Chelsea cemented their grip on the Premier League title race and delivered a blow to Arsenal’s aspirations with a convincing victory at Stamford Bridge. Manager Arsene Wenger, watching from the stands was serving his third of a four-match touchline ban, was hoping Arsenal could respond to Tuesday’s shock home defeat by Watford – but Chelsea left the Gunners 12 points behind them.
With 13 minutes into the first half Marcos Alonso gave Chelsea the lead, heading past goal after Diego Costa’s header came back off the crossbar. Arsenal were unhappy when referee Martin Atkinson denied Marcos alonso’s challenge on Hector bellerin that saw the defender take a heavy blow onto his head which forced him out through injury.
Eden Hazard made the decisive contribution with a memorable solo goal eight minutes into half-time, showing agility and impressive dribbling skills leaving a trail of Arsenal players in his wake in a run from the halfway line before beating Petr Cech.
The goalkeeper’s poor clearance gifted Former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas who then added insult to injury when he came off of the bench to capitalise on Petr Cech’s unforced error Cech, five minutes from time, and . The visitors had opportunities to hit back but saw Thibaut Courtois save well from Gabriel, Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck.
Olivier Giroud’s late goal barely counted as consolation for Arsenal and the match ended with a stylish 3-1 victory in favour of Chelsea.
In the intervening 18 games after Conte had switched to his preferred 3-4-3 defensive system, the Blues have won 16 league games, lost at Spurs and drawn at Anfield. It has been a powerhouse run that has effectively brought a 20-point swing in the title race.
Chelsea once more looked more efficient, although they conceded more chances than Conte would have liked, with N’Golo Kante with his tireless midfield influence.
The Italian wanted to make amends for that heavy loss at Emirates Stadium back the September and he had the players and system to do it in style.
And with a stellar individual performances from Eden hazard who can produce game-defining moments, it is almost impossible to see any way they will leave opponents to squeeze them through.
Conte’s celebration after Hazard’s goal showed how much the win meant to him and the title is on its way to Stamford Bridge this season, it seems. What an emphatic win for the Blues it was at home indeed, after a slow start to the season initially.