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Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea: Captain Fantastic Leads by Example

Martin Odegaard celebrates scoring against Chelsea

Match Report – Match Highlights – Post-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea (Odegaard 18′, 31′, G. Jesus 34′ | Madueke 65′)

Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; White, Kiwior, Gabriel (Holding 85′), Zinchenko (Tierney 73′); Jorginho (Partey 86′), Xhaka; Saka (Nelson 74′), Odegaard, Trossard (Martinelli 59′); G. Jesus

I had predicted a shakeup in the starting XI with the likes of Jakub Kiwior, Jorginho and Leandro Trossard coming into the side to add some measure of freshness, and we got just that as Mikel Arteta made some alterations ahead of the clash against Chelsea at the Emirates. The Blues came into last night’s game in the most wretched of forms, and it was evident with the football on display. There was even a rare start for ex-Gunner, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and as we have come to expect in recent times, he put up another shambolic display, having only seven touches or so all game long, before losing his place to Kai Havertz. 

As early as the fourth minute, Chelsea’s shakiness was on show when Cesar Azpilicueta’s attempted header back to his goalie was weak, with the ball falling gracefully to Granit Xhaka’s path. The Swiss’ toe poke goalwards was quickly smothered by Kepa Arrizabalaga. Arsenal continued the onslaught when Trossard showed some good movement on the left before teeing up Gabriel Jesus that got in between the Chelsea center halves and blasted a goal-bound shot that was saved by Kepa. 

Just like in previous weeks, Kepa has had to be in his best form to keep the score lines respectable, making saves that are ultimately not enough to secure a clean sheet. With the intense amount of pressure exerted by Arsenal, a goal was inevitable and it arrived when Xhaka received the ball on the left and threaded a cushioned pass to Martin Odegaard. The Arsenal captain showed good technique to hit the ball first time with his magic wand of a left boot, smashing the underside of the bar to creep into the goal despite Kepa’s best efforts to keep it out. 

Chelsea made a rare foray forward and almost got the equalizer when N’Golo Kante sent a through ball to Ben Chilwell’s path. Bukayo Saka tried to intercept the ball but was left flat on his ass, allowing the Chelsea fullback to bear down on goal before firing a swift shot that was saved superbly by Aaron Ramsdale. 

Trossard was having a field day with Azpilicueta on the Chelsea right flank, and he got great combination play with Xhaka who located Odegaard at the edge of the box. Like his first strike, Odegaard hit Xhaka’s pass first time and didn’t connect superbly with it, but the direction of the shot, as well as the ball bouncing on the ground, was more than enough to deflect it far from Kepa to the Arsenal goal. Two goals to the good and the Emirates was rocking, but even the most avid skeptics took cues from the last times Arsenal scored two goals, only to concede twice, with both games ending as draws. It wasn’t going to be a case of deja vu, as the Gunners scored a third courtesy of some quick thinking from Jesus. White swung in a deep cross to the far post and after a goal-mouth scramble, Jesus was on hand to blast the ball in from a tight spot.

Three goals up and the Gunners were cruising. 

Arsenal maintained their foot on the pedal in the second and almost made it four when Trossard’s in-swinger was directed towards an unguarded goal through Gabriel’s shoulder, but Thiago Silva was on hand to control the ball with his thigh before clearing it off the line. The players protested that it had crossed the line but the referee’s GLT watch didn’t vibrate, and the replays showed that their claims were wrong. The Gunners continued their incessant attacking play with a swift counter attack that saw Saka tee up Xhaka at the edge of the box. The Swiss midfielder got round Wesley Fofana and fired a shot on goal, but Kepa made another superb stop. The chances kept piling up for Arsenal with Jesus and Saka having efforts that missed their mark.

With Arsenal on cruise control against this atrocious Chelsea side, there was always the threat of complacency, and it was on show when Mateo Kovacic was unmarked in the middle and his dinked effort to Noni Madueke wasn’t intercepted by Oleksandr Zinchenko, allowing the English winger to control the ball and bundle it into the goal despite an onrushing Gabriel that clattered into his goalie, which caused an injury, because Gabriel was in discomfort till his eventual substitution for Rob Holding. 

Following the blip from the Chelsea goal, Arsenal got on the ascendancy and carved open a great chance for Odegaard to seal his hat-trick but Kepa made yet another glorious save. The Spanish shot stopper made more stops from Xhaka and Saka taking his tally in the game to six. Arsenal had 16 shots in the game with 10 on target, showing their clear dominance over their West London neighbors.

