Chelsea fell to a second consecutive Premier League defeat on Sunday lunchtime, limply succumbing to a 1-0 defeat which sent Arsenal back to the top of the table.
Arsenal had the better of a stodgy contest weighed down by interplay in the middle third but light in action inside either penalty box. Neither side created a glut of chances but Gabriel Magalhaes was on hand to stab over from close range in the second half, securing a third straight Stamford Bridge victory for the Gunners.
Chelsea buzzed around their visitors with an eager press which stymied the league leaders for long swathes. Arsenal did offer flashes of fluency, weaving their way through the first wave of pressure but time and again failed to deliver an accurate final ball.
Gabriel Martinelli showed some rare composure in the opening half-hour but was let down by his compatriot’s tentative finishing. Martinelli received the ball at the end of a dizzying zig-zagged sequence which began deep in Arsenal’s half, curling a cross onto Gabriel Jesus’ head which Arsenal’s number nine grazed wide.
Getting to grips with yet another new formation Graham Potter was testing, Chelsea lacked any rhythm in possession. On numerous occasions, a blue shirt would stop on the ball, frantically scanning the pitch for a teammate who was invariably standing in an unfamiliar position.
An hour into the contest, Thiago Silva was caught dawdling in possession by the effervescent – if not efficient – Jesus. The veteran centre-back recovered to cede a corner from which the Blues conceded. Chelsea formed a holographic defensive setup for Arsenal’s set piece, allowing Bukayo Saka’s delivery to scuttle into the six-yard box where the visiting centre-back Gabriel stabbed the Gunners into a 1-0 lead.
As Chelsea belatedly showed some urgency in search of an equaliser, the space opened up for the Gunners on the counter. Jesus slid Martin Odegaard through on goal but the skipper’s hesitancy wasted a clear chance to double Arsenal’s lead.
When they were forced to defend, Arsenal’s resolve held firm, limiting Chelsea to just five shots all match as the Gunners leapfrogged Manchester City at the division’s summit.
GK: Edouard Mendy – 5/10 – Uncertain when pressured with the ball at his feet but showed some penetration when given time in possession.
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta – 3/10 – Desperately unconvincingly when groggily back-pedalling up against Martinelli. Criminally let Gabriel run off him for the opener.
CB: Trevoh Chalobah – 5/10 – Uneasy getting lured out wide but secure enough when within the confines of his penalty area.
CB: Thiago Silva – 7/10 – Positionally supreme, making up for the lack of physicality his seniority ensures.
LB: Marc Cucurella – 4/10 – A little too scrappy as he rapidly got touch-tight to the red shirts, giving away a glut of fouls.
CM: Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 5/10 – Struggled to exert an overwhelming influence on proceedings.
CM: Jorginho – 6/10 – More concerned with pinching possession than passing in a disciplined display.
AM: Raheem Sterling – 5/10 – Tried to dart around the outside of his former Manchester City teammate Zinchenko as the fullback tucked infield.
AM: Mason Mount – 6/10 – At his niggling best to repeatedly disrupt the early stage of Arsenal’s buildup.
ST: Kai Havertz – 3/10 – Dawdled in possession in a dozy approach to the early kick-off.
ST: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 4/10 – Skirted around the fringes of his much-hyped grudge match which fell flat.
SUB: Conor Gallagher (64′ for Havertz) – 5/10
SUB: Armando Broja (64′ for Aubameyang) – 5/10
SUB: Christian Pulisic (78′ for Mount) – N/A
SUB: Mateo Kovacic (79′ for Loftus-Cheek) – N/A
Manager: Graham Potter – 4/10 – The front-foot 4-2-2-2 Chelsea deployed certainly stymied Arsenal in open play but Potter’s side desperately lacked any punch.
GK: Aaron Ramsdale – 5/10 – Not given a great deal to do.
RB: Ben White – 7/10 – Afforded ample space to carry the ball into and was very solid when forced into aerial interventions.
CB: William Saliba – 8/10 – Imperiously strolled around Stamford Bridge, carrying a regal air into each challenge he invariably won.
CB: Gabriel – 7/10 – Secure and safe in his own box before delivering a telling touch at the other end.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7/10 – Provides a completely different option from fullback, shuffling into central midfield to help dictate Arsenal’s possession play.
CM: Martin Odegaard – 5/10 – Grew into the game after an anonymous first half but was timid in front of goal.
CM: Thomas Partey – 7/10 – Gobbled up any loose ball in midfield, providing the base for his colleagues to spring forward from.
CM: Granit Xhaka – 7/10 – Heavily involved down Arsenal’s dangerous left flank, linking silkily with Zinchenko and Jesus.
RW: Bukayo Saka – 5/10 – Engaged in a fractious head-to-head with Cucurella throughout the contest.
ST: Gabriel Jesus – 7/10 – Popped up all over the pitch, surging over every blade of grass.
LW: Gabriel Martinelli – 6/10 – Sporadically threatening as Chelsea afforded him space to sprint into down the left.
SUB: Kieran Tierney (78′ for Zinchenko) – N/A
SUB: Mohamed Elneny (87′ for Odegaard) – N/A
SUB: Rob Holding (90+4′ for Martinelli) – N/A
Manager: Mikel Arteta – 6/10 – Spent much of the contest hopping around the fringes of his technical area but will be jumping with joy given the grit in the absence of glitz from his side.