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29 October 2011
• Stamford Bridge, London
Referee: A. Marriner
• Attendance: 41801
90' + 5'
FULL TIME! The Premier League ey? Robin Van Persie's hat trick inspires the Gunners to a magnificent win at Stamford Bridge. What will this mean for Chelsea's title challenge and Arsenal's aims to reach the top four?
90' + 4'
What a hat trick by the Dutchman. What a game from both sides. I'm speechless.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card Raúl Meireles
90' + 2'
Assist Mikel Arteta
90' + 2'
Goal Robin van Persie
GOAL! Game over! Arsenal break four on three as Chelsea try and get bodies in the box and as the ball falls to the feet of Robin Van Persie the Dutchman absolutely smashes a swerving shot past Cech. Incredible.
Yellow Card Alex Song
Alex Song receives a booking for a challenge just inside his own half. I doubt the midfielder will care much.
Gervinho is withdrawn for Thomas Vermaelen and I'm sat here trying to get my breath back. Insanity.
Goal Robin van Persie
GOAL! Unbelievable!!!! John Terry slips at the vital moment to allow Robin Van Persie to latch onto a Malouda backpass he would have easily cleared. The Dutchman is under pressure and alone with the keeper but he makes no mistake to round Cech and pass home. Quite frankly, I'm running out of superlatives to describe this game.
Just before that equaliser, goalscorer Theo Walcott was replaced by Tomas Rosicky. The Czech attacker's fresh legs were probably intended to help maintain the lead, now they must help hang on to a draw.
Goal Juan Mata
Assist Raúl Meireles
Robin Van Persie and Branislav Ivanovic are both booked for their part in a pushing and shoving match over an aerial duel.
Yellow Card Branislav Ivanovic
Yellow Card Robin van Persie
Torres has the ball in front of the Arsenal defence but fails to find Lukaku with a through ball. The young Belgian forward did not seem impressed with his more experienced counterpart there.
John Obi Mikel
No doubt an attacking move, this. Raul Meireles replaces Mikel for the hosts.
Djourou, who has in fairness improved this half, is withdrawn for Carl Jenkinson.
A poor corner from Van Persie gives Chelsea possession but they surrender it easily yet again.
Ramsey's lofted ball finds Van Persie in behind but he can't control. He holds the ball well until the Welshman gets into the box late but his shot is deflected out for a corner.
Ramires is withdrawn for Romelu Lukaku. The young striker wasn't at his best against Everton in midweek but his physical presence may at least cause a shaky Arsenal defence some trouble.
Arsenal keeping the ball really well now. Can they hold out and get a result which would prove a huge boost to their top four challenge?
Arsenal break again but Gervinho is eased off the ball legally and brilliantly by Jose Bosingwa.
Ramsey and Ramires (let's call them thw two R's) get a talking to after a midfield clash. It's a Chelsea free kick but the hosts are showing plenty of frustration here.
Koscielny shows strength to dispossess Torres and then nonchalantly flicks the ball off the Spaniard's head for a throw-in. That's my kind of defending.
Arsenal playing keep ball in the Chelsea half and at the heart of it is Aaron Ramsey who has really come into his own this season with the absence of Fabregas and Wilshere.
A patient buildup by Chelsea is wasted as Ramires overhits a pass behind the Arsenal defence and sees it roll out for a goal kick.
Gervinho is onside and in behind from an Arteta pass but Cech just makes it in front of the Ivorian to clear.
Daniel Sturridge, who hasn't had a great game, is withdrawn for Florent Malouda.
Szczesny does well to punch away a Chelsea free kick.
Oh come on match, calm yourself down. End to end stuff here at the Bridge and Arsenal actually showing some defensive steel to keep the hosts at arms reach. Madness.
Assist Robin van Persie
Goal Theo Walcott
GOAL! This game has absolutely everything. Theo Walcott clumsily bundles his way past two defenders before getting up and silkily jinking beyond another two to smash past Cech. How's that for end product from the winger?
Chelsea creating pressure now but Andre Santos pulls out a world class sliding tackle to dispossess Ramires. Have Arsenal also signed Santos' brother who's a lot better and subbed him on at half time?!
Szczesny makes up for his moment of madness by producing an impressive save from Frank Lampard's resultant free kick.
Yellow Card Wojciech Szczesny
Ashley Cole is in space behind and as Szczesny charges from his goal he can only take the man and not the ball at the edge of the box. The ref has a big decision to make but opts for a yellow card given the amount of Arsenal defenders that were in position. What a game!
Assist Alex Song
Goal Andre Santos
GOAL! Football. Is. Mental. The poorest player on the pitch in the first half, Andre Santos, finds acres on the left from an Alex Song pass and somehow slides it under Petr Cech to equalise. What next?!
The ball breaks to Torres at the edge of the Arsenal box but his effort is not a clean one and rolls into the arms of Szczesny.
A Gervinho cut back finds Aaron Ramsey in the box but the Welshman can only scoop it over the bar. WHERE ARE ALL THE DEFENDERS?!
Van Persie gets clear from the Chelsea high line yet again but can only toe it straight at Cech. For all Arsenal's defensive woe, the hosts are far from solid so far.
Arsenal restart the match and I doubt my heart can take another half like the last.
45' + 1'
HALF TIME! Arsenal did so well to get back into the game but have allowed the under-fire Terry to equalise tamely on the stroke of half time. An uphill battle for the Gunners yet again.
