rivals Chelsea with a degree of trepidation after they slipped badly and were outplayed by Aston Villa in their last league game at Emirates Stadium, when it looked like the tension of life at the top got to them.

The Gunners needed a fast start, which Trossard’s goal gave them, and after that they slowly but surely rediscovered the fluency and threat that looked like it had deserted them.

Arteta’s side found hapless Chelsea compliant opponents but the swagger they displayed as they piled on the goals in the second half will have done wonders for self-confidence before Sunday’s crunch north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur.

At the heart of it all was captain Odegaard, composed and oozing class throughout, his delivery for Havertz’s second goal an elite moment as it allowed the German to run on and fire high past Petrovic.

Every game is seen through the prism of a test of Arsenal’s character after the manner of their late collapse last season, along with recent setbacks, but the win at Wolves and thrashing handed out to Chelsea here showed the resilience that has grown in this season.

They could have actually made this a more convincing scoreline such as their superiority, and the fact that Havertz was on the scoresheet twice against his former club, after a first-half performance that can be politely described as lacklustre, only added to the sweetness of victory.

The game at Spurs on Sunday will have huge ramifications for both teams and the Premier League title race but Arsenal’s spirits will be soaring after this result and performance.

Chelsea’s shambolic show

The banner held aloft by a young supporter watching Mauricio Pochettino’s side chuck in the towel said it all: “I don’t want your shirt. I want you to fight for ours.”

He will have left Emirates Stadium sorely disappointed after a gutless shambles of an effort from Chelsea, who could easily have suffered greater humiliation had Arsenal taken all their chances.

They actually had moments in the first half but the manner in which they effectively gave up once White made it 2-0 made for disturbing viewing for anyone of a Chelsea persuasion.

They were without talisman and leading goalscorer Cole Palmer, missing because of illness, but those on pitch made a mockery of Pochettino’s pre-match claim that it was time to show they were not a one-man team.

It was another miserable night for Jackson, culpable in the Wembley loss to Manchester City, as he looked stripped of confidence and missed good opportunities that came his way.

Pochettino could only look on with disgust as his side were torn apart by Arsenal. If this was the end result of the wild spending spree embarked upon in the Todd Boehly era, then it carried all the hallmarks of money very badly spent by Chelsea’s owners.

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