Arsenal go three points clear after humiliating Chelsea

Football

Ruthless Arsenal threw down the gauntlet in the Premier League title race with a 5-0 thrashing of London rivals Chelsea to roar three points clear at the top of the table on Tuesday.

Any remaining doubts about Arsenal’s staying power were answered emphatically as Leandro Trossard gave them an early lead before Ben White and Kai Havertz scored two each in a dazzling spell after the break to sweep aside a dazed Chelsea.

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It was a powerful statement by Arsenal who have recovered impressively from a home defeat by Aston Villa and bowing out of the Champions League and with four games remaining they are piling the pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City.

Arsenal have 77 points from 34 games with Liverpool, who face Everton on Wednesday, on 74 from 33. Reigning champions Manchester City have 73 points but have two games in hand starting with a trip to Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday.

It was the sixth time Arsenal have scored five or more in a Premier League game this season and in such a tight race they have a huge goal difference advantage which could prove crucial.

For ninth-placed Chelsea it was their heaviest ever defeat by Arsenal and a hammer blow in their bid to creep into a European place just days after their narrow FA Cup semifinal defeat by Manchester City. 

Kai Havertz celebrates one of his two goals for Arsenal against former club Chelsea.

GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images


Arsenal were brimming with energy in the opening half, peppering Chelsea’s goal with 13 attempts and would have led by more than one at the interval but for Chelsea’s Serbia goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic.

Roared on by The Emirates crowd the hosts needed four minutes to settle any nerves as a marauding Declan Rice drove into the heart of the area and weighted his pass perfectly for Trossard to fire home.

Petrovic would have been disappointed to be beaten from a narrow angle but made amends with a flurry of saves in quick succession to deny Bukayo Saka and Trossard and then reacted incredibly to keep out a close-range deflection.

Despite being under siege, a Chelsea side without 20-goal Cole Palmer had their moments and Axel Disasi somehow failed to connect from in front of goal from a flicked on corner.

Nicolas Jackson hit the post and then inexplicably failed to head in a brilliant Conor Gallagher cross.

But Arsenal tuned up the heat in the second half and Chelsea could not cope.

White made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute after Rice’s shot deflected to him and Havertz was then played through by an exquisite pass from captain Martin Ødegaard and finished in style.

Former Chelsea forward Havertz made it 4-0 with a low finish and White then nonchalantly side-footed a volley home from an angle.

It could have got far worse for Chelsea as Arsenal ran riot but the home fans left in euphoric mood as a first title in 20 years began to look within reach.

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