HIGHLIGHTS | Arsenal vs Chelsea (3-1) | Odegaard (2), Gabriel Jesus
A well taken double from Martin Odegaard – both set up by Granit Xhaka - put us two goals to the good before Gabriel Jesus made it 3-0 after barely more than half an hour. We continued to pepper the visitors’ goal at the start of the second half before they pulled one back through Noni Madueke. We couldn’t reach the heights we scaled in the opening half for the rest of the game, but the three points were well deserved, and a welcome tonic after four games without a win. We started at a decent pace, and had a couple of sights of goal in the opening five minutes. First Bukayo Saka saw his shot charged down inside the area, before Xhaka was denied by Kepa Arrizabalaga at close-range after he latched onto Cesar Azpilicueta’s loose back header. Saka tested the keeper again with a looping header that Kepa spilled before it was scrambled away. It was a positive start, with the team clearly looking intent to bounce back from Wednesday’s crushing disappointment in Manchester. Mikel Arteta made three changes from that side that lost to City – the joint most of any game this season – and there was certainly a renewed energy in the team. Our fast start was rewarded when Odegaard unerringly found the net off the cross bar from 20 yards. It was a composed and classy finish from the skipper from Xhaka’s low cross, and was the Norwegian’s 13th goal in the Premier League this season. Number 14 was just around the corner. Again it came from a low Xhaka cross that Odegaard swept home first time among a static Chelsea defence. Along with his seven assists, it made it 21 goal involvements in the league during 2022/23 - a simply sensational season from our No. 8. There was no let up as we kept our foot on the pedal. Both full-backs were supplementing the attack, and Ben White’s deep cross led to our third goal. Gabriel Jesus controlled at the far post, and tucked home at the second attempt after Kepa smothered his first shot. It was a dominant first-half showing. Ben Chilwell’s shot when the score was 1-0 was the closest Chelsea came to scoring in the opening 45 minutes, but Aaron Ramsdale made a flying save to keep it out. We started the second period with the same intent. Gabriel had a header from a corner cleared off the line by Thiago Silva, and Xhaka’s low shot was pushed away at full stretch by Kepa after the midfielder did well to fashion the chance himself. Saka was next to try his luck, first having a shot saved at the near post, then sending an effort just wide from outside the box. We were punished at the other end shortly afterwards though. Madueke ran onto a ball over the top and got enough on his shot to beat Ramsdale. The goal took the sting out of our attacking play and the tempo dropped. Odegaard saw his effort parried at the near post as he hunted his hat-trick, but his two goals in the opening half hour had paved the way for our first win in five games and lifted us back to top spot, albeit having played two more than Manchester City.