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Arsenal sweep aside Chelsea to go third

Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil scored his first goal at Emirates Stadium in 2016 during Arsenal’s win over Chelsea

Arsenal produced a devastating first-half display to dismantle Chelsea and secure a fourth successive Premier League win.

Alexis Sanchez took advantage of Gary Cahill’s error to race clear and lift a composed finish over Thibaut Courtois after 11 minutes, and Theo Walcott completed a brilliant move to steer in Hector Bellerin’s pass three minutes later.

Mesut Ozil then left N’Golo Kante trailing to expose Chelsea on the counter-attack and steer home Arsenal’s third five minutes before the break, after an exchange with Sanchez.

It was little more than damage limitation for Chelsea after that as they fell to their second league loss in a row as rampant Arsenal moved third in the table.

Same old Arsenal?

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Alexis Sanchez has scored 47 goals in his first 100 appearances for Arsenal, one fewer than Thierry Henry managed

Arsenal, for all Chelsea’s obvious frailties, were simply untouchable from back to front in a magnificent first 45 minutes that revived memories of their finest days.

The Gunners showed pace, skill, pressed Chelsea into submission and probed weaknesses ruthlessly in the manner of a team at the top of its game.

Arsenal’s fans, so often frustrated and having already expressed their discontent at home this season, left Emirates Stadium with a spring in their step and sharing the optimism expressed by manager Arsene Wenger.

He wrote in his programme notes: “We feel as though we are on the way up.”

This was a performance that spoke eloquently on behalf of Wenger’s theory – with the proviso Gunnners fans have heard this talk before only to be disappointed.

This, however, was a magnificent exhibition of power, pace and end product, from the skills of Sanchez and Ozil in attack to the lightning speed and tackling of Bellerin at the back.

It was as complete an Arsenal performance as they have delivered for some time. Now can they build on the platform laid by this brilliant 90 minutes?

Chelsea look broken

Chelsea looked an old and jaded side when faced with Liverpool’s intense, aggressive approach at Stamford Bridge last week, their first loss under Antonio Conte.

This was, arguably, an even more harrowing experience and a stark illustration of the job the Italian must do to revive Chelsea.

Conte will know the pressures that come with managing under demanding owner Roman Abramovich, but the man who impressed so much in charge of Juventus and Italy must be given time to address so many problems.

Chelsea still rely so heavily on 35-year-old captain John Terry, out injured here, while elements of the side that looked so strong winning the title the season before last are crumbling.

Branislav Ivanovic had a miserable game but it was even worse for England defender Cahill, who was responsible for Sanchez’s opener and also involved in an arm-waving spat with Courtois after a breakdown in communication in the second half

Kante does not have the energy and support he had in midfield at Leicester City, with Nemanja Matic laboured and Cesc Fabregas off the pace and substituted. The hero of last season’s title win was left trailing in Ozil’s wake for Arsenal’s third.

Eden Hazard has regressed again while Diego Costa’s only serious contribution was to conduct another war against the world.

In other words, Conte has a large job on his hands.

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The above touchmap highlights the performance of Chelsea striker Diego Costa during the second half only. With Arsenal in control, Costa was denied any service and only touched the ball twice in the opponents’ penalty area after the break, often having to come deep or wide in an attempt to get involved

Sanchez and Ozil the key for Arsenal

When Sanchez and Ozil are in this mood, Arsenal are a threat to anyone. The pair are world class when at the peak of their powers – and they certainly were here.

Sanchez hurried Cahill into a panic before a gloriously composed chip for Arsenal’s first, and he and Ozil combined to leave Chelsea’s defence embarrassed as the latter scored the third.

Arsenal were outstanding in all areas – but Sanchez and Ozil provided the final flourishes with the sort of class that makes them central figures in all Wenger is trying to achieve this season.

