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Lukaku and Christensen on the hook and Rudiger injured: Loss to Arsenal shows the extent of Chelsea's summer troubles

Chelsea suffered without Antonio Rudiger in the 4-2 Premier League defeat by Arsenal, while Romelu Lukaku and Andreas Christensen returned to the line-up on a disappointing night (Author: Gardener)

ChelseaChelsea's 4-2 home defeat by Arsenal on Wednesday raised a host of different issues that new owners will face when they finally buy the club. Manager Thomas Tuchel had to make changes in his 55th game of the season after an FA Cup semi-final win over Crystal Palace on Sunday. It was a chance for the fringe players in his squad to improve and unfortunately things didn't go well for them. Up front, Romelu Lukaku made his first league start for Chelsea in two months. In his most recent start, he broke the Premier League record for the fewest touches in a 90-minute game, managing just seven touches at Selhurst Park. Despite being more involved this time, he had just one shot and two touches in Arsenal's penalty area before being substituted off in the 60th minute. "Maybe you have to ask the fans," said Tuchel when asked about the reaction. The blues pressing system involves all 10 outfield players. It was Barcelona-bound Andreas Christensen who was at fault for the opening goal; his lax pass back to Edouard Mendy clipped through Eddie Nketiah to make it 1-0. After the initial equaliser, the Blues were weak in midfield, allowing Granit Xhaka to drive into the opposition half from his own penalty area. Chelsea supporters began to cheer for Thiago Silva, who remained on the bench to resolve the issues and perhaps also send a message to Christensen who has opted not to renew his contract in west London. "He said he couldn't continue, so I think he had some problems," said Tuchel when asked by GOAL about Christensen's withdrawal at half-time. "I don't take a player out because he makes a mistake. To say that the pitch here is difficult to play might sound like an excuse, but it's a very, very difficult pitch that we have here. The ball bounces a lot awkward in front of Andreas when he wants to play that ball." Goalscorer Azpilicueta was at fault for both the third and fourth goals. On the third, he passed the ball in midfield, giving Nketiah a chance to dominate both Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr and score. After that, the club captain fell out with a supporter and was able to follow Christensen himself to join Xavi at the Camp Nou in the summer. The Catalan club have already had extensive talks with him but the Blues used a clause in his contract to extend it by a year. Sarr, on the other hand, was in the starting XI because of a minor groin injury to star defender Antonio Rüdiger. "We conceded seven goals with Toni against Brentford and Real Madrid, that answers the question," said Tuchel about his defensive changes. "It's not about individual players." Tuchel has played against Rudiger in 47 games and 4,380 minutes this season. The Germany international has played 600 more minutes than any other player, goalkeepers included. The manager was ready to make Rudiger the highest-paid defender in club history before sanctions were imposed. That game showed what Chelsea would be missing without Rudiger, and even more so, with other issues still plaguing the defence. Chelsea remain massively ahead in the race for the top 4 but will face bigger problems in the summer.

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'The night Arsenal believed in the top 4 again'

Arsenal stunned Chelsea with a 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge to get back on track after three consecutive defeats in the hunt for a Champions League spot. (Author: Gardener)

The night ArsenalThe battle for a spot in the top four of the Premier League and a place in next season's Champions League gradually began to resemble a race to the bottom as Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United all stumbled in search of the prize. The Gunners were in prime position with games in hand weeks ago in fourth place, only to fall into a three-loss spell away at Crystal Palace, at home to Brighton and then Southampton on Saturday. Arsenal's old flaws - lack of fighting quality, a tendency to choke when the pressure mounts - were all revisited leading up to this visit to Chelsea, where they began building pressure as outsiders. A win, however significant, doesn't answer all questions but tonight Arsenal showed they have hope of development under manager Mikel Arteta - but they need to show they can do it again if they achieve their goals want. How much they needed that and how delighted they will be at how they redeemed the gifts from Chelsea's defence. Arsenal are still fifth but are only behind Spurs on goal difference as a derby is played at the Emirates Stadium in north London in May. What an occasion that promises to be. Arteta's decision to show Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the door by gifting him to Barcelona in January was understandably scrutinized as Alexandre Lacazette failed and no replacement came along. He had to pull something out of his pocket and his response was to dismount the fighters Lacazette to the bench and go with 22-year-old Eddie Nketiah. Arteta was richly rewarded as Nketiah was in a predatory mood and scored twice, both times taking advantage of Chelsea's terrible defense and earning a standing ovation from Arsenal's fans when he came on. Arsenal now have it in their hands to reach the top four, but can they have the faith to do it? If it's the team that has shrunk in recent games, it's likely to fall short. And in the broader context, Arsenal have once again shown that if they can recruit wisely in the summer - with the right replacement for Aubameyang Key - there is the basis for a very good side here. Aaron Ramsdale is a developing goalkeeper, Ben White and Gabriel form a good central defense partnership and in Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe they have two Premier League jewels for now and into the future. Saka simply excelled, especially in a hectic first half as he tormented Chelsea's left flank, set up Smith Rowe's goal, created more openings and finally scored the goal he deserved to end the win in the dying seconds after his foul from the Place to Seal by Cesar Azpilicueta. This has to be the result and performance that brings Arsenal into the crucial part of the season. For Chelsea, it was another miserable night at Stamford Bridge and another example of the defensive weaknesses creeping into their game. Chelsea should have enough points to ensure they finish third and face Liverpool in the FA Cup final, but deficiencies in defense must increasingly concern Tuchel. They have now conceded 11 goals in their last three games at Stamford Bridge, four against Brentford and Arsenal in the league on either side of the 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals. As against Brentford, Chelsea struggled from the first whistle as Antonio Rudiger was injured and Thiago Silva was on the bench. Andreas Christensen is expected to join Barcelona in the summer and, in a horrific 45 minutes, performed as if his head had already been on Las Ramblas. He sent Nketiah a terrible back pass in Arsenal's opener before being mercifully removed at half-time. And then we come to Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku's £97.5million summer signing from Inter Milan was set to be the final piece in the puzzle for Chelsea after their Champions League win.

