Eddie Nketiah bagged a double while Bukayo Saka also impressed as Arsenal thumped Chelsea 4-2 in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Coming into the game after a series of poor results, Arsenal had a daunting task ahead of themselves against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. However, just 13 minutes in, the Gunners were in front as Eddie Nketiah capitalised on a shocking error from Andreas Christensen to put the ball past Edouard Mendy. The lead lasted just four minutes, though, as Timo Werner levelled things up for Chelsea via a deflected effort.
But ten minutes later, Arsenal were back in front again, with Emile Smith Rowe curling home a low finish from just outside the box. However, Chelsea struck back almost immediately yet again, with captain Cesar Azpilicueta turning the ball home from Mason Mount’s cross. Arsenal came close again soon after the through Nketiah, while Smith Rowe also saw an effort go wide as the scoreline remained 2-2 at half-time.
The start to the second half was not lively as the first, but Arsenal again found a way to eke ahead as Nketiah prodded home his second of the night from inside the box after some calamitous defending from Malang Sarr. Chelsea pushed for a third equaliser, but Arsenal held firm, restricting their hosts to speculative efforts before Bukayo Saka killed the tie off from the penalty spot in stoppage-time, making it 4-2.
With the victory, Arsenal moved level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur while opening up a three-point lead over Manchester United in sixth. The win ensured that Mikel Arteta’s men remain alive in the top-four battle. As for Chelsea, it could jeopardise their grip on third place with tricky fixtures against West Ham United, Manchester United, Everton and Wolves coming up ahead.
Here are our player ratings for both sets of players after an entertaining encounter at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Edouard Mendy: 4/10
While he was not majorly at fault for any of the goals that Chelsea conceded, he still let in four goals and looked very nervy and indecisive on occasions. However, a large share of the blame for Wednesday’s debacle lies on the defence in front of him.
Reece James: 5/10
Once again fielded as the right-sided centre-back, James did not offer the same level of assurance that he did in the last couple of games. His positioning wasn’t always accurate, as Arsenal looked a threat each time they pushed forward. The Englishman moved to his wing-back role in the second half and looked purposeful, creating a chance and having a go at goal himself.
Andreas Christensen: 3/10
— Keith Ozil (@KeithOzilDsouza) April 20, 2022
After a solid display against Crystal Palace over the weekend, Christensen put in a disastrous performance on Wednesday night. The Dane was responsible for the opening goal for Arsenal as his terrible under-hit pass allowed Nketiah to pounce on the ball and beat Mendy. He did not look composed enough after that and was rightly subbed off at half-time.
Malang Sarr: 3/10
With Antonio Rudiger ruled out for the game, Thomas Tuchel opted to replace him with Malang Sarr, who was all over the place. The Frenchman never looked comfortable against the dual threat of Saka and Martin Odegaard. He got booked for a poor foul on the former and could not clear the ball in the lead-up to Nketiah’s second.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 4.5/10
The Chelsea skipper continued at right wing-back again and took his goal well in the first period. However, his poor pass sparked the move for Arsenal’s third in the second half. He also gave away the late penalty, which Saka converted to make it 4-2.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 5/10
The academy graduate was handed a start after his exploits in the FA Cup semi-finals, and he looked good in the initial stages, putting the Arsenal players under pressure, forcing mistakes, with one such moment leading to Werner’s goal. He also offered some marauding forward runs, but Loftus-Cheek’s influence waned as the game wore on.
N’Golo Kante: 4/10
An uncharacteristic display from Kante, who was reinstated into the starting XI at the expense of Jorginho. The Frenchman could not stem the flow of Arsenal’s attacks in midfield and looked unsure when in possession. He did make one or two surging runs forward, but that did little to impact the flow of the game. His recent nosedive in form should be a worry for Chelsea.
🗣️ "The amount of individual mistakes… No team can overcome three individual mistakes like this, impossible."
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) April 20, 2022
Marcos Alonso: 5/10
The Spaniard offered good attacking impetus down the left flank and even came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. However, the defensive side of his performance left a lot to be desired as Alonso could not cope with the trickery of Saka.
Mason Mount: 6.5/10
Making his 100th Premier League appearance, the Chelsea academy graduate looked lively and went about pressing the Arsenal players with intent. He set Azpilicueta up for the Blues’ second goal with a fine cross and continued to push the team to try and make things happen. However, he was a little subdued in the latter stages as Arsenal became more compact.
Romelu Lukaku: 4/10
Tuchel gave Lukaku a big opportunity to prove himself on Wednesday but the Belgian failed to make any sort of impact. There were a few occasions when he exhibited good hold-up play. But apart from that, Chelsea’s record signing was a peripheral figure and failed to get a single shot on target before being taken off for Kai Havertz.
