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Sport

Five-star Arsenal thrash Chelsea to open up Premier League lead

todayApril 24, 2024 1

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Kai Havertz and Ben White scored twice as Arsenal thrashed Chelsea 5-0 on Tuesday to surge ahead in the Premier League title race and ramp up the pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City.

Leandro Trossard was also on target in a record win over Chelsea for the Gunners, who move three points clear of Liverpool and four of Manchester City.

The destiny of the title remains in City’s hands as the defending champions have two games in hand.

Liverpool have also played one fewer game than Arsenal and are in action at Everton in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday.

However, Mikel Arteta’s men’s goal difference advantage now looks unassailable should it become decisive in the title race.

“We have made our people very proud, it is a big derby for us and I know what it means,” said Arteta.

“We started the game really well but didn’t convert all our chances – we were a bit sloppy in certain areas of the pitch.

“In the second half we were much more disciplined and created chances and were ruthless in front of goal.”

Chelsea and Arsenal’s title rivals were dealt a huge blow before kick-off as the Blues’ danger man Cole Palmer was ruled out due to illness.

Palmer has scored or assisted nearly 50 percent of Chelsea’s Premier League goals this season and his presence was badly missed by the visitors.

Despite enduring a disappointing first season under Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea had been unbeaten in eight consecutive league games prior to their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.

But they were blown away by an Arsenal side keen to reaffirm their title credentials after losing their last home game to Aston Villa.

“So difficult (a) result and performance (to accept) because it is not nice to see your team playing like this from the beginning of the game,” said Pochettino.

“Today we didn’t compete against a team fighting for the Premier League. We need to be aware we need to compete in a different way.”

The hosts flew out of the blocks and were in front inside five minutes.

Trossard only ended up at the Emirates after Arsenal were gazumped by Chelsea in the battle to sign Mykhailo Mudryk in January 2023.

The Belgian has proved to be a far more productive signing and smashed in his 15th goal of the season at Djordje Petrovic’s near post.

Petrovic redeemed himself for a mistake at the opening goal with two brilliant saves to turn away Havertz’s low effort and a deflected shot by Trossard to keep his side in the game before half-time.

The Serbian briefly held Arsenal at bay early in the second period with saves from Declan Rice and Havertz.

However, the floodgates opened once White curled in Arsenal’s second after Chelsea failed to clear a corner on 52 minutes.

Havertz scored the winning goal in a Champions League final for Chelsea during his three years in west London, but he never performed consistently to the level he has found in recent months under Arteta.

Martin Odegaard’s stunning through ball was met with the finish it deserved as Havertz smashed high past Petrovic.

His next finish was more subtle as the German international fired in off the post from Bukayo Saka’s pass for his seventh goal in his last 14 club games.

A night for forget for Chelsea was summed up when White’s attempted cross flew into the top corner from another sensational Odegaard pass.

Defeat leaves Chelsea still in ninth, three points adrift of the European places.

Next up for Arsenal is what appears their toughest hurdle remaining away to Tottenham in Sunday’s north London derby.

Should Arteta’s side prevail at the home of their fiercest rivals, City will likely need to be perfect in their final six games to retain the title.

kca/jc/dmc

AFP

(NAMPA / AFP)

Written by: Staff Writer

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