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Mikel Arteta's side reignite Premier League top-four hopes with a thrilling win

Report and match highlights as Arsenal get their Champions League push back on track with 4-2 win at Chelsea; Eddie Nketiah's brace and goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka sealed the win; The Gunners are moving level on points with the fourth-placed Spurs; Chelsea remain third, five ahead of Arsenal (Author: Gardener)

ArtetaEddie Nketiah was Arsenal's hero as they reignited their battle for a place in the top four thanks to a thrilling 4-2 win at Chelsea. The Gunners took the lead not once but twice at Stamford Bridge with goals from Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe, but Chelsea found a response on both occasions as Timo Werner's deflected strike and Cesar Azpilicueta's low goal leveled the sides at the break . The goal wasn't over in the second half as the Gunners took the lead again and it was Nketiah who secured his side's third place before Bukayo Saka sealed Arsenal's win from the point after being brought down late by Azpilicueta had been. The win ends a string of three consecutive Premier League defeats for Arsenal and sees Mikel Arteta's side level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham - who they have yet to play against towards the end of the season - ahead of another crucial game against Manchester United on Saturday at Emirates Stadium. Meanwhile, Chelsea, who suffered their second successive league home defeat, remain third, five points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal. In a hectic first half, Arsenal took the lead when a long hopeful ball went unworked by Andreas Christensen and his embezzled back pass was picked up by Nketiah, who expertly finished past Edouard Mendy for his first league goal of the season. Much to the frustration of Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, the lead didn't last long as Chelsea were back level just four minutes later. The Gunners missed numerous chances to clear the ball before Werner's shot was deflected off Granit Xhaka to level. It was a difficult evening for both defenses as Arsenal restored their lead midway through the first 45 minutes. Smith Rowe scored another fine finish to round off an excellent team goal and swept into the bottom corner after excellent work from Xhaka and Martin Odegaard in the build-up. The goals kept falling and the away celebrations were cut short again when Chelsea hit back... again. Cesar Azpilicueta launched like a striker to put Mason Mount's ball inside the box at the end to put the two sides even at the break. Chelsea responded to their first-half defensive weaknesses by substituting Thiago Silva for Christensen but it would be Arsenal who took the lead for the third time. More indecisiveness in Chelsea's defense allowed the striker to get involved and he thrust home after Nuno Tavares' cross went unprocessed by the Blues' back line. Arsenal won a late penalty when Bukayo Saka was pulled down by Azpilicueta. The forward dusted off to convert the resulting penalty and score a crucial three points for the Gunners. "I like what I've seen at Arsenal." I think if they had lost today it would have been too much for Arsenal to come back from four losses on spin. All the talk before the game was Arsenal's goal-shy forwards. The Gunners' 1-0 defeat by Southampton on Saturday made it 15 games since one of their Premier League forwards scored from open play, a streak that stretched back to December. As the Gunners' leader at Stamford Bridge, there would have been doubts about Nketiah's inclusion following his performance at Southampton. Arteta stuck by the former England Under-21 striker, however, and it was a decision that paid off as Nketiah put on a superb performance, scoring two opportunistic goals to lead his side to a crucial win in the race for the top four . "He could be a 4/10 next week, if he wasn't he would be with the team every week, this is his second start all season," Paul Merson told Sky Sports. “The consistency isn't there but if he makes it for three or four games Arsenal will be fourth. “He's a natural goalscorer and he's ready to go above that. Lacazette would not have pursued that first [goal]. He would not have scored those two goals. After such a performance, it's hard to see that he doesn't get an opportunity to back up that performance against Manchester United. "Nketiah will play Man Utd at the weekend," former Gunners forward Alan Smith said shortly after the striker was substituted. Chelsea are back home on Super Sunday and back on Sky Sports when they host West Ham in the Premier League; Kick-off 2 p.m. Arsenal will be back in action on Saturday afternoon when they welcome Manchester United to the Emirates. Kick-off 12:30 p.m.

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Nketiah gives new life to Arsenal, Lukaku does not conjure up such a revival

Both Eddie Nketiah and Romelu Lukaku have fallen from grace, but the former gave Arsenal an unlikely win as Chelsea's record signing slump continued. (Author: Gardener)

Arsenal, LukakuLONDON - One is an academy graduate without a Premier League goal all season, the other is a £97.5million forward signed to help his team win the title. Both have fallen out of favor and may be playing football at different clubs next season after publicly raising concerns about their use, but Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah - the 22-year-old, who was only 13, outshone thoroughbred heavyweight Romelu Lukaku and breathed new life into the Gunners' top-four hopes with a brace in Wednesday's 4-2 win at Chelsea. A day after Nketiah gave an interview explaining the reasons for rejecting multiple offers to extend his Arsenal contract, which was due to expire at the end of the season, he was given the chance to lead the attack with Alexandre Lacazette, who is still not up had fully recovered from Covid -19. Nketiah capped a good all-around display with two goals - one in each half, equaling his first brace in the Premier League - to become the first Arsenal player to score twice in that game in almost 11 years and the Gunners' campaign after three revived losses in a row. Compare that to Lukaku, who gave a more inflammatory interview in December that prompted Blues boss Thomas Tuchel to drop the Belgium international in a move his individual form has never recovered from. This was Lukaku's first league start since February 19, a decision partly marked by his failure in the first game, his triumphant second appearance last August and his debut as a goalscorer which seemed to signal he was taking over English football after two Years by storm would take his craft in Serie A with Inter Milan. He touched the ball just 22 times - fewer than any other outfielder on either side - before being substituted off after an hour to a mixed reception that included some boos from some Chelsea supporters. Looking off the pace in attack, Lukaku was a reminder of what Chelsea loses in their pressing game when Kai Havertz doesn't lead the line. Tuchel suggested on Tuesday that Lukaku simply hasn't been fit enough to start games of late and the evidence from west London on Wednesday underscores the notion he still has work to do in that regard. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta sought an explanation for Nketiah's lack of effort this season, praising his young forward's commitment despite receiving few rewards for his commitment in 2022. "Good things happen to good people," Arteta said. "He gave me every right to do anything else and if Eddie stopped playing then it's my fault. Chelsea's defense was cruel at times - Tuchel was unable to explain the sheer volume of individual errors afterwards - but Arsenal haven't been a side to capitalize on such moments lately and Nketiah's interventions provided a welcome change. Perhaps Arteta's switch to a three-man defense surprised Tuchel somewhat, but not for the first time it was individual mistakes that cost her Nketiah, who was sacked by Chelsea aged 14, gave Nketiah, who was sacked by Chelsea aged 14, an early chance to get a low finish past Edouard Mendy. Cesar Azpilicueta showed a striker touch to tuck Mason Mount's cross home to level the sides at the break, but Arsenal made the most of the more defensive uncertainty that Thiago Silva's half-time introduction for Christensen failed to dispel when he scored in the 57th minute .minute scored as Malang Sarr and Silva got mixed up. Then, in the game's closing moments, Azpilicueta awarded a bizarre stoppage-time penalty when Cedric Soares' cross landed behind Bukayo Saka, but the Blues captain still held the England international down, leaving referee Jon Moss with an easy decision. Saka put down the penalty – his first since missing for England in the Euro 2020 final – and Azpilicueta was forced to protest with a fan after the full-time whistle in an incident that conveyed the bad feeling around Stamford Bridge after another disappointing night. K. Government sanctions owner Roman Abramovich by restricting ticket sales, but reduced attendance alone doesn't explain a third home loss at the Spin for the first time since 1993-94. They also conceded four goals in consecutive league games for the first time since 1989-90. Tuchel, somewhat annoyed, spread the blame everywhere, including his own groundsmen. "To say that the course is difficult to play here might sound like an excuse, but it's a very, very difficult course that we have here," he said. The ball jumps very awkwardly in front of Andreas when he wants to play this ball. Still, we made the same mistake against Real Madrid that cost us the next round of the Champions League and it cost us the next game. I can't remember when we scored two goals like that." There's no guarantee Nketiah will continue on this form, but he certainly earned the right to keep his spot for Saturday's game against Manchester United , a game Arsenal now offers chance to seize the initiative from Tottenham Hotspur in the top 4 race A win would put them ahead of Spurs in fourth place when Antonio Conte's side compete at Brentford That says it all about the weak points of every team below Liverpool and Manchester City, that Arsenal can lose to Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton at this relatively late stage of the season, but beat Chelsea and still have more than a chance at Champions League football to have .

