Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea: Alonso, Bellerin force late stalemate - FCNaija

EPL By: Ambrose Udeme | 03/01/2018

Marcos Alonso's close-range finish in the closing stages of the Premier League showdown at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday was overturned by an added time equaliser by Hector Bellerin as unused substitute Alex Iwobi and his Arsenal secured to a 2-2 draw against Victor Moses' Chelsea in an electrifying four-goal thriller.

It was an even contest at the break. Chances at both ends, but it remained all square. Terrible finishing from Alvaro Morata and a superb goalkeeping by Thibaut Courtois defined an entertaining, yet surprisingly goalless 45 minutes.

Jack Wilshere's first Premier League goal in more than two and a half years broke the deadlock after 63 minutes to put Arsenal in front. Eden Hazard pulled Chelsea back on level three minutes later from the spot, following a penalty decision by referee Taylor for a foul on the Belgian in the Arsenal area.

With six minutes left on the clock, substitute Zappacosta got it on the right, beat his man and fired across goal where Alonso, unmarked, arrived to side-foot past Cech.

With the clock winding down, Bellerin caught a weak headed clearance by Alonso on the half-volley and fired home for the equaliser, forcing both sides to settle for a share of the spoils.

The result means Moses and his Chelsea troops have been denied a chance to go above Manchester United while Arsenal stay sixth, seven points behind their visitors who trail leaders Manchester City by 16 points.

SETTING THE SCENE

Having been rested for the win over Stoke on Saturday, Eden Hazard returned to play in attack with Alvaro Morata.

Andreas Christensen, after three games out ill or on the bench was back in the centre of defence with Gary Cahill returning to the left of the three and Toni Rudiger making way.

The midfield is the same which played in the Boxing Day win over Brighton so there were places for Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko.

Arsenal brought in Ainsley Maitland-Niles for injured Saed Kolasinac on the left. Laurent Koscielny failed to recover from injury in time so Rob Holding came into the Gunners' defence.

Mesut Ozil was passed fit and so was preferred to Alex Iwobi. Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez kept their places.

FIRST HALF

The game was played with real pace and power right from the off, with Alvaro Morata having the first chance went put through but surprisingly he screwed his shot well wide of goal.

Moments later the play flew down the other end, as Mesut Ozil found Alexis in the area and the Chilean’s strike was pushed on to the near post before rolling along the line and striking the other before Thibaut Courtois claimed it.

Chelsea were next to go close as Tiemoue Bakayako tested Petr Cech, before Ozil fired inches wide and then former Gunner Cesc Fabregas fired over just before the interval.

SECOND HALF

Chelsea started the second half in bright fashion, and Arsenal were twice indebted to Cech who firstly saved from Hazard and then denied Alonso moments later.

It was the home side's turn to go close next as Lacazette spun into space in the box and opted for power rather than placement, only to see Courtois make a smart save at his near post.

Ozil nearly found a way through on the hour mark, but just a minute later the North Londoners finally had the breakthrough as Wilshere drilled a powerful drive past Courtois at his near post and into the top corner.

Lacazette saw a shot saved by the Chelsea goalkeeper moments later as Wenger's men came close to doubling their advantage, but there was an almost immediate twist as the visitors were awarded a controversial penalty after Hazard fell in the box.

Coming so soon after that late spot kick at West Brom, it was tough to take – even more so when Hazard dusted himself up and slotted it home past Petr Cech who is yet to save a penalty for the Gunners in his last 15 attempts.

Morata had another big opportunity for the visitors when put through but again he couldn’t find the target while Alonso made no mistake in the closing stages after Zapacosta beat Ainsley Maitland-Niles before setting up the Spaniard.

There was still time for Bellerin to crash in a half-volley in stoppage time for the equaliser. Chelsea came close to winning it through Morata and then Davide Zappacosta whose shot cannoned off the upright right at the death.
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