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Dublin: 19 °C Wednesday 22 August, 2018
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EIGHT PREMIER LEAGUE matches to bring you news of on this fresh February afternoon and the first one up is undoubtedly the biggest.

Chelsea hold a commanding nine-point advantage at the top of the table at present, and it’s fellow Londoners Tottenham and Arsenal who lead the chasing pack.

The Gunners have arrived at Stamford Bridge for a 12.30pm kick-off and, after Tuesday’s loss at home to Watford, Arsene Wenger could really do with avoiding defeat here.

The teams are in and the home side have made one change with Pedro in for Willian. Theo Walcott, Hector Bellerin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin all return for the visitors with Olivier Giroud, Gabriel and the injured Aaron Ramsey making way.

CHELSEA: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard.

 

ARSENAL: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Oxlade-Chamberlin, Coquelin, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi; Sanchez.

When the teams played back in September, Arsenal claimed a 3-0 victory over Chelsea with goals from Sanchez, Bellerin and Ozil. Antonio Conte has since shored up his defence by switching to a three-man backline, however.

Source: Chelseafc News/YouTube

Arsene Wenger is serving a four-match touchline ban and will be sitting in the stands again today.

Spotter’s badges for those of you who picked out David O’Leary in this pic from Wednesday’s game with Watford at the Emirates.

Arsenal v Watford - Premier League - Emirates Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

Right, predictions please…


Poll Results:





3Mins

KICK-OFF: We’ve begun at the Bridge and it’s Arsenal with an early chance. Courtois plays a risky ball out of defence and Walcott is quickest to pounce, leaving Luiz on the ground.

Iwobi then has a strike on goal but it’s deflected behind for a corner. Promising start.

10Mins

It’s been a fast-paced first ten minutes and the game has been pretty open. Arsenal appear determined to make up for the other night, when they conceded early to Watford, and Sanchez looks in the mood.

11Mins

Chelsea have a free-kick out wide on the right after Koscielny trips Costa. The set piece is whipped into a central area and Cahill rises highest but directs his header into the ground and it bounces over the bar.

Flag 14Mins

GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal (Marcos Alonso) 

The home side are ahead. Costa powers a header onto the bar and Alonso follows up — jumping above Bellerin to nod home the rebound.

His fellow Spaniard has taken a knock in the process and is receiving treatment.

19Mins

More bad news for Arsenal. After going a goal behind, they have just lost their full-back Bellerin after that knock. He heads straight down the tunnel to be replaced by Gabriel.

23Mins

YELLOW CARD – It’s been all Chelsea since the goal. Costa shoots into the side-netting and, minutes later, Mustafi chops down Hazard before picking up the first booking for the day.

28Mins

That was just Alonso’s fourth Premier League goal of the season. And didn’t he enjoy it.

Chelsea v Arsenal - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Source: John Walton

29Mins

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been joined in his box by former Blues strikers Didier Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko. Here’s how they celebrated the opening goal.

Chelsea v Arsenal - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Source: Steven Paston

31Mins

Chelsea break in numbers on the counter-attack and Hazard feeds Costa. The striker should look up and play in Pedro, but instead overruns the ball and is eventually crowded out by a couple of Arsenal defenders.

32Mins

SAVE! Alonso’s cross finds Pedro and his first time effort is stopped by former Chelsea number one Petr Cech.

38Mins

GOOD STOP! Big chance for the Arsenal to level the terms. Gabriel’s header from an Oxlade-Chamberlin ball is on target but Courtois gets a strong hand to it.

48Mins

Decent play from the away team as the half draws to a close. Ozil cuts inside and has a pop but Courtois makes a routine save.

45Mins

Half-time debate: Should Arsenal have had a free-kick for Alonso’s elbow on Bellerin in the lead-up to the goal?

Alonso elbow

45Mins

Prestige Worldwide-wide-wide… Will Ferrell and John C Reilly are in attendance at the Bridge.

Stepbros Source: Twitter/101GreatGoals

Flag 46Mins

SECOND HALF – The game has resumed with Ozil tipping the ball off for Arsenal. A big 45 minutes for the Gunners ahead.

52Mins

A sustained period of pressure from Chelsea, who initially give away possession with a loose pass from Matic. But Pedro works hard to win the ball back before Kante holds up play well and offloads a pass to Hazard, but the Belgian shoots over the bar.

Flag 55Mins

GOAL! Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal (Eden Hazard) 

That’s a truly breath-taking individual goal from Hazard, who goes on a mesmerising run before scuffing his shot beyond Cech. No more than Chelsea deserve.

64Mins

Olivier Giroud is preparing himself for introduction as Wenger looks to shake things up with his side chasing the game.

As I write that, Monreal flashes a ball across the Chelsea goalmouth.

66Mins

SUBSTITUTION – Giroud makes his way onto the field with Coquelin being withdrawn.

69Mins

ANOTHER ARSENAL CHANGE – Walcott, who has been poor on the day, is replaced by Danny Welbeck. 20 minutes for them to rescue something here.

78Mins

Welbeck has injected some urgency into the Arsenal team since coming on and Courtois has to get a good hand to the former Manchester United forward’s header. From the resulting corner, Mustafi meets the ball with his head at the front post but directs the effort wide.

84Mins

DOUBLE CHANGE FOR CHELSEA – Goalscorer Hazard and Pedro are coming off with Cesc Fabregas and Willian taking their place for the closing minutes.

Flag 86Mins

GOAL! Chelsea 3-0 Arsenal (Cesc Fabregas) 

The game was over already, but that’s the cherry on top. Substitute Fabregas, only on the field, is gifted the ball by a terrible pass from Cech. The ex-Arsenal man lobs the ball into an empty net to put Chelsea three goals ahead.

Understandably, a number of Arsenal fans have seen enough.

89Mins

FINAL CHELSEA SUB – Kurt Zouma replaces Moses, as Costa blasts over.

Flag 90Mins

GOAL! Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud) 

The Gunners have one back through their French substitute, but it’s merely a consolation.

Flag 90Mins

Full-time: Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal 

Antonio Conte’s men roll on. 12 points clear at the top now. For Arsenal fans, it’s the same old story.

About the author:

Ben Blake

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