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'The night Arsenal believed in the top 4 again'

Arsenal stunned Chelsea with a 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge to get back on track after three consecutive defeats in the hunt for a Champions League spot. (Author: Gardener)

The night ArsenalThe battle for a spot in the top four of the Premier League and a place in next season's Champions League gradually began to resemble a race to the bottom as Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United all stumbled in search of the prize. The Gunners were in prime position with games in hand weeks ago in fourth place, only to fall into a three-loss spell away at Crystal Palace, at home to Brighton and then Southampton on Saturday. Arsenal's old flaws - lack of fighting quality, a tendency to choke when the pressure mounts - were all revisited leading up to this visit to Chelsea, where they began building pressure as outsiders. A win, however significant, doesn't answer all questions but tonight Arsenal showed they have hope of development under manager Mikel Arteta - but they need to show they can do it again if they achieve their goals want. How much they needed that and how delighted they will be at how they redeemed the gifts from Chelsea's defence. Arsenal are still fifth but are only behind Spurs on goal difference as a derby is played at the Emirates Stadium in north London in May. What an occasion that promises to be. Arteta's decision to show Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the door by gifting him to Barcelona in January was understandably scrutinized as Alexandre Lacazette failed and no replacement came along. He had to pull something out of his pocket and his response was to dismount the fighters Lacazette to the bench and go with 22-year-old Eddie Nketiah. Arteta was richly rewarded as Nketiah was in a predatory mood and scored twice, both times taking advantage of Chelsea's terrible defense and earning a standing ovation from Arsenal's fans when he came on. Arsenal now have it in their hands to reach the top four, but can they have the faith to do it? If it's the team that has shrunk in recent games, it's likely to fall short. And in the broader context, Arsenal have once again shown that if they can recruit wisely in the summer - with the right replacement for Aubameyang Key - there is the basis for a very good side here. Aaron Ramsdale is a developing goalkeeper, Ben White and Gabriel form a good central defense partnership and in Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe they have two Premier League jewels for now and into the future. Saka simply excelled, especially in a hectic first half as he tormented Chelsea's left flank, set up Smith Rowe's goal, created more openings and finally scored the goal he deserved to end the win in the dying seconds after his foul from the Place to Seal by Cesar Azpilicueta. This has to be the result and performance that brings Arsenal into the crucial part of the season. For Chelsea, it was another miserable night at Stamford Bridge and another example of the defensive weaknesses creeping into their game. Chelsea should have enough points to ensure they finish third and face Liverpool in the FA Cup final, but deficiencies in defense must increasingly concern Tuchel. They have now conceded 11 goals in their last three games at Stamford Bridge, four against Brentford and Arsenal in the league on either side of the 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals. As against Brentford, Chelsea struggled from the first whistle as Antonio Rudiger was injured and Thiago Silva was on the bench. Andreas Christensen is expected to join Barcelona in the summer and, in a horrific 45 minutes, performed as if his head had already been on Las Ramblas. He sent Nketiah a terrible back pass in Arsenal's opener before being mercifully removed at half-time. And then we come to Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku's £97.5million summer signing from Inter Milan was set to be the final piece in the puzzle for Chelsea after their Champions League win.

