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EPL: Gunners stun Blues with a 3-1 Boxing day victory

Arsenal stunned Chelsea with a 3-1 Boxing day victory over London rivals Chelsea to ease the pressure on Mikel Arteta.

Goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Bukayo Saka sealed a deserved win for a young Gunners side, with Frank Lampard’s Premier League title contenders turning in a deeply disappointing performance at the Emirates.

With Arteta heading into the game having lost Brazilian trio Gabriel Magalhaes (self-isolation), David Luiz and Willian (both ill), the Gunners manager opted to hand youngster Emile Smith Rowe a big chance in a creative role with Gabriel Martinelli in front of him.

A young Gunners side rapaid Arteta’s faith with a superb opening 45 minutes, and were well worth their two-goal lead at the interval.

Kieran Tierney gave Reece James the slip on the byline just past the half-hour mark, and was then brought down in a tangle of legs as referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot.

Following a VAR review, the decision stood - and Lacazette sent Edouard the wrong way with a cool penalty.

A minute before half-time, N’Golo Kante brought down Saka 30 yards from goal - and Xhaka stepped up to curl in a stunning effort high to the left of Mendy, leaving the Chelsea goalkeeper with no chance.

Lampard responded by bringing on Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jorginho for Mateo Kovacic and Timo Werner at the interval, with the German in particular looking off the pace.

Chelsea started with a renewed vigour, but the next goal was always going to be crucial - and it went to the hosts as Saka’s cross from the right of the box floated over Mendy and into the top corner.

Arsenal could and should have added a fourth through Martinelli, while Tammy Abraham added a late consolation goal for Chelsea following a lengthy VAR review for offside.

Chelsea threatened a late comeback as Mason Mount won a penalty off Pablo Mari, but Bernd Leno saves well from substitute Jorginho to make the victory secure.

The win is a huge boost for Arteta following a string of poor results in recent months, while a 3-0 reverse will set alarm bells ringing at Stamford Bridge given the nature of the performance.

(Evening Standard)

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