Five talking points as rampant Arsenal return to winning ways against Chelsea

Arsenal won the battle of the capital as they captured three Premier League points for the first time in almost three months.

The Gunners had too much for Chelsea at the Emirates as two first-half goals set the tone in a 3-1 win.

Mikel Arteta’s side were good value for their lead with Alexandre Lacazette getting the ball rolling.

Chelsea though were poor as they lost a third league game in a fortnight.

Reece James tripped Kieran Tierney which presented Lacazette with the chance to score from the spot and the hosts never looked back.

Granit Xhaka then struck an excellent second as he curled in a free-kick from 25 yards.

Any second-half rally from the Blues was quickly ended as Bukayo Saka’s cross come shot looped in over a bemused Edouard Mendy.

Former Gunner Olivier Giroud watched on as a substitute as his side tried to find the answers, albeit in vain, that may crack his old one with Tammy Abraham’s late goal little more than a consolation.

Chelsea have no time to lick their wounds however ahead of the busy festive period.

Here are five talking points from north London.

Alexandre Lacazette got the ball rolling from the spot

Arsenal’s defiance 

The Gunners produced a display a million miles removed from the lethargic performances we’ve seen in recent weeks. 

Pressure was, and still is, rightly mounting on Arteta. His side though showed that their quality is not in question and neither is their character. 

Despite the absence of several first team regulars the hosts put in an excellent showing, especially in the first-half. 

Talk of a relegation battle has grown with Arteta stating that the next few weeks would be vital. 

Whether or not he directly relaid that message to his team they certainly listened. 

They were without a league win since November 1 but on this evidence you wouldn’t have known.   

Granit Xhaka scored an excellent second

Chelsea are miles off 

Talented? Yes, they have it in abundance. 

Title contenders? Not even close. 

Lampard’s side returned to winning ways on Monday night against West Ham at Stamford Bridge, but they did not put in a 3-0 performance. 

It came after two successive defeats but it seemed like normal service was resumed at the Emirates.

This was a weakened Arsenal side that were, despite their improved showing, there for the taking.

An early goal may well have sent the Gunners spiralling in the wrong direction, but instead they were allowed to grow into the game.

Lampard’s decision to send them out early for the second-half probably told you all you needed to know.

Chelsea’s title winners, the likes led by Jose Mourinho or Antonio Conte, like all leading outfits, smell blood and strike.

The Blues failed to do so on Saturday night which underlines their status as a growing team, but not even close to a finished one.

Chelsea and Frank Lampard had no answers for the hosts

You don’t win anything with kids?

Sir Alex Ferguson made a mockery of this now famous quote at Manchester United. Arteta seemingly did the same on Saturday night as he rung the changes.

Youth may deny you experience, but it guarantees you energy, hunger and often desire.

Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli were all pivotal to Arsenal’s win and may have secured their starting berths for the foreseeable future.

Arteta knew he needed to do something different given his side’s recent fortunes.

He can’t revert to type because he hasn’t been at the club long enough nor has he enjoyed a period of sustained success to turn to.

The Spaniard is still learning on the job to an extent and is experiencing his first major blip.

It was a bold call to drop some of his more established stars and give the younger generation an opportunity.

His bravery though was more than rewarded.

Bukayo Saka’s effort made it 3-0

Lamps can’t find the formula

Summer spending sprees bring with them several things – new opportunities, potential combinations and pressure.

Get the latter two right and pressure never really factors, get them wrong however and quickly questions get asked.

Lampard may soon have to come up with some answers.

His conundrum seems to be that he has a squad of potentially title winning players he just can’t find a title winning formula.

All the best star-studded teams, no matter the depth of their squads, know realistically what their best starting XI is.

At Chelsea though the questions are endless.

Why can’t Timo Werner fire and is he totally nullified on the wing? How on earth has Kai Havertz not hit the ground running? What actually is the best midfield three?

The Arsenal striker was left on the bench

Arteta benches Auba

It has been coming for weeks in fairness, only the striker’s reputation and previous success afforded him such leeway.

Aubameyang was left out by Arteta with youngster Gabriel Martinelli preferred in attack.

The Gabonese international has only scored three times in the league, and one of those was from the spot.

For large periods of his career in north London he has been the man Arsenal turned to in difficult times.

But now he is having to deal with the horrible narrative that stems from his decision to sign a hefty new deal in the summer.

Arsenal have paid the price for putting Mesut Ozil on a mammoth deal, they must be fearing a sense of deja vu.


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