Man of the match – Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

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Ozil’s goal against Chelsea was his second of the season

The stats you need to know

  • Arsene Wenger inflicted Antonio Conte’s heaviest league defeat since October 2010, when he was manager of Siena (3-0 loss to Empoli).
  • Chelsea found themselves three goals down at half-time in a Premier League game for the first time since May 2012 (v Liverpool, 4-1 FT).
  • This was the first time since October 2012 v Manchester United the Blues had conceded twice in the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League game.
  • This is Arsene Wenger’s first win over Chelsea in the league since October 2011 (drew three, lost six).
  • Chelsea’s first shot on target came in the 82nd minute.
  • Hector Bellerin has provided more assists than any other Premier League defender since the start of last season (six).
  • Theo Walcott scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since May 2013 (three in a row for the Gunners).

What they said?

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: “It was an outstanding team performance. We played with spirit and collective pace and movement, always in a positive and committed team way.

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Wenger hails ‘outstanding’ Arsenal display

“Our defenders have done extremely well. You cannot say one player was not at the right level from Petr Cech to Alexis Sanchez.

“We wanted to start strong in a high pace and committed way. We started wobbly in the first 20 minutes against Southampton. We wanted to be consistent in our pressure no matter the score. We did it very well in the first half. It was in and out in the second, which was understandable.

“Ideally you want the perfect game and you never get it. We got nearly the perfect first half and that is not bad. Football doesn’t care for history and the anniversaries, just the result on the day. Today we had a good performance.”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “I think that we didn’t have the right attitude from the first minute.

“After today we are thinking we must work a lot because we are a great team only on paper. It is always a team problem rather than individuals, When nothing works it is very hard for a player to play well.

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Bad attitude cost Chelsea – Conte

“I don’t want to talk about the mistake [from Gary Cahill]. It is not right for the player. We win and lose as a team. If someone thinks this team is ready to fight, I think we must wait to improve a lot to come back a great team on the pitch, not just on paper.

“We have not got the balance and now is the moment to consider everything. It is incredible to concede three goals. We must have last season present in our mind to not repeat the mistakes. We must reflect a lot to find very soon the right way.”

What’s next?

Arsenal are involved in Champions League action on Wednesday with a home tie against Swiss side Basel (19:45 BST). Chelsea are not playing again until Saturday, when they visit Hull in the Premier League (15:00).

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 3, Chelsea 0.

Second Half ends, Arsenal 3, Chelsea 0.

Foul by César Azpilicueta (Chelsea).

Mesut Özil (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Marcos Alonso.

Attempt missed. Pedro (Chelsea) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Nemanja Matic.

Attempt missed. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Kieran Gibbs with a cross.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Petr Cech.

Attempt saved. Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by David Luiz with a through ball.

Diego Costa (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.

Diego Costa (Chelsea).

(Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Substitution, Arsenal. Olivier Giroud replaces Alexis Sánchez.

Attempt missed. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) left footed shot from long range on the left is too high. Assisted by Kieran Gibbs.

Offside, Arsenal. Alexis Sánchez tries a through ball, but Mesut Özil is caught offside.

Offside, Arsenal. Granit Xhaka tries a through ball, but Santiago Cazorla is caught offside.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Marcos Alonso.

Substitution, Chelsea. Michy Batshuayi replaces Eden Hazard.

Substitution, Chelsea. Pedro replaces Willian.

Substitution, Arsenal. Kieran Gibbs replaces Alex Iwobi.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Thibaut Courtois.

Attempt saved. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Alex Iwobi.

Foul by Diego Costa (Chelsea).

Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Willian.

Willian (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Attempt missed. Diego Costa (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by César Azpilicueta with a cross.

Hand ball by Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal).

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Branislav Ivanovic.

Attempt missed. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Substitution, Chelsea. Marcos Alonso replaces Cesc Fàbregas.

Offside, Chelsea. Cesc Fàbregas tries a through ball, but Eden Hazard is caught offside.

Offside, Arsenal. Alexis Sánchez tries a through ball, but Mesut Özil is caught offside.

Offside, Chelsea. Gary Cahill tries a through ball, but Diego Costa is caught offside.

Offside, Arsenal. Nacho Monreal tries a through ball, but Alex Iwobi is caught offside.

Second Half begins Arsenal 3, Chelsea 0.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37393486