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Nketiah gives new life to Arsenal, Lukaku does not conjure up such a revival

Both Eddie Nketiah and Romelu Lukaku have fallen from grace, but the former gave Arsenal an unlikely win as Chelsea's record signing slump continued. (Author: Gardener)

Arsenal, LukakuLONDON - One is an academy graduate without a Premier League goal all season, the other is a £97.5million forward signed to help his team win the title. Both have fallen out of favor and may be playing football at different clubs next season after publicly raising concerns about their use, but Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah - the 22-year-old, who was only 13, outshone thoroughbred heavyweight Romelu Lukaku and breathed new life into the Gunners' top-four hopes with a brace in Wednesday's 4-2 win at Chelsea. A day after Nketiah gave an interview explaining the reasons for rejecting multiple offers to extend his Arsenal contract, which was due to expire at the end of the season, he was given the chance to lead the attack with Alexandre Lacazette, who is still not up had fully recovered from Covid -19. Get instant accessNketiah capped a fine all-around display with two goals - one in each half, equaling his first brace in the Premier League - to become the first Arsenal player to score twice in that game in almost 11 years and the The Gunners' campaign revitalized after three consecutive defeats. Compare that to Lukaku, who gave a inflammatory interview in December that prompted Blues boss Thomas Tuchel to drop the Belgium international on a train from which his individual form has never recovered. This was Lukaku's first league start since February 19, partly decided by his effort in the first game, his triumphant second coming last August, a goalscoring debut that seemed to signal he was about to take English football by storm after spent two years honing his craft in Serie A at Inter Milan. He touched the ball just 22 times - fewer than any other outfield player on either team - before being substituted on the hour mark, prompting a mixed reception that included some boos from some Chelsea supporters. Looking off the pace in attack, Lukaku provided a reminder of what Chelsea lose in pressing when Kai Havertz isn't up front. Tuchel suggested on Tuesday that Lukaku simply hasn't been fit enough to start games of late and the evidence from west London on Wednesday underscores the notion he still has work to do in that regard. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta sought an internal explanation for Nketiah's lack of effort this season and applauded his young striker's dedication despite receiving few rewards for his involvement in 2022. "Good things happen to good people," Arteta said. "If I've been unfair to a player, it's him." He gave me every right to do something else and if Eddie stopped playing then it's my fault. Today he showed me once again how wrong I was. and so Nketiah's interventions provided a welcome change. Perhaps Arteta's switch to a three-point defense surprised Tuchel somewhat, but not for the first time it was individual errors that cost them dearly. Cesar Azpilicueta, who was sacked by Chelsea aged 14, had an early chance as he charged on goal to pass Edouard Mendy on a low break, but Arsenal made the most of the more defensive uncertainty created by Thiago Silvas Midterm introduction for Christensen was not eliminated. First of all, Nketiah's persistence was rewarded when he scored a goal in the 57th minute when Malang Sarr and Silva found themselves in trouble. Then, in the game's closing moments, Azpilicueta awarded a bizarre stoppage-time penalty when Cedric Soares' cross landed behind Bukayo Saka, but the Blues captain still held the England international down, leaving referee Jon Moss with an easy decision. Saka put down the penalty – his first since missing for England in the Euro 2020 final – and Azpilicueta was forced to protest with a fan after the full-time whistle in an incident that conveyed the bad feeling around Stamford Bridge after another disappointing night. The crowd was reduced to 32,249 as a result of UK government sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich restricting ticket sales, but the reduced crowd alone does not explain a third home loss at the Spin for the first time since 1993-94. They also conceded four goals in consecutive league games for the first time since 1989/90. Tuchel, a little annoyed, spread the blame in all directions, including his own groundskeepers. "Maybe that sounds like an excuse, but we have a very, very difficult pitch here," he said round of the champions league and that cost us the next game i can't remember when we scored two goals like that chance to snatch the initiative from tottenham hotspur in the top four race a win would precede them Spurs fourth when Antonio Conte's side go to Brentford can lose to Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton at this relatively late stage of the season but beat Chelsea and still have more than a chance at the Champions have league football .

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Mikel Arteta's side reignite Premier League top-four hopes with a thrilling win

Report and match highlights as Arsenal get their Champions League push back on track with 4-2 win at Chelsea; Eddie Nketiah's brace and goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka sealed the win; The Gunners are moving level on points with the fourth-placed Spurs; Chelsea remain third, five ahead of Arsenal (Author: Gardener)

ArtetaEddie Nketiah was Arsenal's hero as they reignited their battle for a place in the top four thanks to a thrilling 4-2 win at Chelsea. The Gunners took the lead not once but twice at Stamford Bridge with goals from Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe, but Chelsea found a response on both occasions as Timo Werner's deflected strike and Cesar Azpilicueta's low goal leveled the sides at the break . The goal wasn't over in the second half as the Gunners took the lead again and it was Nketiah who secured his side's third place before Bukayo Saka sealed Arsenal's win from the point after being brought down late by Azpilicueta had been. The win ends a string of three consecutive Premier League defeats for Arsenal and sees Mikel Arteta's side level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham - who they have yet to play against towards the end of the season - ahead of another crucial game against Manchester United on Saturday at Emirates Stadium. Meanwhile, Chelsea, who suffered their second successive league home defeat, remain third, five points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal. In a hectic first half, Arsenal took the lead when a long hopeful ball went unworked by Andreas Christensen and his embezzled back pass was picked up by Nketiah, who expertly finished past Edouard Mendy for his first league goal of the season. Much to the frustration of Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, the lead didn't last long as Chelsea were back level just four minutes later. The Gunners missed numerous chances to clear the ball before Werner's shot was deflected off Granit Xhaka to level. It was a difficult evening for both defenses as Arsenal restored their lead midway through the first 45 minutes. Smith Rowe scored another fine finish to round off an excellent team goal and swept into the bottom corner after excellent work from Xhaka and Martin Odegaard in the build-up. The goals kept falling and the away celebrations were cut short again when Chelsea hit back... again. Cesar Azpilicueta launched like a striker to put Mason Mount's ball inside the box at the end to put the two sides even at the break. Chelsea responded to their first-half defensive weaknesses by substituting Thiago Silva for Christensen but it would be Arsenal who took the lead for the third time. More indecisiveness in Chelsea's defense allowed the striker to get involved and he thrust home after Nuno Tavares' cross went unprocessed by the Blues' back line. Another frustrating night for Romelu Lukaku came to an end when Chelsea threw a shot at Kai Havertz as they looked for the night's third equalizer but it never came. Arsenal won a late penalty when Bukayo Saka was pulled down by Azpilicueta. The forward dusted off to convert the resulting penalty and score a crucial three points for the Gunners. "I like what I've seen at Arsenal." I think if they had lost today it would have been too much for Arsenal to come back from four losses on spin. All the talk before the game was Arsenal's goal-shy forwards. The Gunners' 1-0 defeat by Southampton on Saturday made it 15 games since one of their Premier League forwards scored from open play, a streak that stretched back to December. As the Gunners' leader at Stamford Bridge, there would have been doubts about Nketiah's inclusion following his performance at Southampton. There were calls for Gabriel Martinelli down the middle and even calls for Nicolas Pepe to play as a forward. Arteta stuck by the former England Under-21 striker, however, and it was a decision that paid off as Nketiah put on a superb performance, scoring two opportunistic goals to lead his side to a crucial win in the race for the top four . "He could be a 4/10 next week, if he wasn't he would be with the team every week, this is his second start all season," Paul Merson told Sky Sports. “The consistency isn't there but if he makes it for three or four games Arsenal will be fourth. “He's a natural goalscorer and he's ready to go above that. Lacazette would not have pursued that first [goal]. He would not have scored those two goals. After such a performance, it's hard to see that he doesn't get an opportunity to back up that performance against Manchester United. "Nketiah will play Man Utd at the weekend," former Gunners forward Alan Smith said shortly after the striker was substituted. Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel: "It was a totally wild and open game in the first half, already at 2-2 after we came back twice. We got off to a good start but again we gave away the first goal, which is impossible for these things. "We came back twice and scored two more goals in the second half, unfortunately for the wrong team. "It's a level of error that Number of mistakes in consecutive games here at home, at this level it's impossible. It's just impossible, but we're doing it at the moment and you can't win football games like this. Then it's a game for the players. And they have to face the reality that making so many mistakes of this caliber is impossible to win games. It's just impossible. I don't see it in any other game, but I'm seeing it in back-to-back plays of our games now and it needs to stop. You have to go to those stadiums and beat the top teams. So they did it and I'm really proud of them, but I'm even prouder of how we've reacted as a group over the past few weeks. When you lose games you get penalized, you get criticized but for these players I don't care because it's so worth it. To win a London derby away from home and the way we did it, I'm really happy." Chelsea are back at home and back with Sky Sports on Super Sunday when they host West Ham in the Premier League, kick-off 2pm. Arsenal will will be back in action on Saturday afternoon when they welcome Manchester United to the Emirates, kick-off is 12.30pm.

