The Blues came tantalisingly close to a memorable win at the Emirates after they took a late lead through Marcos Alonso only to concede in stoppage time at the hands of Hector Bellerin. Jack Wilshere had put the hosts in front after half time before Eden Hazard converted a penalty he had won just minutes later. Chelsea almost won it after Bellerin’s equaliser but neither Alvaro Morata or Davide Zappacosta could find the back of the net with seconds to go.
Morata’s night was blighted by a number of big misses and the first came early in the second half when Calum Chambers was caught napping and Morata latched onto a long ball but could only skew his shot wide after facing Petr Cech one-on-one. Thibaut Courtois was called into action minutes later and made a stunning stop to deny Alexis Sanchez from close range. Courtois’ lightning sharp reactions allowed him to save the Chilean’s powerful strike onto the post and grab it after it had rebounded off the other post. He really did make his own luck.
The big Belgian saved well again from Alexandre Lacazette after the French striker had turned Gary Cahill and Chelsea’s keeper was having a fine game. Petr Cech was on fine form as well in the other goal and stretched his arms to keep out Tiemoue Bakayoko after the Frenchman had made a marauding run forward. The players went in a half time after a tense but open first half and they would produce one of the halves of the season after the break.
After his booking in the first half, Jack Wilshere went down theatrically under the challenge of Andreas Christensen, but referee Anthony Taylor waved away claims for a second yellow for diving. Rather ironically, Wilshere put Arsenal ahead in the 63rd minute when he latched onto Rob Holding’s deflected pass and fired in past Courtois, smashing into the back of the net off the near post. The Gunners’ celebrations were cut short just three minutes later when Hector Bellerin appeared to kick Eden Hazard and the penalty was given.
Hazard strolled up to take the kick before plonking it down the middle and setting off in celebration towards to away contingent in the far corner of the ground. His performance deserved a goal with some audacious flicks and mesmerising dribbles but he was replaced in the closing stages by Willian. Another substitute, Davide Zappacosta, created what seemed like a winner for Chelsea when his turn and low cross was met by a surging Alonso and the Spaniard turned it home with the outside of his left foot.
It wasn’t over yet though as Chelsea’s rearguard action wasn’t enough to keep Arsenal out and Hector Bellerin managed to control his half-volley and guide it into the far corner through a crowd of bodies. Right from the kick off, Cesar Azpilicueta sent a long ball over the top and it fell to Alvaro Morata in shooting range but his weak effort was kept out by Cech and the chance, for Morata at least, was gone. Davide Zappacosta followed it up and sent his fizzing shot crashing against the crossbar and rebounding miles away from danger as far as Arsenal were concerned.
Both teams could have won it but a draw seemed the fair result after a sensational football match.