It seems like there’s always a big clash coming up every weekend, particularly in the Premier League, and on Sunday sees Arsenal go up against old foes Chelsea.
So why don’t we take your minds back a little with some five of the classic encounters between those two. Keep in mind, these aren’t necessarily our rating of the top five meetings between the London clubs, doing that might even be harder than playing the teams:
Arsenal 1-4 Chelsea (April 2009)
In April 2009, It was a clash between fourth and third at the Emirates, as both sides met for what could be the decider of the final automatic UEFA Champions League spot. Chelsea would all but guarantee that position with a win, and by halftime they looked a really good bet for it, Alex heading in Didier Drogba’s free-kick to give them the lead, before former Gunner Nicolas Anelka fired home a pile-driver for a two nil advantage at the break. Arsenal had to come racing out of the blocks in the second period, and that left them even more vulnerable at the back, as midway through the half, a Kolo Toure own goal put them further behind. The Gunners would pull one back after mounting enormous pressure on the visitors’ backline, Nicklas Bendtner heading home from Bacary Sagna’s cross; but Chelsea would have the last word, Florent Malouda tucking one in from close range to put the gloss on the win.
Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal (October 2011)
It was the first time new Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas was facing the Gunners. The Blues had lost their previous game at Queens Park Rangers, while Arsenal were slowly recovering after an appalling start to the season. It was Chelsea who made the early inroads at Stamford Bridge, and they took the lead through Frank Lampard’s header. Arsenal would hit back though, Gervinho playing in Aaron Ramsey, who put it on a plate for skipper Robin van Persie to tuck the ball into the gaping goal. On the verge of halftime, however, Chelsea retook the initiative, this time it was their own skipper, John Terry, who forced home Lampard’s corner. Arsenal would hit back again, after the break, through left-back Andre Santos, before then going in front thanks to Theo Walcott’s solo effort. In this seesaw game, the hosts would restore parity, Juan Mata capitalising on some unconvincing play by Santos to fire Chelsea level with 10 minutes left. Chelsea sensed an opportunity to go on and win it, but a sloppy pass from Florent Malouda and a slip from Terry let in van Persie who would round Petr Cech in goal and score his second, to give them an amazing 4-3 lead. And the Dutchman wasn’t done, as in stoppage time, he collected Mikel Arteta’s pass and fired a shot which swerved past Cech for his hatrick, to seal Arsenal’s first win at the Bridge since 2008.
Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal (April 2014)
The title was on the line when they these two met at Stamford Bridge that year, Arsenal had cut the gap behind the table-topping Blues to just three points after they had won at Spurs and Jose Mourinho’s side lost at Aston Villa the previous week. It was also Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game in charge of the Gunners, but inside 15 minutes he saw his side already two down, Samuel Eto’o and Andre Schurrle putting some early daylight between them, before the most memorable event of the game. Fernando Torres cut inside the Arsenal defence and pulled the ball back for Eden Hazard, whose shot was blocked on the line by the hand of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Referee Andre Marriner, after consulting with his assistants, and to the shock of everyone watching, sent off Kieran Gibbs instead. Not that Chelsea were in any mood to complain, Hazard stroking home the resulting penalty for 3-0, before Oscar added a fourth on the cusp of halftime. Oscar would get another after the break, then Mohammed Salah would seal the win after coming on from the bench. 6-0 it ended, to the dismay of Wenger, but both sides would miss out on the title, Chelsea ending the season in third place, while Arsenal, not unexpectedly, finished just below them.
Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal (September 2015)
Arsenal visited the champions Chelsea, who had made a disappointing start to the season with three defeats in five games. The first half wasn’t packed with goalmouth action, and it would be remembered for the altercation between Blues forward Diego Costa and Gunners defender Gabriel Paulista, which dragged on for a while and ended with Gabriel receiving his marching orders. Chelsea wouldn’t capitalise on the numerical superiority until after the break, when Kurt Zouma headed in Cesc Fabregas’ free-kick five minutes into the second half. Arsenal were reduced to nine men early on, Santi Cazorla collecting a second yellow card, before Eden Hazard’s shot rebounded in off Calum Chambers in injury time, to put the result beyond doubt.
Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea (September 2016)
12 months after the aforementioned game, both sides met again, this time at the Emirates, and Chelsea were under new management in Antonio Conte, who had suffered his first loss a week earlier at home to Liverpool. Arsenal had won three on the bounce, scoring nine times and conceding three, and they took the lead when Gary Cahill dallied on the ball and allowed Alexis Sanchez room to break forward and plant a chipped finish past Thibaut Courtois. Arsenal were hardly done celebrating the first goal when they scored another, Hector Bellerin’ square ball finished off by Theo Walcott for two. The Gunners ended the half in style, Mesut Ozil exchanging passes with Sanchez before finishing the return ball for a third goal. The damage had already been done before halftime, but after the break Conte changed his formation to a three-man backline, which sparked the Blues’ run of 13 successive wins, and eventual title glory. Arsenal, meanwhile, would have these days in short supply, and had to settle for fifth place.