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Eddie Nketiah delivers for Arsenal, Kevin de Bruyne improves, Mohamed Salah is back at his best

Plus: Newcastles nod to the good old days; Everton keep distance from relegation battle; Leicester lack the edge; the rift between rivals Liverpool and Man Utd, clearly visible at Anfield; Title and top 4 races unpredictable... (Author: Gardener)

Eddie NketiahAll the talk before the game was Arsenal's goal-shy forwards. The Gunners' 1-0 defeat by Southampton on Saturday made it 15 games since one of their Premier League forwards scored from open play, a streak that stretched back to December. As the Gunners' leader at Stamford Bridge, there would have been doubts about Nketiah's inclusion following his performance at Southampton. Arteta stuck by the former England Under-21 striker, however, and it was a decision that paid off as Nketiah put on a superb performance, scoring two opportunistic goals to lead his side to a crucial win in the race for the top four . "He could be a 4/10 next week, if he wasn't he would be with the team every week, this is his second start all season," Paul Merson told Sky Sports. "The consistency isn't there but if he can do it for three or four games Arsenal can be fourth. Lacazette wouldn't have followed up on that first [goal]. He wouldn't have scored those two goals. After such a performance "Nketiah will come at the weekend to play against Man Utd," said Alan Smith, the former Gunners forward, shortly after the striker was substituted he needed and was exactly what his team and club needed." What Arsenal needs is him to keep doing it and who knows his future, which has long been in doubt, may still be with Arsenal. Kevin De Bruyne played his 300th game for Manchester City against Brighton. Normally players approaching such a milestone for a club will slack off to allow the younger guns to come through and push the team forward. In his current form he is playing the best football of his career. One could easily argue that he is currently the best midfielder in the world, maybe even the best player in the world. His performance against the Seagulls was another example of his greatness. He has now been directly involved in six goals in his last five Premier League games. When Manchester City needed inspiration on what was looking like a nervous night, De Bruyne took charge and found a gear change needed to set up the all-important first goal. His direct run through Brighton midfield was unstoppable for most of the game and in the 53rd minute he passed three Brighton defenders before a somewhat fortunate rebound was sent through Riyad Mahrez who used a deflection to finish . The third goal, assisted by De Bruyne with a drool-inducing flick, was nothing accidental to somehow find Bernardo Silva in space, firing impeccably from the edge of the box. No player has ever won the PFA Player of the Year award three years after filming, but his season-ending brilliance could detract from the pick of Mohamed Salah, who has been the clear favorite for the award for many months. In this mood, there aren't many better players in world football than the City star. "When he's mentally ready and fit, he's an incredibly special player, it was an incredible achievement." Newcastle have not recorded six straight Premier League wins since the era of Sir Bobby Robson - and it is this kind of football that the club's new Saudi owners have been trying to work towards after years of stagnation. Not much would be uncovered tonight – as both sides had all but assured survival of the Premier League ahead of the game – but now the Magpies have their sights set on the top half. Should Newcastle end the season in the top ten in the top flight then it will be a really positive start to six months at St James' Park for the new owner. It justifies the patient process of hiring Eddie Howe, as well as the club's early investment in the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, who has settled in quickly in midfield alongside Jonjo Shelvey and Joelinton. In the meantime, excellent home form will help unite the team, its owners and the fans as they take the first steps on this new journey together. Away form is less impressive with three straight defeats – and with Liverpool and Arsenal yet to visit St James' Park, improvement on the road will be next on Howe's checklist. For Crystal Palace, Patrick Vieira demanded ahead of the game that his players don't just fade into May after their FA Cup semi-final defeat - so he won't be at all happy with that performance. The likes of Connor Gallagher and Michael Olise didn't seem up for the challenge tonight - which may have explained their premature withdrawal either side at half-time. For 91 agonizing minutes, Everton seemed poised to wrap a gift and send it to Turf Moor ahead of what could be a pivotal stage in this season's relegation run. An eighth home defeat in the league was on the cards as Harvey Barnes' opener was followed by a string of missed Everton chances and a disjointed performance by Frank Lampard's side against Leicester. Such an eventuality would have given Burnley a boost without a manager in time for their hard-hitting Premier League game against Southampton on Thursday. Indeed, a win would have lifted the Clarets above Everton and out of the bottom three if things had gone as they threatened. But to their credit, Everton made sure they didn't, channeling the energy of Goodison Park deep into injury time, where Richarlison atoned for his two previous glaring errors to salvage a dramatic late point. That means that instead of needing to win just one of their next two games to put Everton in the bottom three ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby at Anfield, Burnley will need to catch up with another win over the Saints against Wolves on Sunday. Everton may have secured just one point against Leicester, but with