Yes, it was a dire performance from Lampard and his cohorts, but you can’t take anything away from the superb outing from the lads last night. The win has taken Arsenal back to the top of the table, and we will have to hope West Ham has what it takes to keep out the Man City juggernaut, even though it seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened in the Premier League.


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Chelsea Preview: Pile on the Lampard Losing Misery

Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard

Chelsea visit the Emirates Stadium on the back of a very wretched record under Frank Lampard, and even Graham Potter before him. Chelsea’s last victory was as far back as March 2023, when they defeated Leicester on the road, but since then, they lost at home to Aston Villa, endured a boring stalemate against Liverpool, which eventually cost Potter his job. Lampard surprisingly came onboard, losing to Wolves in his comeback fixture, then followed it up with an expected loss away to Real Madrid. Brighton came to town and ran Chelsea ragged, with Kepa Arrizabalaga keeping the score line respectable, even though it was still a loss. Real Madrid visited Stamford Bridge and stamped their authority, running out as 2-0 and Chelsea’s last fixture was yet another home loss to Brentford. 

In addition to the horrific losing streak, Chelsea has found scoring goals hard to come by, with just one goal scored in their last seven games, which is shocking, with the amazing amount of talent at their disposal. The Blues have lost 19 games in total this season and last lost 20 in a single campaign in 1987-88. The club has lost 11 of their 26 Premier League matches since Thomas Tuchel departed. Lampard has won just one of his last 15 Premier League games as a manager across his time as Everton and Chelsea boss, collecting just five points from a possible 45. That solitary win came at home to Crystal Palace in October 2022 (3-0).

Arsenal hasn’t also been in the best of form, with one victory, three consecutive draws and the crushing defeat to Man City that has seen their Premier League title charge falter, so tonight’s contest will be one that has a bitter taste in the mouths of everyone concerned with Arsenal. The Gunners know that its no longer in their hands, but will have to win every game and hope that Man City drops points elsewhere.

Mikel Arteta has stated that he’s not satisfied with second spot,

 “Within the disappointment and the spirit around [the club], we need to do two things – recognize what a lot of people around the club have done to get us back into the Champions League, which was already a difficult thing to achieve. 

“Not a lot of people were very optimistic that we had the ability to do that at the start of the season, and we need to start recognizing the good work that a lot of people have done to achieve that. 

“The second thing – which I like the most – is that even achieving that with six games to go – something that hasn’t happened in more than a decade at this club – that we are still not satisfied, still upset and we want more. If we want the club to be consistently with the best, that’s the mentality we need and that’s what I’ve loved most over the last few days.

“We can still achieve the Premier League because there are five games to go and there are a lot of things that are still going to happen. What we have to do is forget about what happened last week, learn from it and move on to the next game at home with our people for a London derby and put things right.”

Brighton’s loss to Nottingham Forest guaranteed Arsenal Champions League football, a feat that had not been achieved since the 2016/17 campaign, which is definitely a step in the right direction, and Arteta and his lads should be lauded for that milestone. However, we as fans can also understand the gaffer’s disappointment that the club’s current form has seen them drop valuable points, that has seen the title picture fade slightly away. 

The Gunners will need to sort out their defense, with the way they have been shipping goals in, with 11 conceded in their last four games. Some would be expecting some shake up at the back, and I think it’s time to give Jakub Kiwior a run out ahead of Rob Holding. Leandro Trossard is another player that needs to return to the starting XI, and Gabriel Jesus might be the one to give way, but that solely rests on Mikel Arteta. Thomas Partey is someone in need of a breather, with Jorginho fired up to play his former teammates. 

To team news, it seems William Saliba’s race is run for the campaign, as there have been no improvements from his back injury, while Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny remain long-term absentees following their successful surgeries. Granit Xhaka recovered from his bout of illness, but his performance against Manchester City showed that he probably was still ill. However, Fabio Vieira hasn’t done enough to knock Xhaka off his perch, so I expect the Swiss midfielder to continue in midfield. Chelsea has some injury concerns especially in defense, with Kalilou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Reece James all out. Frank Lampard’s love child, Mason Mount, is also out, and Armando Broja is still recuperating from his knee injury. We could see out former captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, get a run out, but he’s more suited to staying on the bench these days.

