CHELSEA placed on hand firmly on the Premier League title thanks to Marcos Alonso’s controversial strike and a moment of genius from Eden Hazard.
Alonso got the Blues off to a flying start as he nodded home in the 13th-minute, after Diego Costa‘s bullet header rebounded off the bar and into his path with Petr Cech stranded.
Hazard spectacularly doubled Chelsea’s lead early in the second half with a stunning goal, picking the ball up on the halfway line, weaving his way past a hatful of Gunners defenders before calmly lofting the ball over Cech for 2-0.
That contender for goal of the season knocked the stuffing out of Arsenal with Chelsea still looking the more likely to score until the final kick – with former Gunner Cesc Fabregas rubbing salt into the wound with a 25-yard chip past Cech after a woeful clearance.
The loss essentially ended the Gunners’ title bid, with Chelsea firmly placing one hand on the trophy.
With fans losing patience, you just wonder how much longer Arsene Wenger will remain in charge at the Emirates.
Olivier Giroud’s late consolation will do nothing to change that…
STATS, FACTS, GOALS & LOLS
- HECTOR BELLERIN was taken off with concussions – but there was debate over whether he was fouled when Marcos Alonso broke the deadlock. Alonso connected with his arm – but it didn’t look intentional.
- PEDRO is at the heart of Chelsea’s attacking. He takes plenty of set-pieces and is getting just as important as Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.
- N’GOLO KANTE made sure Chelsea bossed the midfield, although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did well in a central role.
- “IS this the Emirates?” sang the Arsenal fans with irony when the noise-levels dipped.
- ARSENE WENGER, serving his touchline ban, had to endure fans taking pictures of him as he watched Chelsea score.
- THREE in four appearances is a decent return for wing-back Alonso. Conte was recently asked if he should be wearing No9.
- BRANISLAV IVANOVIC and Frank Lampard were cheered by fans before the game, with Ivanovic leaving for Zenit and Lamps retiring.
- JOHN TERRY paid his own tribute to Lampard in the programme: “We almost caught Ron Harris and Peter Bonetti – we gave it a great go!” he wrote.
- WILLIAM GALLAS was doing TV work at Stamford Bridge – and looked like he could still get a game somewhere.
- BELLERIN was back on the bench for the second half after getting treatement.
Next five fixtures…
Feb 12 – Burnley (A) – PL
Feb 18 – Wolves (A) – FA
Feb 25 – Swansea (H) – PL
Mar 6 – West Ham (A) – PL
Mar 13 – Watford (H) – PL
Feb 11 – Hull (H) – PL
Feb 15 – Bayern Munich (A) – CL
Feb 20 – Sutton (A) – FA
Mar 4 – Liverpool (A) – PL
Mar 7 – Bayern Munich (H) – CL
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
CHELSEA: Courtois 7, Azpilicueta 7, Luiz 6, Cahill 6, Alonso 7, Moses 7 (Zouma 88, 6), Kante 6, Matic 7, Pedro 7 (Willian 84, 6), Hazard 9 (Fabregas 84, 6), Costa 7.
Subs not used: Begovic, Terry, Chalobah, Batshuayi.
Goals: Alonso (13), Hazard (53), Fabregas (85).
ARSENAL: Cech 5, Bellerin 5 (Gabriel 17, 6), Mustafi 7, Koscielny 6, Monreal 7, Coquelin 6 (Giroud 65, 6), Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Iwobi 6, Walcott 6 (Welbeck 70, 6), Ozil 6, Sanchez 7.
Subs not used: Ospina, Gibbs, Maitland-Niles, Reine-Adelaide.
Goals: Giroud (90).
STAR MAN: EDEN HAZARD (Chelsea)