A goalless stalemate might be an unattractive proposition for Arsene Wenger’s stylised unit. But a 0-0 draw at Chelsea on Sunday could well help Arsenal stem the rut this season.
A decent 3-0 win over Bournemouth last week had gone some way in restoring Arsenal’s morale and their fans’ faith in Wenger. But so far this season, the Gunners have not won a single match away from home. The biggest shock came at Anfield when Liverpool thrashed the visitors 4-0.
On Sunday, Arsene Wenger’s men came up against their next test on the road, this time against defending champions Chelsea. The hopeful win did not come, but Arsenal did manage to avoid defeat against the Blues, who were reduced to 10 men in the 87th minute. The Gunners had lost in each of their last five outings at Stamford Bridge.
This time around, it was Arsenal that had the best chance of the game. Alexandre Lacazette, for his quality, should have put the Gunners in the lead, especially since all that was required was a tap in from four yards out.
Four minutes from the end of the first half, Aaron Ramsey took off on a mesmerising run and made his way into the Chelsea box. Crowded for space, the Welshman attempted to toe-poke his shot past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtous, only for the shot to bounce off the post. Lacazette was close by, and though challenged by a defender, the Frenchman managed only to loft the ball over the frame of the goal for what will arguably be among the entries for ‘miss of the season.’
Still, with Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud on the bench, Lacazette had formed a threatening partnership with Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi. The trio connected well with their passing game, causing Gary Cahill and David Luiz some distress in defence.
Luiz though did do well in keeping Lacazette quiet for most of the match. The Brazilian impressed in his effective marking of Lacazette, as the forward’s off-ball movement was closely checked and countered. The defender’s evening came to an early end eventually, as his dangerous tackle on Sead Kolasinac in the dying minutes of the game earned him a straight red card.
Chelsea too had their opportunities to score, with Pedro Rodriguez getting the best chance for the hosts. Cesc Fabregas measured a clever pass to the Spaniard, but Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal got an important block onto the shot.
The goalless scoreline at Stamford Bridge brought an end to Chelsea’s run of scoring at home for 29 consecutive matches. They last time they failed to find the net at home was against Manchester City in April 2016. At the same time, Arsenal haven’t scored at Chelsea in eight of their last 14 trips to the Bridge, and this was the fixture’s first 0-0 draw since April 2005.
With a point each, Chelsea remains in third position.