Premier League

Chelsea 2-4 Arsenal: Player ratings as Gunners win thrilling London derby

Krishan Davis
Contrasting emotions at Stamford Bridge
Contrasting emotions at Stamford Bridge / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

Arsenal got their top four chase back on track with a thrilling 4-2 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

There were banks of empty seats at Stamford Bridge, in what was Chelsea's first home game with only season ticket holders in attendance since government sanctions meant the club were unable to put match tickets up for general sale.

Chaos reigned in a pulsating first half, with four goals flying in amid a litany of defensive errors at both ends.

Chelsea nearly took the lead inside five minutes but Marcos Alonso's close-range effort was deflected into the side netting. Gabriel Magalhaes was then forced to clear Mason Mount's resulting corner from underneath his own crossbar.

After both Gabriel and Romelu Lukaku had gone close at either end, Andreas Christensen's horribly mis-hit back pass put Eddie Nketiah clean through, and the Arsenal striker made no mistake with a low finish.

However, the hosts were level four minutes later. This time Nketiah was the villain, giving the ball away to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, whose interception rolled to Timo Werner. The German shifted it out of his feet and his mis-hit low drive squeezed inside Aaron Ramsdale's near post.

Mount almost gave Chelsea the advantage shortly afterwards, but his rasping drive veered away from goal. Bukayo Saka then cut the ball back for Nketiah after a jinking run, but the frontman conspired to strike his effort against his own leg and it looped wide.

The half persisted in an end-to-end nature, and a wonderful counter attack yielded a second Arsenal goal. The move started with a cool nutmeg from Granit Xhaka, with the ball eventually worked out wide to Saka. His pass found Martin Odegaard, whose layoff was beautifully converted first time on the run by Emile Smith Rowe.

Once again, though, it took Chelsea just a few minutes to find a leveller. Ben White gave the ball away out wide under pressure from Mount and Werner, and the former's perfect cross was expertly converted by wing-back Cesar Azpilicueta, and the Blues survived a VAR review for a possible foul in the build-up.

Livewire Nketiah went close again straight from kick-off, firing a left-footed effort past post from the edge of the box. Smith Rowe came within a whisker of his second in the final minute of the half, engineering some space in the box with some dazzling footwork but blasting wide.

The game settled somewhat in the second half, but there was still room for a defensive error to lead to another goal before the hour mark.

Azpilicueta gave the ball away in midfield, and although substitute Thiago Silva made an excellent challenge on Nketiah, Malang Sarr was unable to deal with the loose ball and the Arsenal man was able to prod in his second before.

Arsenal then settled into a more defensive shape, inviting Chelsea to try to break them down. The closest they came was when Reece James' cross-shot was pushed away by Ramsdale with 25 minutes to play, and White produced a wonderful block to deny Alonso's follow-up.

Saka sealed the victory from the spot in the last minute. The winger went down off the ball under a challenge from Azpilicueta with referee John Moss adjudging it to be a foul, and the England man stepped up to slot the penalty beyond Edouard Mendy.

Here's how the players rated on a dramatic night at Stamford Bridge...

Chelsea vs Arsenal player ratings

1. Chelsea (3-4-2-1)

Timo Werner
Werner was rewarded for his persistence / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

GK: Edouard Mendy - 4/10 - Left exposed for the opener and didn't move as Smith Rowe slid the ball beyond him. Maybe could have come out for the third.

CB: Reece James - 5/10 - Moved to wing-back to offer some more attacking thrust. Perhaps should have started there. Saw a cross-shot palmed away.

CB: Andreas Christensen - 2/10 - A horribly mis-hit backpass gifted Nketiah the ball before he ran in to score. Looked very shaky after that and withdrawn at half-time.

CB: Malang Sarr - 3/10 - Given a torrid time by Saka and Odegaard. Looked rattled. Didn't deal with the ball before Nketiah's second. Booked.

RWB: Cesar Azpilicueta - 6/10 - Took his goal like an experienced striker. Horrible pass in the lead-up to the Arsenal third, though.

CM: Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 5/10 - Very bright, busy start which was rewarded with an assist for Werner. Influence waned and wasn't adventurous enough.

CM: N'Golo Kante - 6/10 - Had to get through a lot of work but probably not good enough on the ball to relieve pressure.

LWB: Marcos Alonso - 6/10 - Struggled against Saka defensively but supported the attack well.

RF: Mason Mount - 7/10 - A 100th Premier League appearance. His in-swinging corner posed a serious problem five minutes in. Effervescent. Great cross to assist Azpilicueta. Put himself about and booked.

LF: Timo Werner - 7/10 - You don't shoot, you don't score. Potentially a career redefining performance in the first period, with Stamford Bridge standing to recognise his contribution. Quieter after the break.

ST: Romelu Lukaku - 4/10 - Some good hold-up play but generally struggled to get involved or get on the end of things. Subbed to audible boos.

SUB: Thiago Silva (46' for Christensen) - 6/10 - Made an excellent challenge on Nketiah but let down by his centre-back colleague. Some top interventions.

SUB: Kai Havertz (60' for Lukaku) - 4/10 - Didn't have the desired effect.

SUB: Hakim Ziyech (81' for Alonso) - N/A

2. Arsenal (3-4-2-1)

Emile Smith Rowe, Granit Xhaka
Smith Rowe restored Arsenal's lead / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

GK: Aaron Ramsdale - 5/10 - Kicking wasn't its best and twice beaten at his near post, although he was unlucky with the deflection.

CB: Ben White - 6/10 -
Furious not to be awarded a free kick in the build-up to Chelsea's second. Excellent block on the ground to deny Alonso.

CB: Rob Holding - 6/10 -
Very solid at the back, winning the vast majority of his duels

CB: Gabriel Magalhaes - 7/10 -
Crucial intervention on the line to keep Mount's corner out. Good in the air and on the ground. Booked.

RWB: Bukayo Saka - 8/10 -
Some fantastic wing play, tormenting Sarr and Alonso on that flank. Won and converted his penalty.

CM: Mohamed Elneny - 6/10 -
Fairly quiet but made some interventions and nullified Loftus-Cheek.

CM: Granit Xhaka - 7/10 -
Some clever passing. Started the fine move for Arsenal's second with a cheeky nutmeg. Good, disruptive shift.

LWB: Nuno Tavares - 5/10 -
No frills at the back. Nowhere near the level of Kieran Tierney.

RF: Martin Odegaard - 7/10 -
Creates so many chances and got the assist for Smith Rowe. Quieter in the second half.

LF: Emile Smith Rowe - 7/10 -
Sumptuous finish on the run to restore the Gunners' lead. Another exciting attacking display.

ST: Eddie Nketiah - 9/10 -
Capitalised on Christensen's error, finishing coolly. Should have restored the lead but fluffed his lines. Carried such a threat throughout and made the most of another error to get his second.

SUB: Gabriel Martinelli (70' for Nketiah) - 6/10 - Caused some issues with incisive runs.

SUB: Cedric Soares (75' for Smith Rowe) - 6/10 -
A couple of important late interventions.

SUB: Alexandre Lacazette (90+5 for Saka - N/A

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