The Big Match

Football: Chelsea see red as Arsenal impress

Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac clutches his left shin after a challenge by Chelsea centre-back David Luiz. The Brazilian was sent off in the 87th minute and Arsenal had little time to capitalise on their numerical advantage.
Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac clutches his left shin after a challenge by Chelsea centre-back David Luiz. The Brazilian was sent off in the 87th minute and Arsenal had little time to capitalise on their numerical advantage.PHOTO: REUTERS

Champions, frustrated by their inability to break down the visitors, finish with 10 men

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Chelsea 0

Arsenal 0

LONDON • Yesterday's stalemate between Chelsea and Arsenal ended with a snarl.

Frustration had been mounting for much of the Premier League match among those in the Chelsea ranks, infuriated at their own inability to generate sufficient verve to beat their impressive opponents, when tempers spilt over three minutes from time.

David Luiz, under pressure from Alexis Sanchez, leapt into a challenge in front of the Arsenal dugout and connected with Sead Kolasinac's left shin.

The centre-half had already been booked earlier in the half, though referee Michael Oliver produced a straight red to the defender's chagrin.

Manager Antonio Conte led the Chelsea protests as the Brazilian stormed off down the tunnel.

The champions have already seen Pedro and Victor Moses sent off in their past two meetings with the Gunners.

Given the cluttered fixture schedule this month, losing David Luiz for three games is a handicap.

WRONG HAT-TRICK

We have great respect for officials, but it is strange to finish a third game in a row against Arsenal with 10 men.

ANTONIO CONTE, Chelsea manager, after watching David Luiz get sent off.

"David Luiz, you know very well that I don't like to comment about the referee. I don't do it in the past, or the present," said Conte.

"You need to see what happened before the tackle.

"We have great respect for officials, but it is strange to finish a third game in a row against Arsenal with 10 men."

The Blues will stew on that incident as much as Arsenal, the more threatening team for much of this occasion, will revel in having stopped the rot.

Arsene Wenger's side had lost on their previous five visits to Stamford Bridge and must have arrived braced for a difficult match.

Yet, this never followed the pre-supposed script. Once they had weathered the visitors' early whirlwind, Petr Cech denying Pedro from distance, the visitors established an authority in midfield.

Arsenal had the better of the few clear-cut chances. But Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette all squandered good opportunities to hand Arsenal their first win at Stamford Bridge since October 2011.

Luiz's moment of madness came too late for Arsenal to capitalise on their numerical advantage, so they had to settle for a first clean sheet at Chelsea since 2005.

"It was about mentality and a response from our last away game (a 4-0 loss to Liverpool). We could have won it. It was an intense game," said Wenger.

"The battle was total... But we were focused and determined. We tried to play when we had the ball and we were close to winning the game. With a bit more freedom we would have won the game."

It was another frustrating encounter with Arsenal for Conte's men, who were beaten in both the FA Cup final and the Community Shield.

"It was a good, open game with both teams trying to win," the Chelsea manager said.

"Every game against Arsenal is always very tough, we knew very well what type of game to face. Both teams are great teams, it's a good draw."

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill added: "They defended well, we couldn't open them up."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2017, with the headline 'Chelsea see red as Arsenal impress'. Print Edition | Subscribe