Monday 23

Match Reports

Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea

13th January 2018, 15:01 by Enda McElhinney

Hector Bellerin netted a stoppage time leveller as Arsenal and Chelsea shared the spoils in the game of the season so far.

An open contest somehow took 63 minutes to find a goal, Jack Wilshere powering the home side in front.

Eden Hazard soon levelled from the penalty spot before Marcos Alonso's crisp finish looked to have won it for Antonio Conte's team near the end. Bellerin came up with a sublime finish in added on time though, giving Arsenal a point that would have been hard to deny them on the night.

Both teams had chances to hit the front in what was an entertaining and often open first half.

It was the visitors who really should have scored first just before the quarter hour. Victor Moses' clearance somehow caught out the Arsenal rearguard and left Alvaro Morata bearing down on Petr Cech.

The Spanish forward squared himself up before side-footing the ball well wide of the upright.

Barely three minutes later and it was Arsenal wondering how they were not in front. After some half-hearted penalty appeals from Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the ball found its way to Sanchez in the box. His shot was palmed down onto the post by Thibaut Courtois before it rolled along the goal line and away off the opposite upright.

There were further chances at both ends but, ultimately no goals, with both Courtois and Cech in fine form, as the sides came off at the break.

More of the same after half-time, Cech on hand to deny first Marcos Alonso and then Hazard while at the other end Courtois did well to foil Alexandre Lacazette.

As the hour passed, the action was about to go up a notch.

Wilshere gave the Gunners the lead on 63 minutes. A pass from Granit Xhaka was a shade fortunate to find him inside the box but he made no mistake as he rocketed a first-time shot high past Courtois into the roof of the net.

The lead would last only four minutes. Bellerin committed himself to a tackle on Hazard inside the box and the Belgian didn't require a second chance to hit the deck, allowing Anthony Taylor point to the spot.

Hazard beat Cech with his penalty, leaving Gunners boss Arsene Wenger frustrated yet again with a decision going against his team.

There was worse to come for the Frenchman. Six minutes from full-time sub Davide Zappacosta twisted Maitland-Niles inside out on the right flank before firing a low cross towards the near post. Alonso was the unlikely player on hand to divert it straight past Cech and give Chelsea a priceless lead.

The Blues fell backwards trying to hold out and they were caught in stoppage time as Arsenal's incessant pressure paid off.

A cross into Chelsea's box was only partially cleared and Bellerin was there with a wonderfully controlled half-volley across Courtois and into the corner of the net to send the Emirates wild.

Incredibly, Chelsea still had time to pass up two great chances to win.

A long punt forward was allowed chase through to Morata, again, but his finish was tame and straight at Cech, who parried clear. The breaking ball was smacked goalwards by Zappacosta, who hung his head as he saw it cannon away off the crossbar to safety, leaving both teams to take a point after an incredibly exciting and fraught contest.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Enda McElhinney describes himself as a sports nut, with an interest in many. His favourite sports are being horse racing, golf and football.

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