the Clarets recording just one straight Premier League win all season it was the kind of relegation battle win that might just help them win the war. Leicester experienced a frustrating sense of déjà vu as they trudged off the field at Goodison Park. Just like three days earlier at St James' Park, where Bruno Guimaraes clinched all three points for Newcastle in the dying seconds, two more points went past Brendan Rodgers. Perhaps most frustratingly, Everton should have been buried long before Richarlison's dramatic stoppage-time equalizer. Leicester's start was bold despite Rodgers' seven changes before the game. The attacking flair and skillful development were there, with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and James Maddison setting the rhythm of the game from the first whistle, but the presence at the top of the field to convert their dominance into goals was critically lacking. Rodgers announced after the draw at Goodison that Jamie Vardy would return to training on Thursday after a month on the sidelines. His return can't come soon enough, only Newcastle (24) and Southampton (23) have lost more points from winning positions than Leicester (19) this season in the Premier League. Things haven't been bad for Liverpool in the past few weeks. They are now unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and 13 times unbeaten in the league as they still seek an unprecedented quadruple win. However, many conversations have focused on Mohamed Salah's form. The Egyptian had not scored in eight games prior to his double against Man Utd and questions have been asked of Jurgen Klopp, who rested him against Benfica recently in the Champions League. All those doubts about Salah were finally dispelled against United when he returned to the goalscoring charts and looked a lot more like his old self, which had Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher upset about the season opener. He said: "What makes me think this could be a really special season is the performances in the last two games. Liverpool have done the job in the last eight to ten games, great quality, but tonight I felt the energy had returned. The momentum in the passing game, the pressing and it was there against Manchester City at the weekend. "With Mo Salah coming back, it's not just his goals, it's the sharpness, the energy." He struggled with that, it wasn't just the goals, he hadn't looked after himself in games. If Liverpool can keep that up until the end of the season, I'm adamant it could be a very special season He's also only the second player to play at home in a single season in the Premier League, after Mesut Özil in 2015/16 - and away games against United both goals scored and assists Anfield have taken their tally for the league season to 22 and extended their lead at the top of the Premier League's goalscoring charts to five goals ahead of Heung-Min Son of the goal for Salah it could Liverpool to make a historian. Klopp had hailed it as a meeting between England's two greatest teams and it had that great feel right up to kick-off when the reality hit home. Liverpool played at a pace that United couldn't understand, let alone handle. Their trajectory feels so different as they chase an unprecedented quadruple that would not only eclipse their rivals but eclipse the outstanding performance in Manchester United history. Thiago Alcantara was a notch above on that pitch but no one in a United shirt came close. Moments later, David de Gea hesitated as the Brazilian would certainly have come out for clarification. That led to the opening goal and Ralf Rangnick's containment and frustration plan lay in tatters. Has a supposed top team ever played with that little faith? While it may still seem amazing that two teams with similar salaries can end up producing such contrasting performances, there should be absolutely no mystery as to why. This is the result of perfect planning at Liverpool, while United have yet to implement one. Judgment about the here and now fell on the pitch at Anfield Road. This was a wasted season. Where do you start at Manchester United? Is it the owners, the board, the manager or the players? One thing is for sure, it's not the fans. The United away support supported their team at Anfield in the only way they know how, despite observing a team - a club - that has become a shell of its former self and has been humbled by its great rivals. A penny for the thoughts of one of their biggest supporters, Sir Alex Ferguson, who watched the recent disaster stone-faced from high up in the stands. The ex-United legend and Sky Sports' Roy Keane called it "sad", while Gary Neville called the club "broken" as Liverpool showed their class and exposed the grim reality for United since second place in the last season have fallen behind. Not a single Man Utd fan came here with any hopes. This team has nothing. "I can't explain how it's gone from a somewhat promising second place at the end of last season - I know they lost in the Europa League final which was a bad one - to where we are today stand, which is an all-time win low in my 42 years of watching United. This is a club that spent over £100m last summer, re-signed the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo and harbored hopes of challenging Liverpool and Manchester City in earnest. Now it's one with him. An interim manager, a tedious coaching job and a string of players who are disinterested, unmotivated and uninspiring. With five games left in the season, things could get worse.

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Eddie Nketiah delivers for Arsenal, Kevin de Bruyne improves, Mohamed Salah is back at his best

Plus: Newcastles nod to the good old days; Everton keep distance from relegation battle; Leicester lack the edge; the rift between rivals Liverpool and Man Utd, clearly visible at Anfield; Title and top 4 races unpredictable... (Author: Gardener)

