What began as a dream start for Chelsea after an early goal from Frank Lampard ended in a nightmarish finish for the Blues as Arsenal was able to earn a much needed emphatic away win at Stamford Bridge. The Arsenal victory was led by their captain Robin van Persie, who continued his spectacular form with a hat trick on Saturday earning Arsenal their first Premier League away win since April of last season.
Lampard’s 14th minute goal was equalized by Arsenal 22 minutes later when Robin van Persie slotted home a pass from Gervinho after Aaron Ramsey found the Ivoirian with a ball that threaded the needle between Chelsea’s defense. However, the first half would end with the Blues on top. After squandering several quality chances including a Daniel Sturridge half volley that just ran wide and having a goal disallowed for an offside call, John Terry found himself on the end of a Frank Lampard corner and buried the ball in the corner of the net. The high spirits for Terry and Chelsea would not last.
The second half opened with Chelsea leading, but Arsenal played with an intensity and fire that they had been lacking for much of the season thus far. Arsenal forced a save from Peter Cech just a few seconds into the half and continued the pressure for several minutes before Gervinho found a streaking Andre Santos, who then beat Peter Cech to equalize for Arsenal. Just after the restart Arsenal were on the receiving end of a break from the referee after their keeper Wojciech Szczesny avoided a red card after a foul just outside the penalty area on Ashley Cole. He received a yellow card instead and made a very nice save on the ensuing free kick from Frank Lampard.
Just a few minutes later Arsenal saw themselves ahead after a superb individual effort from Theo Walcott. Walcott lost his footing while running between four Chelsea defenders, but quickly regained it and dribbled through and beat Peter Cech on the near post. Chelsea was forced to make changes after the goal that included the introduction of Romelu Lukaku, Raul Meireles, and Florent Malouda. The game continued to be a tight affair until Chelsea found an equalizer in the 80th minute off of a brilliant strike from Juan Mata that found the back of the net. In the celebration Mata urged his Chelsea teammates back to their own half to search for a winning goal in the match’s remaining ten minutes.
That breakthrough goal would come, but it certainly was not what Mata and Chelsea had in mind. An errant back pass and slip from John Terry was all Robin van Persie needed to find himself clear in on Peter Cech and after skinning the Chelsea keeper made the score 4-3 in favor of Arsenal. With 85 minutes gone in the match it looked as if Arsenal would surely be the winners as a result of this late goal which could be considered shambolic for both Malouda and Terry.
After Arsenal took the lead, Chelsea threw men forward in an effort to find a late equalizer. After having several half chances at a goal, Arsenal broke out from their own end with numbers. The ball was eventually at the feet of van Persie who finished off his spectacular performance by beating Cech on his near post again, giving Arsenal the final score line of 5-3. Maybe Arsene Wenger does know what he's doing after all.
RVP gets the background for decimating Chelsea with his hat trick.
Levante has been one of the best stories in the football world with their improbable run of performances. Sadly their winning streak came to an end this weekend, I’ll leave that summary to a much better writer Sid Lowe whose article can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/oct/31/la-liga-levante-finally-dethroned