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Emile Smith Rowe nets winner as Arsenal win at top-four chasing Chelsea

·3 min read

Jorginho’s misplaced back-pass helped gift Emile Smith Rowe the only goal as Arsenal beat Chelsea 1-0 to stop the Blues moving third in the Premier League.

Italy midfielder Jorginho’s miscued pass left the out-of-position Kepa Arrizabalaga scrambling across goal, with the Spain stopper forced to parry off the line.

Smith Rowe capitalised on a rare Chelsea error under Thomas Tuchel and slotted home, for Arsenal’s third-straight Premier League victory.

Christian Pulisic saw a second-half equaliser chalked off for offside after a video assistant referee review.

Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud struck the bar within mere seconds of each other at the death, as Chelsea wasted a host of chances in a dominant but disjointed performance.

Blues boss Tuchel had made seven changes to keep his players fresh, with Saturday’s FA Cup final against Leicester clearly in mind.

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Tuchel had been at pains to warn his players of allowing thoughts to drift to the weekend, but that almost inevitably happened.

Chelsea’s third defeat in 26 matches under Tuchel proved the result of a galling west London evening then, and one where the Gunners pulled off a league double over their capital rivals.

The Blues could have taken a giant step towards sealing a top-four Premier League finish with a win over Arsenal, but instead were left to rue a string of missed opportunities.

Kepa Arrizabalaga, pictured, keeps out Jorginho's stray backpass
Kepa Arrizabalaga, pictured, kept out Jorginho’s stray backpass before Emile Smith Rowe scored (Shaun Botterill/PA)

Mason Mount kicked off the night with a running theme, by letting Bernd Leno off the hook.

The England international’s low shot left enough chance for the Arsenal stopper to pad away, and he did exactly that.

Kai Havertz picked Pablo Mari’s pocket just inside his own half, raced in on goal and took on Leno. But the Germany forward blazed over the bar when he should have buried the Blues’ best chance of the half.

In a flash Arsenal were ahead, latching onto their only opening of the half to take the lead.

Arsenal celebrate their goal
Smith Rowe scored the winner for Arsenal (Shaun Botterill/PA)

Smith Rowe picked up the loose ball after Jorginho’s pass had left Kepa scrambling, cut inside and slotted into the net to punish the hosts and put the Gunners ahead against the run of play.

A frustrated Chelsea went straight back to dominating possession, but continued their profligacy.

Mount’s rasping volley was deflected by Rob Holding, before the Chelsea academy graduate saw Leno palm away another shot.

Leno then cut out a low Mount cross, Pulisic headed over from a corner and Ben Chilwell could not force a chance from a fine position on the inside-left.

Mount raced onto a loose ball in the box after a Leno parry, but his flicked effort was deflected and another chance evaporated.

Kurt Zouma hits the crossbar
Kurt Zouma hit the crossbar late on (Adam Davy/PA)

Gabriel rode his luck with a challenge on Havertz in the area to start the second half, but the Brazilian and Arsenal escaped without punishment.

Chelsea thought they had finally clawed the equaliser when Pulisic scrambled in at the far post on the hour from a corner. But VAR ruled out the effort for offside.

Chelsea continued to dominate but their quest for an equaliser seemed doomed to failure.

And when Pulisic failed to connect properly at the far post with the net all but at his mercy, a night of major frustration appeared almost complete.

One more goalmouth scramble saw Leno tip the ball onto the bar from a Zouma header – and replacement Giroud struck the bar from point-blank range with the rebound.

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