Eddie NketiahAll the talk before the game was Arsenal's goal-shy forwards. The Gunners' 1-0 defeat by Southampton on Saturday made it 15 games since one of their Premier League forwards scored from open play, a streak that stretched back to December. As the Gunners' leader at Stamford Bridge, there would have been doubts about Nketiah's inclusion following his performance at Southampton. Arteta stuck by the former England Under-21 striker, however, and it was a decision that paid off as Nketiah put on a superb performance, scoring two opportunistic goals to lead his side to a crucial win in the race for the top four . "He could be a 4/10 next week, if he wasn't he would be with the team every week, this is his second start all season," Paul Merson told Sky Sports. "The consistency isn't there but if he can do it for three or four games Arsenal can be fourth. Lacazette wouldn't have followed up on that first [goal]. He wouldn't have scored those two goals. After such a performance "Nketiah will come at the weekend to play against Man Utd," said Alan Smith, the former Gunners forward, shortly after the striker was substituted he needed and was exactly what his team and club needed." What Arsenal needs is him to keep doing it and who knows his future, which has long been in doubt, may still be with Arsenal. Kevin De Bruyne played his 300th game for Manchester City against Brighton. Normally players approaching such a milestone for a club will slack off to allow the younger guns to come through and push the team forward. In his current form he is playing the best football of his career. One could easily argue that he is currently the best midfielder in the world, maybe even the best player in the world. His performance against the Seagulls was another example of his greatness. He has now been directly involved in six goals in his last five Premier League games. When Manchester City needed inspiration on what was looking like a nervous night, De Bruyne took charge and found a gear change needed to set up the all-important first goal. His direct run through Brighton midfield was unstoppable for most of the game and in the 53rd minute he passed three Brighton defenders before a somewhat fortunate rebound was sent through Riyad Mahrez who used a deflection to finish . The third goal, assisted by De Bruyne with a drool-inducing flick, was nothing accidental to somehow find Bernardo Silva in space, firing impeccably from the edge of the box. No player has ever won the PFA Player of the Year award three years after filming, but his season-ending brilliance could detract from the pick of Mohamed Salah, who has been the clear favorite for the award for many months. In this mood, there aren't many better players in world football than the City star. "When he's mentally ready and fit, he's an incredibly special player, it was an incredible achievement." Newcastle have not recorded six straight Premier League wins since the era of Sir Bobby Robson - and it is this kind of football that the club's new Saudi owners have been trying to work towards after years of stagnation. Not much would be uncovered tonight – as both sides had all but assured survival of the Premier League ahead of the game – but now the Magpies have their sights set on the top half. Should Newcastle end the season in the top ten in the top flight then it will be a really positive start to six months at St James' Park for the new owner. It justifies the patient process of hiring Eddie Howe, as well as the club's early investment in the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, who has settled in quickly in midfield alongside Jonjo Shelvey and Joelinton. In the meantime, excellent home form will help unite the team, its owners and the fans as they take the first steps on this new journey together. Away form is less impressive with three straight defeats – and with Liverpool and Arsenal yet to visit St James' Park, improvement on the road will be next on Howe's checklist. For Crystal Palace, Patrick Vieira demanded ahead of the game that his players don't just fade into May after their FA Cup semi-final defeat - so he won't be at all happy with that performance. The likes of Connor Gallagher and Michael Olise didn't seem up for the challenge tonight - which may have explained their premature withdrawal either side at half-time. For 91 agonizing minutes, Everton seemed poised to wrap a gift and send it to Turf Moor ahead of what could be a pivotal stage in this season's relegation run. An eighth home defeat in the league was on the cards as Harvey Barnes' opener was followed by a string of missed Everton chances and a disjointed performance by Frank Lampard's side against Leicester. Such an eventuality would have given Burnley a boost without a manager in time for their hard-hitting Premier League game against Southampton on Thursday. Indeed, a win would have lifted the Clarets above Everton and out of the bottom three if things had gone as they threatened. But to their credit, Everton made sure they didn't, channeling the energy of Goodison Park deep into injury time, where Richarlison atoned for his two previous glaring errors to salvage a dramatic late point. That means that instead of needing to win just one of their next two games to put Everton in the bottom three ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby at Anfield, Burnley will need to catch up with another win over the Saints against Wolves on Sunday. Everton may have secured just one point against Leicester, but with the Clarets recording just one straight Premier League win all season it was the kind of relegation battle win that might just help them win the war. Leicester experienced a frustrating sense of déjà vu as they trudged off the field at Goodison Park. Just like three days earlier at St James' Park, where Bruno Guimaraes clinched all three points for Newcastle in the dying seconds, two more points went past Brendan Rodgers. Perhaps most frustratingly, Everton should have been buried long before Richarlison's dramatic stoppage-time equalizer. Leicester's start was bold despite Rodgers' seven changes before the game. The attacking flair and skillful development were there, with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and James Maddison setting the rhythm of the game from the first whistle, but the presence at the top of the field to convert their dominance into goals was critically lacking. Rodgers announced after the draw at Goodison that Jamie Vardy would return to training on Thursday after a month on the sidelines. His return can't come soon enough, only Newcastle (24) and Southampton (23) have lost more points from winning positions than Leicester (19) this season in the Premier League. Things haven't been bad for Liverpool in the past few weeks. They are now unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and 13 times unbeaten in the league as they still seek an unprecedented quadruple win. However, many conversations have focused on Mohamed Salah's form. The Egyptian had not scored in eight games prior to his double against Man Utd and questions have been asked of Jurgen Klopp, who rested him against Benfica recently in the Champions League. All those doubts about Salah were finally dispelled against United when he returned to the goalscoring charts and looked a lot more like his old self, which had Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher upset about the season opener. He said: "What makes me think this could be a really special season is the performances in the last two games. Liverpool have done the job in the last eight to ten games, great quality, but tonight I felt the energy had returned. The momentum in the passing game, the pressing and it was there against Manchester City at the weekend. "With Mo Salah coming back, it's not just his goals, it's the sharpness, the energy." He struggled with that, it wasn't just the goals, he hadn't looked after himself in games. If Liverpool can keep that up until the end of the season, I'm adamant it could be a very special season He's also only the second player to play at home in a single season in the Premier League, after Mesut Özil in 2015/16 - and away games against United both goals scored and assists Anfield have taken their tally for the league season to 22 and extended their lead at the top of the Premier League's goalscoring charts to five goals ahead of Heung-Min Son of the goal for Salah it could Liverpool to make a historian. Klopp had hailed it as a meeting between England's two greatest teams and it had that great feel right up to kick-off when the reality hit home. Liverpool played at a pace that United couldn't understand, let alone handle. Their trajectory feels so different as they chase an unprecedented quadruple that would not only eclipse their rivals but eclipse the outstanding performance in Manchester United history. Thiago Alcantara was a notch above on that pitch but no one in a United shirt came close. Moments later, David de Gea hesitated as the Brazilian would certainly have come out for clarification. That led to the opening goal and Ralf Rangnick's containment and frustration plan lay in tatters. Has a supposed top team ever played with that little faith? While it may still seem amazing that two teams with similar salaries can end up producing such contrasting performances, there should be absolutely no mystery as to why. This is the result of perfect planning at Liverpool, while United have yet to implement one. Judgment about the here and now fell on the pitch at Anfield Road. This was a wasted season. Where do you start at Manchester United? Is it the owners, the board, the manager or the players? One thing is for sure, it's not the fans. The United away support supported their team at Anfield in the only way they know how, despite observing a team - a club - that has become a shell of its former self and has been humbled by its great rivals. A penny for the thoughts of one of their biggest supporters, Sir Alex Ferguson, who watched the recent disaster stone-faced from high up in the stands. The ex-United legend and Sky Sports' Roy Keane called it "sad", while Gary Neville called the club "broken" as Liverpool showed their class and exposed the grim reality for United since second place in the last season have fallen behind. Not a single Man Utd fan came here with any hopes. This team has nothing. "I can't explain how it's gone from a somewhat promising second place at the end of last season - I know they lost in the Europa League final which was a bad one - to where we are today stand, which is an all-time win low in my 42 years of watching United. This is a club that spent over £100m last summer, re-signed the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo and harbored hopes of challenging Liverpool and Manchester City in earnest. Now it's one with him. An interim manager, a tedious coaching job and a string of players who are disinterested, unmotivated and uninspiring. With five games left in the season, things could get worse.

