In the 200th encounter between Arsenal and Chelsea which ended 2-2, Mikel Arteta overcame the toughest comeback since managing the Gunners and walked away with newfound respect from a lot of critics.
Arsenal managed to pull through and overcome one of their toughest comebacks as they were not only 10 men down away at Stamford Bridge, but they managed to come back and equalize after finding themselves down…twice.
Both Chelsea and Arsenal started the game strongly on the offensive thought Chelsea did let some golden opportunities slip through their grasps.
The first blow for the Gunners came when David Luiz was sent off after his foul on Tammy Abraham in the Arsenal penalty box after Abraham had skillfully navigated his way around Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno, bein left with nothing but a clear and open goal in front of him.
Jorginho took the penalty for Chelsea and put them in the lead 28 minutes into play.
At this point, given Arsenal’s history of collapsing under such pressure, you can very well be forgiven for thinking as most did that this was it for Mikel Arteta and his squad and for the first couple of minutes after the penalty it did look that way as the Gunners looked like they had already given up as Chelsea went hard on the offensive.
Then suddenly just 8 minutes before the 45-minute mark, Arsenal flipped the script and went on the offensive. It is unclear where this fresh breath of life came from but it sure made for a tense wrap up to the first half.
Chelsea entered the halftime break with a 1-0 lead over Arsenal.
A special mention must be said to Mikel Arteta for finally getting Arsenal’s defense in line. It has always been one of their greatest downfalls this season and they were definitely put to the test in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Chelsea motivated from their first-half performance launched wave after wave attacking the Arsenal goals but the Gunners were able to continuously hold them at bay.
Then in an unexpected burst, Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli made a dash alone from just outside the Arsenal box, all the way across the pitch and going on to score and equalize for Arsenal in the 62nd minute.
Chelsea came back hard to try to take back the advantage but were continuously blocked by a definitely much improved Arsenal defense.
Chelsea skipper Azpilicueta was finally able to put the hosts back into the lead at the 84-minute mark.
Once again it looked over for the Gunners as they have quite a torrid history of losing the game in the dying minutes and with just6 minutes left int he game, you would not be blamed for thinking likewise.
The substitute Bellerin who was making his first appearance for Arsenal since 5 December 2019 came through with a surprise equalizer for Arsenal in the 87th minute.
The reaction from the Arsenal bench as well as their traveling supporters in the crowd said it all.
Looking at the statistic of the game, Chelsea totally dominated at all levels with 59% possession against Arsenal’s 41%, taking 19 shots against 2 from Arsenal. The difference though between the teams was that Arsenal made those 2 shots count.
Even though the game ended Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal, it was the Gunners that walked off the field with their head high and to the applause of their supporters.
Mikel Arteta may finally be reigniting the fires of inspiration in the Gunners that we have not seen this season.