Assist Frank Lampard
Goal John Terry
GOAL! Frank Lampard takes some stick from the Arsenal fans and then provides the perfect answer as his corner allows John Terry to side foot in. The Chelsea captain was being marked by Per Mertesacker there and the German should have done a lot better.
An absolutely mad game, this. Walcott's cross from the Arsenal left is well defended as John Terry heads away. Arsenal with more of the possession now.
So, a breather as Robin Van Persie sees his free kick fly over the bar. The Dutchman now has 26 of Arsenal's 49 Premier League goals in 2011. An incredible statistic which does little to quell the one man team jibes.
OFFSIDE GOAL! Santos beaten again by Ramires but his ball across goal finds an offside Sturridge finish.
Arsenal showing great character to get back into the match but can they improve defensively to keep Chelsea out?
Goal Robin van Persie
GOAL! Ramsey plays an eye of a needle pass in behind which Gervinho controls and unselfishly squares to Van Persie who passes it home.
Van Persie does brilliantly on the left to beat Bosingwa and cross but Walcott is beaten in the air by Ashley Cole to get it away.
Santos challenges Torres well on the right, much better from the Brazilian.
Sturridge wastes an opportunity to attack Santos with a poor control. Not a great start for the forward who has an impressive goal scoring record this season.
Van Persie does well to hold the ball up and play Walcott in on the right but the winger's cross is blocked and loops into the arms of Cech.
An incredible blind pass from Frank Lampard finds Daniel Sturridge one on one with Szczesny. The youngster is however too eager to get it onto his favoured left and poorly slices wide when he should have done better.
Koscielny, who is the man most resembling a defender in the Arsenal back four so far, cuts out a threatening Torres run to nullify the danger.
Ramires is crowded out by the Arsenal defence after he tries a slalom run. The midfielder is more slide tackle than samba tricks isn't he?
Encouragement for Arsenal from Opta: "22 - Arsenal have come from behind to claim 22 points against Chelsea in the Premier League, more than any side against any other. Tenacity"
Gervinho threatens in behind but is flagged offside. The Gunners will be encouraged by the apparent threat they have caused in behind a static Chelsea defence.
Ramsey and Arteta attempt to combine at the edge of the Chelsea box, but it's all too tight with just two men making space, and the move fizzles out.
Andre Santos appeals weakly for an offside after a crossfield pass. The left-back has looked all over the place thus far defensively and is now dragging Gervinho back to help him.
Bosingwa, obviously buoyed by earlier successes, sprints past Andre Santos but pushes the ball just too far and out for a goalkick.
Mertesacker heads wide after some comedic defensive headers allow Arsenal to get the ball back into the box after a corner. You'd imagine the Chelsea technical staff will want the game to calm down a touch given their lead.
Arsenal almost in as Arteta's ball in behind finds Van Persie but the Dutchman's touch lets him down.
A breathless start at the Bridge. You'd have to say that's typical of Arsenal this season though spurning two great chances before questionable defending allows the opposition in.
Assist Juan Mata
Goal Frank Lampard
GOAL! Juan Mata receives the ball wide on the Chelsea right and cuts inside Andre Santos far too easily crossing for Frank Lampard to head home from close range.
Walcott has had a brilliant start here and finds a world class ball in behind the Chelsea defence which Van Persie just blasts over.
So close for the visitors! Theo Walcott breaks brilliantly from that rebounded free kick and leaves Ashley Cole for dead with a brilliant flick over his head combined with his deadly pace. The Englishman is so often criticised for his end product but finds a great ball across to Gervinho who should do better than to slide it wide with Cech onrushing.
Lampard has an opportunity from a free kick around 30 yards out but can only hammer it into the wall.
Arsenal break with Ramsey but his pass finds Van Persie offside. You feel that much of Arsenal's attacking play is going to be on the counter today given Chelsea's early dominance.
Frank Lampard gets up for a header in the Arsenal box but is sandwiched between two defenders and can only flick it out for a goalkick.
Fans get a breather as Chelsea enjoy a spell of possession amongst their back four.
A brilliant start to the game but it's certainly Arsenal who look the most fragile in the early exchanges.
Sturridge has acres in the Arsenal box and Torres all alone to slide it across to but somehow contrives to weakly pass it to Szczesny instead. Poor from the in-form Englishman.
Cole in behind Djourou yet again but another cut-back is blocked well. The Swiss defender is not a right-back traditionally but he needs to adapt quickly under huge pressure here.
The corner comes to nothing but an open start here as Robin Van Persie gets in behind the Chelsea defence but has nobody to cut back to.
Early opportunity for the hosts as Ashley Cole gets in behind Djourou far too easily. The Chelsea full-back crosses to Torres but it is cut out well by Koscielny for a corner.
Chelsea get us under way here at Stamford Bridge. Half of the stadium bathed in glorious sunshine and this looks more like an end of season encounter than one in late October.
Branislav Ivanovic is the only Chelsea player retained from their 120 minute clash with Everton.
Can the Gunners continue their revival after a poor start to the season? Their biggest hope, Robin Van Persie, returns to the starting lineup after featuring from the bench in their last league outing.
A packed house at Stamford Bridge today ready to see this showdown of arguably London's two biggest clubs.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Andre Santos; Ramsey, Song, Arteta; Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho. Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Rosicky, Park, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Frimpong.
Chelsea: Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Mikel, Lampard; Mata, Sturridge, Torres. Subs: Blackman, Luiz, Romeu, Malouda, Meireles, Lukaku, Bertrand.
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