Arsenal's goalkeeper David Raya fails to stop a shot by Chelsea's Mykhailo Mudryk, right, who scores his side's 2nd goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, England, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Arsenal Come Back at the Bridge to Salvage a Draw

Arsenal came back from two goals down at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea to draw 2-2. This game produced many good, bad, and controversial moments as well as poor goalkeeping. Both teams gained a point in the end, though Chelsea will feel disappointed that they could not get the win.

First Half Controversy

In the first few minutes, Chelsea dictated the tempo and created a few chances within the first five minutes. The first controversial moment came in the eighth minute. Chelsea forward Cole Palmer received a yellow card after he caught Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus on the ankle.

The replay showed Palmer making a studs-up challenge on the back of Jesus’ ankle. It easily could have been a red card, which would have put Chelsea down to ten men. There would be more controversy just four minutes later.

Raheem Sterling crossed a ball to Mykhailo Mudryk, who headed the ball toward goal for Chelsea. Right after Mudryk’s header, the ball hit Arsenal defender William Saliba on the hand when he tried to jump for the header. Chelsea players and fans screamed for a penalty, which referee Chris Kavanagh granted after checking VAR.

Similar to the possible Palmer red card, thoughts are very mixed as to whether or not a penalty should have been called for the handball. Nonetheless, Chelsea got the penalty, and Palmer stepped up and slotted the ball into the lower left corner to put his team up 1-0.

Arsenal struggled a lot in the first half, but they did have a chance in the 21st minute. They opened up the midfield for a transition run, but Declan Rice just put the ball wide of the goal. Arsenal had a half chance four minutes later when Chelsea’s goalkeeper Robert Sanchez got caught out of the goal. However, Arsenal could not capitalize on that mistake.

Chelsea continued to create chances throughout the first half and were the better side in the first 45 minutes. Conor Gallagher darted through the midfield and found Palmer, but he just missed right of the net in the 30th minute. After that, Chelsea continued to put pressure on Arsenal but they could not get the second goal. After the first 45 minutes, Chelsea led 1-0 at the break

Craziness to Start the Second Half

The second half started out similar to the first half. Chelsea played with more tempo and looked more lively than Arsenal. Three minutes in, Chelsea went up 2-0 after Mudryk sent a cross in from the left that got by Arsenal’s goalkeeper David Raya for the goal.

Raya’s poor positioning on the cross freed up space at the back post. Even if Mudryk likely did not want to shoot that, he made Raya and Arsenal pay for that mistake. Arsenal needed a response quickly and they attempted to create more chances.

Arsenal had two chances in the 53rd and 55th minutes, but the Chelsea backline made two key blocks to keep them out. A minute later, Raya made a massive mistake when trying to pass from the back. Luckily for him, he recovered and pushed the ball out under Palmer’s feet for a corner. Chelsea created a big chance from the corner, but Levi Colwill’s header went over the bar.

Arsenal swung a free kick in the 60th minute and Sanchez almost made a blunder as he missed the ball. Instead, he hit Jesus on the head but he escaped without further consequence. Chelsea continued to create chances in the next 16 minutes, but they could not find a third goal.

Arsenal Punish Mistakes by Chelsea

Despite some of the missed chances, Chelsea were in control for over 76 minutes of this game. Arsenal did not produce many quality chances and Chelsea’s backline held their opponents in check. That all changed in the 77th minute.

Sanchez tried to pass the ball out of the net, but Rice intercepted the pass. Rice shot the ball toward the goal because Sanchez was out of position. Although Rice made an incredible shot, that mistake by Sanchez swung the momentum in Arsenal’s favor. The Chelsea fans went silent, and Arsenal were back in the game.

Seven minutes later, Bukayo Saka sent in an inswinging cross to the back post and teammate Leandro Trossard got on the end of the cross to tie the game. Trossard’s finishing touch on that shot was brilliant, as he guided the ball on his right foot past Sanchez.

Even though Chelsea played well for over 76 minutes of the game, it took just seven minutes for Arsenal to have a chance at securing all three points. Arsenal almost had that chance come true just two minutes later, but Eddie Nketiah could not direct the ball in after a long ball. Each team produced a chance in stoppage time, but neither chance was clinical enough to test either goalkeeper.

The game ended in a 2-2 draw. One team came out relieved after the comeback, while the other team was disappointed with the result.

Arsenal leveled up with Manchester City on points but fell to second due to goal difference. For their next league match, they will take on Sheffield United next Saturday at the Emirates. Chelsea sit tenth in the table and will play Brentford next Saturday, which will mark their second straight London Derby home match.

About Matt Rothmann

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