Chelsea 3 Arsenal 1

By Paul Lagan
Last updated : 04 February 2017

Chelsea thrashed title rivals Arsenal 3-1 at Stamford Bridge this afternoon, as goals from Marcos Alonso, a beauty from Eden Hazard and ex-Arsenal man Cesc Fabregas sent the Blues 12 points clear of second placed north Londoners Spurs and Arsenal.
The visitors' late strike from the head of substitute Oliver Giroud did nothing to quell the delight from the 41,410 fans inside the Bridge and almost certainly ended the title ambitions of the Gunners.
The early morning kick-off will have dented the confidence of the chasing pack but this was Chelsea at their imperious best, quick on the counter-attack and ruthless in front of goal, with Hazard's goal a piece of individual brilliance.
Already 1-0 up, Hazard took the ball from the half-way line he swatted away a challenge from Francis Coquelin before planted the ball into the back of the net. It was a sublime moment, and knocked the stuffing out of Arsenal.

Arsenal started straight out of the traps, pressurising the Chelsea rear guard into panic mode, with Davis Luiz losing the bass on the edge of the area. thankfully Alex Iwobi low shot was wide of Thibaut Courtois's left upright.
The Blues responded well forcing two quick corners of their own.

The first effort on goal came from the Blues, on 10 minutes when a high, curling right wing free-kick by Pedro was headed downwards by Gary Cahill, but bounced over Petr Cech' crossbar.
But three minutes and the Blues went ahead.
Pedro whipped over the perfect cross and Diego Costa's bullet header crashed off the Arsenal crossbar. The ball fell invitingly to Marcos Alonso, who out jumped hector Bellerin, to nod the ball home from close range past Cech.
Bellerin injured himself in the challenge with Alsonso had to be replaced by Gabriel.
Costa smashed a right-footed effort into the side netting as he went in search of the second goal on 19 minutes.
Arsenal should have equalised on 38 minutes but Courtois made a wonder save from a bullet Gabriel header. The giant Belgian stopper parrying away the seemingly goal-bound effort.
Mesut Ozil had a chance deep into added time, but his scuffed left-footer was well held by Courtois.
There were no changes of personnel by either side at half-time.
But what a sensational goal to give the Blues some breathing space by doubling their lead. On 53 minutes, Eden Hazard picked up the ball on the hallway line, shrugged off the irritating rash-like challenge from Francis Coquelin, before racing clear into the Arsenal penalty area. With a shimmy and a drop of the shoulder, he outfoxed Laurent Koscilelny, before clipping the ball home past Cech.
The game entered into a quiet phase where neither side wanted to make a mistake, Chelsea to let Arsenal back into the game, and the visitors, where another goal against them would end any resistance.
Courtois produced another fine save, thwarting Alex Iwobi and then Shkodran Mustafi missed a glorious chance with 12 minutes left when his header zipped past Courtois's right post.
Antonio Conte replaced hazard and Pedro for Cesc Fabregas and Willian on 82 minutes.
The mistake when it came, came from Arsenal and ex-Blue Cech who inexplicably kicked the ball straight to Fabregas, who with his first touch of the ball since coming on, lobbed the ball straight over the distraught goalkeeper and into the empty net.
Fabregas refused to celebrate scoring against his former side, but the damage was already done.
Next up for the Blues is a tricky match at Burnley on Sunday.

Teams:
Chelsea, Courtois, Alonso, Kante, Hazard, Pedro, Moses, Costa, Matic, Cahill, Azpilicueta Luiz
Subs: Begovic, Fabregas, Zouma, Willian, Batshuayi, Terry, Chalobah

Arsenal: Cech, Koscielny, Sanchez, Ozil, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Montreal, Musatafi, Bellerin, Coquelin
Referee
Martin Atkinson

Marcos Alonso gave the Blues a first half lead against title rivals Arsenal in the early kick-off match at Stamford Bridge.

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