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ARSENAL 5-0 CHELSEA: ODEGAARD PULLS THE STRINGS AS GUNNERS DESTROY HAPLESS BLUES

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Arsenal moved 4 points clear of Man City (3 of Liverpool) at the top of the table after demolishing a hapless Chelsea 5-0 last night – our biggest ever win against them.

Arsenal put pressure back on Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League title race after Kai Havertz and Ben White both scored twice in the 5-0 thrashing of Chelsea.

A second win in four days saw leaders Arsenal surge three points clear of second-placed Liverpool and four ahead of Man City – who have played a game fewer than the Reds – before the chasing pair play later in the week.

Leandro Trossard opened the scoring in Saturday’s 2-0 triumph over Wolves and needed just four minutes at Emirates Stadium against Mauricio Pochettino’s visiting Chelsea to repeat the trick.

Yet Havertz and unlikely scorer White stole the show with second-half doubles as defeat ended the Blues’ eight-match unbeaten Premier League run and left them ninth in the table.

Mikel Arteta made a couple of changes to his side, starting Takehiro Tomiyasu at left-back, and handing a surprise start to Thomas Partey in midfield. It didn’t take long for those to take effect, nice build-up play saw Declan Rice drive on and play the ball outside him for Leandro Trossard. The Belgian took a touch and absolutely drilled a shot between the keeper and the near post, one of those where it always looks bad for the goalkeeper because he should have it covered, but the power and precision with which he hit the shot meant it was far more a good finish than a bad mistake.

1-0 up after 5 minutes, we should have been playing against ten men after 9. Nicolas Jackson’s challenge on Tomiyasu was high, late and saw the Arsenal man’s ankle twist badly under the contact. VAR for the night, Peter Bankes, checked it and cleared it, and for the second game running, the opposition got away with a clear red card offence. I like to check Peter’s bankes account, tbh.

The fact we won 5-0 means I can go off on this a bit without accusations of making excuses or anything else, but for all the talk of PGMOL, officials, and VAR, one of the basics of their job is to ensure the safety of players. By allowing that challenge to go unpunished they absolutely failed in that part of their remit, and again you can’t help but wonder whether there has been a behind-closed-doors remit about the threshold for physical contact. Even so, this was a horrible challenge, and Jackson should have been sent off. I look forward to the bloke from ESPN covering for their incompetence again, and telling us how Tomiyasu’s shin actually assaulted Jackson’s studs.

I think it’s fair to say Arsenal should have scored more goals in this game, and in the first half in particular. Kai Havertz chose to pass when he should have had a shot, then had a shot when he probably should have passed. A Trossard shot hit the goalkeeper who knew nothing about it (it wasn’t a great save as TV would have had you believe), Rice curled a shot not too far over, and we were very much on top.

It would also be fair to say that Chelsea did have some moments of danger in that first half, where some pace in the final third helped create a couple of situations in our box that I’d rather not have seen. However, we are here to enjoy the fact we beat Chelsea 5-0, and I’m sure Mikel Arteta will analyse those moments with his players, so let’s not dwell on them.

The second half was, in a word, fun. 14 of our 27 shots on the night came after the break, and 4 of them went in. First, Ben White hooked home after a corner in which he’d treated Marc Cucurella with the absolute disdain he deserves, throwing him to one side like you’d chuck a bag of rubbish into an open bin – and the Spaniard’s little tantrum after the ball went in was quite hilarious. Like a toddler in the supermarket whose mum won’t let him have a lolly, he jumped up and down in sheer frustration. I laughed. A lot.

As for the third, talk of a possible foul in the build-up felt a bit of a stretch to me. If VAR isn’t going to send someone off for a potential leg-breaker, it can’t rule out a goal for a 50-50 (ok, maybe a 70-30) way back in the move. Plus, it would have denied us the brilliance of that Martin Odegaard pass who spotted the clever run of Havertz. The German drove on with the ball, holding off Cucurella like he was a toddler in a supermarket, before finishing to make it 3-0. Did he do that thing players do where they don’t celebrate against their former club? No he did not, he celebrated with gusto, and I very much enjoyed it.

