Arsenal defending to blame for defeat… again

Arsenal were their own achilles heel as they conceded twice in the final 10 minutes to lose 2-1 at home to Chelsea in their final fixture of 2019.

In what was Mikel Arteta’s first home game in charge, the Gunners came out with a lot of energy, taking the game to the Blues from the start.

It paid off as they went ahead on 13 minutes with a well-worked set piece that saw Calum Chambers flicking on Mesut Ozil’s corner for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to produce a diving header in front of goal for a 1-0 lead.

Ozil put in his second good performance of the season, following his performance at Bournemouth on Boxing Day. The German even worked hard off the ball before he was replaced in the final quarter-of-an-hour.

For all of Arsenal’s endeavour, they didn’t produce too many problems for Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Chelsea goal. Alexandre Lacazette didn’t produce a shot on goal all game, whilst Aubameyang’s goal was his only shot on target during the 90 minutes.

After half hour, Frank Lampard saw his side suffocated in their own half by Arsenal’s dominance, and changed his tactics. Emerson was replaced by Jorginho as a back three became four, and the visitors saw a lot more possession from then on.

Though the Blues themselves created very little of their own and were gifted their equaliser on 83 minutes. Mason Mount’s harmless free kick was bizarrely missed by Bernd Leno’s attempted punch, with the ball falling into the feet of Jorginho for a goalline tap in.

Arsenal continued to bomb forward – Bukayo Saka from left-back and Lucas Torreira from the middle of the park included. That led to a Chelsea counter-attack four minutes after their equaliser; Tammy Abraham playing a one-two with Willian before turning home from six yards as Shkodran Mustafi didn’t want to get close to the striker.

Three points for the West London club moves them four points ahead of Manchester United in the final Champions League spot and 11 points ahead of rivals Arsenal. The Gunners head into 2020 in 12th place, some 11 points outside of the Champions League places.