This was always going to be a big game for new Arsenal gaffer Mikel Arteta as he attempted to secure his first win under his new role. Any form of London derby is always quite intriguing, but that’s particularly true in this instance when the Gunners are facing off against Chelsea.
High to low
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored within 15 minutes of the game getting underway, and from that point on, it seemed like they were in full control.
It seemed that way, despite Chelsea attempting to break the record for most yellow cards in a game, until the last ten minutes when a Mason Mount free kick was completely missed by Bernd Leno and allowed Jorginho to tap in the equaliser.
In the blink of an eye Chelsea had broken free again, with Willian laying the ball on a plate for Tammy Abraham who turned and calmly slotted in the winner to the dismay of the Emirates faithful.
Arteta had the following to say after the game.
“It was very cruel the way we lost it, in the first half we saw a lot of positives and saw what we are trying to implement. But the way we conceded was disappointing.
“It was clear why it was disappointing, I don’t need to say any more.
“Our reaction was right, we were doing the right things, it is hard to dominate all periods of the game against this team. We started to defend too deep and our energy levels are in a different place to Chelsea’s.
“We need to sustain those periods for longer periods in the game and against top sides. Individual errors cost you games but I can’t fault the effort, commitment and for putting in place what we practised.”
From top to bottom
Chelsea boss Lampard, on the other hand, was pretty open about the game.
“We were so awful for 30 minutes; slow, lethargic, nervous. The opposite of against Tottenham. We gave Arsenal everything they wanted. We made the change early, felt it had to be done. Second half we dominated.
“From my point of view you can accept a miss-pass but you can’t accept lethargy in a London derby. The players were told that and they delivered. The second half was nothing to do with tactics it was all to do with spirit and desire.”
Arsenal really do need quite a bit of work, especially as they went from seeing their top four aspirations grow to diminish in a matter of minutes.
Chelsea are in prime position to tighten their grasp on fourth after this, despite many believing that they weren’t all that great in this game.
The new year is almost upon us, and now, there’s a very real chance that both Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard could see their futures as managers being defined by what happens between now and May.