Chelsea’s grip on their Champions League place took a massive hit this evening as they were shot down 2-0 by the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium.
The Blues also failed to register a shot on target – Marcos Alonso’s clipped header on the strike of half-time the closest they got.
By then, the west Londoners’ were 2-0 down. The Blues are still fourth but Arsenal are now just three points behind them alongside a resurgent Manchester United.
The need for a goalscoring striker – Gonzalo Huguain – cannot come too quickly and if a deal is struck early next week, he could face Sours in the Carabao Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
Chelsea’s anaemic attack, Eden Hazard again employed as the false nine, was equal only to Chelsea’s porous rearguard.
Chelsea started the second-half brighter but still found a stuttering Arsenal rearguard too strong for them and it was relatively easy to hack clear the ball when required.
Maurizio Sarri decided that possession without end product wasn’t enough and opted to bring on Ross Barkley for Mateo Kovacic.
This change signalled an Arsenal revival and they went close several times.
Ex-Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud then replaced Willian just as Arsenal took off Aaron Ramsey for Ainsley mainland-Niles and Lacazette for Alex Iwobi.
Hector Bellerin was then carried off with an ankle injury and replaced Mohamed Elneny with 18 minutes left.
Chelsea’s final throw of the dice came on 80 minutes when Sarri thrust Callum Hudson_Odoi in to the fray – predictably Pedro made way.
Teams: Chelsea; Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Hazard, Pedro, Kovacic, Willian, Azpilicueta, Luiz
Subs; Barkley, Caballero, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Christensen, Emerson, Ampadu
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Sokratis, Koscielny, Ramsey, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Xhaka
Subs: Cech, Elneny, Ozil, Maitland-Nile’s, Iwobi, Montreal, Mustafi