Arsenal vs Chelsea Predicted Lineups

Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Kiwior, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Xhaka, Jorginho, Odegaard; Martinelli, Trossard, Saka.

Chelsea: Kepa; Chalobah, Silva, Fofana, Chilwell; Fernandez, Kante, Gallagher; Felix, Havertz, Sterling

Injury / Suspension Updates

Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny (knee), Takehiro Tomiyasu (knee), William Saliba (back)

Chelsea: Kalilou Koulibaly (hamstring), Marc Cucurella (thigh), Reece James (hamstring), Mason Mount (pelvis), Armando Broja (knee)

Form Guide

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: W D D D L
  • Last Result: Man City 4-1 Arsenal (De Bruyne 7′, 54′, Stones 45′, Haaland 90′ | Holding 86′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka (15)

Chelsea Form

  • Last Five Games:  L L L L L
  • Last Result: Chelsea 0-2 Brentford (Azpilicueta OG 37′, Mbeumo 78′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Kai Havertz (9)

Gooner Daily predicts a 2-1 win.

Kick Off – 8.00pm (GMT +1) at Emirates Stadium.

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Thoughts on Premier League Teams Performance in Europe

Why Karim Benzema goal vs Liverpool in Champions League Final was ruled  offside | Evening Standard

Liverpool were humiliated last night by Real Madrid

The 2021/22 Premier League campaign ended in rather dramatic fashion with Manchester City and Liverpool leaving it to the final day of the season to decide the fate of the league. The Cityzens retained the Premier League title with 93 points, while Liverpool suffered heartache, as their 92 points wasn’t good enough to finish the campaign triumphant. Chelsea had some poor form in the tail end of the campaign and still finished in third place, while Tottenham Hotspurs pipped past Arsenal at the business end of the season to nick the last Champions League spot. There was a little battle between Manchester United and West Ham United to determine who would get the newly formed Conference League slot, but the Hammers had the honors.

This essentially meant that England had sent seven teams to conquer Europe in three different competitions. The early parts of the campaign saw all the teams feature in Group Stage action but at this point, we are in the business end of the competition, and I intend to see how all seven teams have fared so far in their respective competitions.

I will start with the team in the Conference League, then check out the ones in Europa and of course, the big one, the Champions League.

West Ham United

David Moyes and his West Ham side have been in the trenches all season long with just five wins from a possible 23, languishing in the relegation zone. Arsenal is also interested in one of their prized assets, Declan Rice, and with the club’s form still diminishing, I will not be surprised if the English midfielder jumps ship at the end of the season.

West Ham’s form in the UEFA Conference League though, is in stark contrast to their form in the Premier League, and I’d guess it has to do with the quality of the opposition they have faced thus far. In August, they had to go through a qualification phase, smashing six goals past Danish outfit, Viborg, to qualify for the competition proper. They were paired in the same group with Anderlecht, Silkeborg and Steaua Bucharest, amassing 18 points from their six games in the group. I guess the players are loving life in the Conference League, while their struggles continue in the Premier League.

West Ham United 2-1 Anderlecht: Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma score as  Hammers progress - BBC Sport

Bowen scoring Anderlecht

For winning their group, West Ham awaits the outcome of the Playoff encounters, which are currently ongoing, and the draws for the Conference League Round of 16 takes place in a couple of days. There are not much teams that can strike fear in the heart of West Ham fans at this point in the competition, but going from the Playoff results so far, the only teams worth mentioning are Fiorentina, Lazio, Villarreal and OGC Nice.

Best of luck to West Ham as they progress further in the competition.


The Gunners used to be consistent qualifiers for the UEFA Champions League with regular top four finishes in the Premier League, but shockingly, Arsenal has not featured in Europe’s elite competition for close to seven seasons, with consecutive outings in the Europa League as well as a campaign where there was no European competition at all.

Following a painful fifth placed finish last season, after losing out of Champions League qualification to their bitter rivals, Spurs, Arsenal began this season in the Europa League with a win against FC Zurich and followed it up with three consecutive wins over Bodo/Glimt and PSV Eindhoven. A shock loss against PSV occurred in the fifth Matchday, but a win over Zurich on the last Matchday was enough to win the Group.