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Mikel Arteta leaves the celebration to Bukayo Saka and Arsenal players who show fighting spirit in a must-win game

A late Bukayo Saka penalty secured Arsenal a 4-2 win at Chelsea (Author: Gardener)

Bukayo SakaLONDON - Few managers can have enjoyed three vital points, four goals and a triumph at the home ground of their great rivals with such unseen delight as Mikel Arteta tonight. For most of Arsenal's 4-2 win over Chelsea, he had the look on his face of a man who has just been told he needs to fill out his tax reform while he undergoes a root canal. "The guy who invented this game wanted to make us suffer," Arteta said. And yet his side have plunged back into the Champions League race, ending a three-game losing streak that threatened to be fatal to their fourth-place hopes. It could still be, but it's clear on Wednesday night they won't concede fourth place to Tottenham without a fight. Granted, it was the kind of performance by both teams that successful managers can only enjoy with clenched teeth, a thrill for neutrals, a horror show for coaches looking for defensive solidity. It was not for the first time in recent weeks that Thomas Tuchel's team ended the game with further critical mistakes. This was unbridled chaos, one of the most disastrous the Premier League has seen since yesterday. Andreas Christensen set the tone for his team-mates and Arsenal counterparts with the simplest of errors, letting a back pass towards Edouard Mendy shine with so little pace that Eddie Nketiah was able to steal and put the ball in the bottom corner to roll. Tuchel, stunned by the series of mistakes his side have made at the back, opted to blame the pitch at Stamford Bridge rather than his centre-back. The course is difficult to play here. It might sound like an excuse, but it's a very, very difficult place that we have here. "The ball jumps very awkwardly in front of Andreas when he wants to play this ball. We made the same mistake against Real Madrid that cost us the Champions League. It shouldn't go unnoticed that Nketiah has quite a habit of positioning himself "The right place for the good rebounds and wrong shots. It's a good centre-forward game. Whoever brings this young forward after his contract expires at the end of the season, has some interesting raw materials to work with. Still, Arteta wasn't impressed. Bukayo Saka was the main theme of his exuberance, Arsenal's No. 7, deployed in a role that seemed to oscillate between right-back and winger.The triggers for a change in that approach was not always clear, not least for Saka. With the ball, Marcos Alonso couldn't defend him. Without her, he couldn't defend Alonso. Both of Chelsea's equalizers came from Arsenal's inability to easily break free , when they were pinned into their own right corner.First off, Ruben Loftus-Che ek snuck in to take a to win an insufficient Nketiah pass, the ball finally landed at Timo Werner. His shot was deflected off Granit Xhaka but the pace at which the shot took the ball was so fast that Aaron Ramsdale might have wondered if he could have done more. He didn't stand a chance in Chelsea's second goal, where Nuno Tavares didn't give up a fight as Cesar Azpilicueta shot in front of him to convert Romelu Lukaku's cross. Arteta had seen it coming. They had rolled fire in their own box before Granit Xhaka nutmegd Alonso to make Arsenal bubbly on the counter. From there the goal was a picture, Martin Odegaard stepping up on Emile Smith Rowe to roll the ball into the bottom right corner. But while nine of the fielders celebrated in the corner, it was revealing that Arteta summoned Gabriel to an almighty dressing. Arsenal refused to turn the most favorable break in their favor. Her manager was apoplectic, as manic as a man returning from an ayahuasca retreat. It didn't help that he was less than thrilled with Jon Moss's acting fourth official, Andrew Madley berated decision to stop play when Nuno Azpilicueta crossed in the face. "With the coaster that we had out there, it was difficult to predict what might happen," Arteta said. You can't offer a more compelling explanation than these two executives, who found themselves in a body-swap comedy, Wacky Wednesday, if you will. So it was that the first notable contribution from Thiago Silva, brought in to add some composure to a defense awkwardly anchored by Christensen, saw him execute Nketiah with a perfect sliding attack, only for the ball to flip in front of the Arsenal striker his other centre-back cannoned it past Mendy. Arsenal would never cross to the finish line, Alonso had saved two shots just after Nketiah's second while Werner was also close. Still falling deep to defend a lead is Rob Holding's idea of ​​a perfect Sunday. Enjoying the balls flying into his box, he showed real liveliness to keep up with Werner as he charged down the left flank. In fact, Arsenal's real mess came at the other end. Saka was slipping just as a pass from Gabriel Martinelli seemed to break in his direction. Cedric charged down the right and seemed to get caught under his own feet, delaying a cross which was then smashed into the away fans by Nuno. Still, this game had one last inexplicable moment to deliver. With his teammates pushing the field higher, Azpilicueta had to do something to deal with Cedric's cross. It was perhaps debatable whether dragging Saka to the ground was the right approach, although the Chelsea captain was visibly mortified by what he believed to be his opponent's determination to sell the foul as best he could. However, it provided Arsenal's No. 7 with the perfect moment to put behind the most difficult moment of his young career and miss the crucial penalty in the Euro 2020 final. He doesn't need to reciprocate for having the guts to stand up at a crucial moment and try to deliver. "I thought Gabi [Martinelli] would take it," Arteta told CBS Sports. "When I saw Bukayo going to take it, honestly my first thought was back in the summer and what happened. Finally, a smile spread across Arteta's face.

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