Timo Werner: 7/10
Timo Werner deserves some Shout-Out. pic.twitter.com/6DFyu6OSfR
— Mwas Mchelsea (@MwasMchelsea__) April 20, 2022
The Player to Watch in our match preview, Werner continued his recent good run of form with another sharp display in the final third. The German was full of energy as he closed down Arsenal players with purpose, tracked back effectively and got himself on the scoresheet again, albeit via a deflection. While he was not as lively after the break, the much-maligned forward continued to put in the efforts.
Thiago Silva: 6/10
The veteran defender replaced Christensen at half-time. Silva made a vital challenge on Nketiah in the lead-up to Arsenal’s third but was let down by Sarr.
Kai Havertz: 5/10
Havertz came on for Lukaku at the hour mark but could not inspire a turnaround as Arsenal shut up shop.
Hakim Ziyech: N/A
Late substitute for Alonso.
Arsenal Player Ratings
Aaron Ramsdale: 5/10
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) April 20, 2022
The Arsenal goalkeeper could have reacted a bit faster to Werner’s deflected strike in the first period. There were occasions when he needed to show more command in his box against crosses while his kicking wasn’t as accurate.
Ben White: 6/10
Starting as the right-sided centre-back, White went down a bit too easily in the buildup to the second goal for Chelsea. However, he recovered well and looked much more solid once deployed as an out-and-out right-back.
Rob Holding: 6/10
Starting his first Premier League match since January, Holding had a nervy start to the game and looked a bit shaky in the initial stages. However, he grew stronger with time and won a fair share of his duels in the second period as Chelsea pushed for an equaliser.
Gabriel Magalhaes: 7/10
A good display from the Brazilian, who was not responsible for either goal Arsenal conceded on the night. He also produced a vital clearance off the line to keep out Mason Mount’s inswinging corner early in the game.
Bukayo Saka: 8/10
Believe ! pic.twitter.com/rHBUdxIQ1p
— Bukayo Saka (@BukayoSaka87) April 20, 2022
Deployed in a fairly unfamiliar role as the right wing-back, Saka demonstrated his adaptability on the night before moving to his natural position in the final third. He tormented Marcos Alonso with his directness and pace. There were one or two iffy moments defensively, but he more than made up for it with his attacking contributions. The Englishman won the late penalty and converted it to make it 4-2.
Mohamed Elneny: 6.5/10
Making a rare appearance owing to the absence of Thomas Partey, Elneny made the most of his opportunity at Stamford Bridge. The Egyptian midfielder covered plenty of ground and put out a lot of fires with key interventions. He also offered a sense of composure when on the ball. Solid if not spectacular.
Granit Xhaka: 7/10
The Swiss ace should have done more to block Werner’s shot for the first goal instead of turning his back and seeing it get deflected off him and into the net. However, it was Xhaka who started the move for Arsenal’s second goal, nutmegging Marcos Alonso before making a driving run forward. The midfielder continued to battle hard after the break and did not give Chelsea an inch when they pushed for a way back.
Granit Xhaka, take a bow. pic.twitter.com/BDDbjusvJ2
— Ydot😒 (@btwtheliness) April 20, 2022
Nuno Tavares: 6/10
Another game where his lack of defensive nous hurt Arsenal as he failed to track Azpilicueta for Chelsea’s second goal. But Tavares provided a decent attacking outlet on the left side and sent a few dangerous balls into the box. He also won the ball and started the move for the Gunners’ third goal.
Martin Odegaard: 7/10
Captaining the side on the night, Odegaard looked up to the challenge as he acted as Arsenal’s main chance-creator, picking up the ball and driving at Chelsea while trying to play defence-splitting passes. The Norwegian got the assist for the second goal and created many chances, while his work rate off the ball was impressive as well.
Emile Smith Rowe: 7.5/10
The Arsenal academy graduate made his return to the starting XI and looked confident from the get-go, with his ball control in tight spaces standing out. Smith Rowe made it 2-1 for Arsenal in the first half with a brilliantly-taken finish and caused Chelsea problems for the majority of the game. It will do his confidence a world of good after some dodgy displays in recent times.
Goals for Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe 🔥
The Hale End boys running riot 😍 pic.twitter.com/69tntU7TSS
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) April 20, 2022
Eddie Nketiah: 9/10
Starting again due to Alexandre Lacazette’s fitness issues, Nketiah looked much sharper than he did against Southampton. He justified his inclusion over Gabriel Martinelli with a match-defining performance as he was a constant thorn in the side for Chelsea with his pressing from the front, energy and movement.
The Arsenal academy man showed good alertness to pounce on Christensen’s mistake to open the scoring and capitalised on another error in the second period to double his tally. He was at fault for Chelsea’s opener but certainly redeemed himself.
Gabriel Martinelli: 6/10
Came on for Nketiah in the 70th minute and looked lively.
Cedric Soares: 6/10
On for Smith Rowe for the final 15 minutes. He helped Arsenal see out the game.
Alexandre Lacazette: N/A
Late sub for Saka.