Arsenal power past crosstown rival Chelsea 2-0

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London, Jan 20 (IANS) Arsenal came out with an aggressive game plan and executed it to perfection in a 2-0 victory here over bitter London rival Chelsea in Premier League.

The Gunners’ head coach, Unai Emery, had received criticism for Arsenal’s lacklustre play of late, but he made all the right moves at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, reports Efe news.

The Spanish manager put teeth into his team’s attack by switching from five defenders to a four-man back line, inserting Aaron Ramsey into a false-nine role and trusting in the potent up-front combination of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal dominated the latest edition of this London derby in the early going and were rewarded in the 14th minute when Lacazette received a pass from Hector Bellerin in the area and slotted a right-footed shot into the upper-right corner.

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The Gunners continued to press forward and netted a second goal in the 37th minute when French defender Laurent Koscielny got just enough of his head on a pass from Greek centre back Sokratis to score past Chelsea net minder Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Arsenal locked down defensively after the intermission and focused on mounting counter-attacks, managing to hold down their opponent but producing less in the way of offence.

The win in this heated rivalry game thrilled the home crowd, although the celebration was marred by a knee injury suffered by Bellerin just after the midway point of the second half.

With their victory, Arsenal now have 44 points and have climbed back into fifth place in the Premier League past Manchester United.

They also boosted their bid to secure one of the top four spots in the Premier League at year’s end (and a berth in the 2019-20 Champions League’s group stage).

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Chelsea remain in fourth place with 47 points.

–IANS

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