Chelsea played out an enthralling 2-2 draw against Arsenal at the Emirates on Tuesday night on a night when both teams deserved to win but ended up sharing the spoils.
The result leaves Chelsea trailing Manchester United by a point in third while Arsenal are two points adrift of fifth placed Tottenham, who drew against West Ham United on Thursday night.
An exhilarating first half saw both sides at their attacking best. Alvaro Morata had the chance of the day when Calum Chambers let an overhead ball from Victor Moses fly to the Spaniard, who sent his effort agonisingly wide of the post after being one-on-one with Petr Cech.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles was then brought down by Moses inside the penalty area, however the referee waived off the penalty appeal. The 17th minute saw something inexplicable when Sanchez’s shot was parried away by a superb fingertip save from Courtois only to hit both posts and land safely back into his hands.
Quite a few chances went begging in the first half for both the sides, with no end result. After a goalless first half, the second half saw Jack Wilshere open the scoring for the Gunners with a net-busting strike, which was also his first league goal since 2015.
However, three minutes later, Eden Hazard was controversially awarded a penalty after Hector Bellerin appeared to hit on his boot while vying for the ball. And the Belgian made no mistake in scoring from the spot.
Marcos Alonso then gave Chelsea a late lead as he scored from a close range after some excellent play from Davide Zappacosta on the right flank before Bellerin equalized in injury time for the hosts. Let’s look at how the Blues fared against Arsene Wenger’s men.
— Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) January 4, 2018
Thibaut Courtois: 8.5/10
After such a gutsy performance, it’s not hard to see why the likes of Real Madrid are poaching the lanky Belgian. The shot stopper put in a terrific man-of-the-match performance, first denying Alexis Sanchez from a close range with a stupendous save and then keeping Lacazette at bay.
Courtois really couldn’t have done anything for Jack Wilshere and Hector Bellerin’s second half strikes. Roman Abramovich should dig deep a bit more to keep him at the Bridge.
Victor Moses: 5.5/10
Moses had an off day on Wednesday and looked tired throughout his time on the field. The Nigerian was below par against Maitland-Niles and was often beaten by his pace and trickery; was subsequently replaced by Zappacosta in 56th minute.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7.5/10
The ever-reliant Spaniard put in yet another good performance for the Blues. The €7.50 million fee Chelsea paid for him in 2012 looks like bargain of the century. Azpilicueta kept up with the pace and directness of Sanchez and was rarely at fault.
Andreas Christensen: 7.5/10
The Danish International has cemented his place in the starting lineup and put in a calm, composed face. Christensen dealt well with Sanchez and Lacazette, in particular. No doubt, Conte is not worried by David Luiz’s exit rumours.
Gary Cahill: 6.5/10
The Chelsea captain bravely nullified the efforts of Lacazette on several occasions. However, Cahill will be disappointed with the late goal conceded after he gave Bellerin so much space to unleash the long-range shot.
— FootTheBall⚽ (@FootTheBall) January 4, 2018
Marcos Alonso: 7/10
The Spaniard chipped in with a vital second-half goal, but he was offensively anonymous otherwise. Alonso did well to limit Bellerin’s attacking output from the right flank, though. The left-back now has 6 goals from 22 appearances in the Premier League and is rightly a mainstay in the Chelsea lineup.
N’Golo Kante: 7/10
The Frenchman was at his usual best, making interceptions and tackles for fun. Life looks so much easy for Chelsea with him in the side.
Cesc Fabregas: 7.5/10
The ex-Arsenal man was in good form and was to be seen everywhere, right from defending at the back to taking set pieces to playing up front. This work rate was something that was expected from Bakayoko, but it was the Spaniard delivering it.
Apart from fluffing a golden chance, where he lofted the ball over crossbar after some excellent play by Hazard, there was no blot on the Spaniard’s performance, and it was simply majestical to see him play some effortless balls for the likes of Morata, Bakayoko and Hazard.
Tiemoue Bakayoko: 5/10
The Frenchman was completely out-of-sorts throughout the match and wasted a couple of glorious opportunities. One thing is sure, being clinical is not his cup of tea. Bakayoko was largely anonymous in the second half and it was a surprise he wasn’t hooked off by Conte for turning in such a lacklustre performance.
Alvaro Morata: 4/10
The Spaniard was accused of wasting glorious chances in the last match against Stoke and he grabbed the spotlight once again for the same reasons. Morata missed at least three clear cut chances on the night,
The biggest of these came in the dying moments of the match when he stabbed the ball straight into an onrushing Cech – when he could have lofted easily above him and earned a vital 3 points for his side. Despite being pretty agile and covering a good chunk of the field, it is his end product that has been far from impressive.
Eden Hazard: 8/10
Hazard scored Chelsea’s first goal of the night after being fouled by Bellerin in the penalty area. The Belgian put in a masterclass performance and was at his creative best. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get the same support from some of his other teammates.
Davide Zappacosta: 7.5/10
The Italian was brought in for Victor Moses and made an instant impact when he put in a tremendous cross for Chelsea’s second goal of the night. Zappacosta later hit the crossbar with a stinging effort and is surely taking all the steps in the right direction.
Danny Drinkwater: 6.5/10
Brought in for Fabregas at 70th minute mark, the former Leicester man didn’t had much to show.
The Brazilian was brought in for Hazard in the 82nd minute and had a hand in the second Chelsea goal, when his long ball found Zappacosta on the right who swiftly turned past Maitland-Niles and drove in a low cross for Alonso to finish.