In the cold light of day, I think it’s only right that we take a moment to laugh at Jackson taking advantage of some lax Arsenal defending to … put the ball wide from 3 yards out. Quite incredible. Again, something for Arteta to analyse in the coming days, but for us this morning, it’s something to relish. All the goal to aim at, and he did that. Perhaps if Chelsea signed some footballers, rather than lads who are just quite fast, it might work out better for them. Don’t tell them this though.

Kai made it 4-0 with good feet in their box, and a finish that went in off the post, before Ben White made it 5-0 just a few minutes later. He was set up by a delicious Odegaard pass, and while some will think he was trying to guide the ball to the back post for someone else to apply the finish, in truth he knew that’s what the goalkeeper would be expecting, so just made the decision to stick it in the top corner … *cough*.

Arteta rang the changes with Martinelli, Jesus, Jorginho and Zinchenko replacing Havertz, Trossard, Partey and Tomiyasu. Chelsea’s 1/4 billion pound midfield ran around like Steve, the lad who used to play for your Sunday league side but retired because he was 47 and his knees were gone, in part due to the fact he’s carrying four stone too much because of his bad diet and predilection for midweek pints, but who did you a favour one morning when you rang him up at the last minute because you were short.

A Chelsea kid held up a pathetic sign, Rice hit the post (but was offside), Vieira smashed one into the side-netting, Martinelli missed a late chance – and the reality is it could have been so many more, but let’s grudgingly accept that a 5-0 win over Chelsea isn’t bad, I suppose. I also enjoyed Ben White’s booking for bodying Cucurella off the ball, he’s just too much fun this man.

Afterwards, Mikel Arteta said:

A big performance, collectively and individually I thought we were really good against a really good team that was in great form, and they were going to ask us a lot of questions, and we responded really well. From the start of the game I think we were really determined, really flowing, playing with a lot of courage and making things happen. Yeah, really happy with the result, it’s a big day for our supporters as well so really happy with that.

If I can be serious for just a moment, any win last night would have been good enough – at this point of the season it’s all about the points. However, to do what we did to a team like Chelsea adds something extra, above and beyond the boost to our goal difference. We demolished them, swatted them away like an irritating fly, and were ruthless in front of goal. When you consider the game we have coming up this weekend, it was great preparation, and I’m sure any heavy legs will feel a lot lighter because of last night, how we played, and the final result.

Lastly, just a word for man of the match Martin Odegaard who was just sensational last night. The range of passing, the workrate, the ability to influence the game from high up the pitch and from much deeper, and the way he too dug deep into his reserves to completely overshadow anyone in blue who came near him was outstanding. Not just a captain’s performance, but that of one of the best players in the Premier League. A player who who joined us for £30m – one of the greatest bargains in football history. If anyone tries to tell you Odegaard isn’t what you think he is (or what you know he is because you watch and understand football), don’t give them the time of day.

Right, I’m gonna leave it there for now – but we will have a podcast for you this morning, so there’s more to enjoy in a little while, just in a different format.

‘It’s a mismatch – Ally McCoist says two Chelsea stars were exposed during embarrassing Arsenal defeat

Ally McCoist was on co-commentary duty for Arsenal's win over Chelsea

Ally McCoist says two Chelsea players were exposed during the embarrassing defeat to London rivals Arsenal.

Arsenal clinched their biggest ever win over Chelsea on Tuesday night, thumping Mauricio Pochettino’s side 5-0 to move three points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Leandro Trossard gave Arsenal the lead after just four minutes but the carnage really began after the break, Ben White and Kai Havertz both scoring twice to humiliate Chelsea.

The Blues have endured a largely disappointing season but believed they could dent Arsenal’s title hopes after thrashing Everton 6-0 last week and pushing Manchester City hard in their FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.

EPL: Men against boys – Rio Ferdinand reacts to Arsenal’s 5-0 win over Chelsea

EPL: Men against boys – Rio Ferdinand reacts to Arsenal’s 5-0 win over Chelsea

EPL: Men against boys – Rio Ferdinand reacts to Arsenal’s 5-0 win over Chelsea© provided by Daily Post Nigeria

Former Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, has said Arsenal’s emphatic 5-0 win over Chelsea on Tuesday, was a game of “men against boys”.

It was 1-0 at the break, thanks to Leandro Trossard’s smart finish.

But the Gunners added four more goals in the second half, with Kai Havertz and Ben White both scoring braces.

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