Allow Marquinhos to introduce himself: Arsenal winners, losers and ratings  as youngster dazzles in Zurich win |

Marquinhos got his first goal for the club in the Europa League

As a result of winning their group, Arsenal has qualified for the Europa League Round of 16, and will await the outcome of the Playoff games that are still ongoing. There are still some tough sides to face in the competition, especially those third placed Champions League teams like Barcelona, Sevilla and Juventus that have come to bully those teams that started from the onset. 

Manchester United

Manchester United lost their opening match of the Europa League to Real Sociedad, and it turned out to be a decision that haunted the team for the rest of the competition. Despite winning their next five games against Sheriff Tiraspol, Omonoia and Real Sociedad in their own turf, Manchester United finished the group in second place, and got a Playoff tie against Barcelona in the knockout phase.

Barcelona 2-2 Manchester United: Marcus Rashford 'on fire' to equal most  prolific season - BBC Sport

Marcus Rashford: A Man on Fire

The first leg at Nou Camp was a pulsating encounter with both sides playing excellent football, and the 2-2 draw was a fair reflection of the proceedings. With UEFA no longer favoring the away goals rule, a winner must be decided at Old Trafford this Thursday, making it a must watch clash.


Graham Potter’s reign at the helm of affairs in Chelsea has been very shaky, with the Blues a far cry from the dominant team they used to be in years past. Even in the games they managed to win this season, the Premier League club has had to rely on Kepa Arrizabalaga to make outstanding saves to keep them in the tie.

Chelsea’s Champions League campaign started with a narrow defeat against Dinamo Zagreb, which was the final straw for Thomas Tuchel, as he was relieved of his job shortly afterwards. Potter started his Champions League adventure with a draw against Red Bull Salzburg, but four wins on the trot against AC Milan, Zagreb and Salzburg, saw Chelsea finish the group in pole position, setting up for a two-legged encounter with Borussia Dortmund.

Se impone el Dortmund 1 a 0 ante el Chelsea en la Champions

Adeyemi skipping past Kepa

The first leg loss to Dortmund doesn’t inspire any confidence but Chelsea have it all to do in the second leg in front of their home fans. Everyone associated with the club will be hoping that the moneybags have what it takes to progress to the next round of the competition.


For every Tottenham fan, it was quite the roller coaster ride against Arsenal for the final coveted Champions League spot and they must have been very elated to get it. Antonio Conte’s team was in quite the group, alongside Eintracht Frankfurt, Olympique Marseille and Sporting Lisbon. Even on the final matchday, all teams could have qualified and gotten eliminated. 

Son shines with double as Spurs sink Frankfurt - SportsDesk

Son scoring in the Champions League

In the Tottenham scaled through with 11 points, and set themselves up for a visit to the great San Siro to play AC Milan. The first leg didn’t go as planned with the Premier League side losing with a solitary goal, but they will have another chance at redemption when Olivier Giroud and his teammates visit London to take on the Lily Whites. 


Liverpool is another team that has shockingly struggled this season. For a team that finished with 92 points in the last campaign, what was expected from them was another title charge, but the sale of Sadio Mane proved pivotal as his replacement, Darwin Nunez, has been doing his best, but consistency has been an issue for the Uruguayan maverick.

Liverpool began their Champions League campaign with a 4-1 drubbing in the hands of Napoli. Jurgen Klopp’s men won the next five, which included a 1-7 annihilation of Rangers, but their head to head record with the Serie A hotshots, saw Liverpool lock horns with Real Madrid, the same side that defeated them in the Champions League final of the previous campaign.

What we witnessed last night was an utter disgrace, as the visitors ran riot against Liverpool at Anfield, scoring five goals. Liverpool needs to visit the Santiago Bernabeu and score three unanswered goals for the game to go into extra time. Hey, I’ve seen miracles, so I’d get my popcorn ready for that one. 

Manchester City

Manchester City suffered a surprising defeat to Real Madrid last season, with young striker, Rodrygo, scoring two goals in the dying minutes to send the game to extra time. This season, Manchester City coasted to the knockout stages with consummate ease, dispatching the likes of Sevilla, FC Copenhagen and Dortmund. 

Pep Guardiola’s side visit RB Leipzig tonight, reeling from dropping points against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, just after winning the all-important clash against Arsenal a couple of days earlier.

In conclusion, the English teams in Europe still have a very good chance of qualifying to the next rounds of their respective competitions in Europe, but their opponents are certainly no pushovers. 


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