Arsenal 2 Chelsea 2
Wilshere 64, Bellerin 90+2, Hazard pen 67, Alonso 84

Hector Bellerin grabbed a stunning late leveller to earn Arsenal a point in a thrilling London derby which lived up to all the hype with both sides genuinely going for the win. Eden Hazard’s controversial penalty after he was adjudged to have been caught by Bellerin saw Chelsea get back on level terms after Jack Wilshere had given Arsenal the lead with a stunning left foot drive. Having clawed their way back, the Blues then looked to have sealed the win when Marcos Alonso prodded in from close range. With six minutes remaining that seemed to be that. Arsenal however dug deep and from a central position, Bellerin latched onto Alonso’s poor clearance. The Spain defender combined the right amount of pace and precision to beat Thibaut Courtois in the second minute of time added on as the Arsenal players and fans celebrated as the away end suddenly fell silent.

The early exchanges were frenetic and often. Both Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois were in top form and the former Blues’ team mates helped keep their respective opponents at bay. Alavaro Morata was clean through on at least three occasions, but either the lack of composure or the positioning of Cech ensured the Spain striker didn’t get on the scoresheet. Cech produced a memorable double save to deny Hazard and then Alonso’s follow up header, while at the other end Courtois managed to palm Alexis’s shot onto one post, then see it come back off his other post before smothering the ball as Mesut Özil was about to pounce.

It was Alexis and Ozil at close to their best. They were consistently involved in the Gunners moves and their intelligence and timing at this level is a joy to watch and should they depart, theirs will be a big loss for Arsenal. With Laurent Koscielny injured, Arsene Wenger was forced to field Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles with Shkodran Mustafi and that newness to the back four would be capitalised on by the Blues attack.

Cech however was in excellent form and was only to be beaten from the penalty spot when Bellerin was adjudged to have caught Hazard. It was a soft decision to award the spot kick, the mind of referee Anthony Taylor being made up by the Belgian’s theatrical reaction no doubt. Prior to that Wilshere had struck his first Arsenal goal in nearly two and a half years and that sense of relief and urgency saw Arsenal almost double their lead but Alexis couldn’t find the target moments later.

Alexandre Lacazette was enjoying his night, his smart moves, twists and turns deserved a goal, but Courtois having got down to a first half low shot to deny him, this time spread himself following another such venture to deny the France striker.

Tiemoue Bakayoko struck from Fabregas’s pass, but Cech pushed over his bar. When an Arsenal move broke down, Chelsea re-attacked. Hazard’s smart lay off to Fabregas saw his shot sore just wide of target.

Özil was unlucky to have created a chance which seemed destined to go in, but Gary Cahill was there to clear the danger.

Four minutes after Wilshere gave Arsenal the lead with his sharp near post strike, Arsenal should have gotten a second, but Lacazette and Alexis seemed to get in each other’s way as the former hit into the side netting after Courtois had again got a glove on it.

An inability to clear up in defence then allowed Chelsea back in. Hazard converted from the penalty spot, but the Gunners continued in their positive game. Özil had earlier seen Courtois deny him from range while Morata kept up his fallibility in front of Cech. The manner in which Chambers was brushed aside by Morata in the build up to one such move will be a good defensive lesson for the Gunners’ youngster. He has to stay strong!

Maitland-Niles is growing well into his game at left back, and his attacking instincts bode well for the side going forward. When Blues substitute Davide Zappacosta got the better of him late on from a superb cross field pass from Willian. Maitland-Niles couldn’t prevent the cross and you sense that could be fatal.

Shkodran Mustafi was the closest to Alonso from that resultant cross, as were other red shirted Arsenal players. They all looked on in horror however as Alonso struck home to give the visitors the lead. It was cruel on Arsenal, but deep into stoppage time the Gunners would fire back Earlier, Lacazette’s quick turn took him in on Courtois, but the big Belgian denied the shot.

A neat move with Alexis and Özil looked promising but the move seemed to stall when Alonso headed clear. The ball however landed the the feet of Bellerin who took it on the half volley, and with just the right amount of pace and precision to strike past Courtois to restore parity. From the restart, Morata struck a drive which Cech did well to keep out and when Zapacosta followed up, there was relief all around when his shot struck the crossbar and away.

It was end to end stuff, two quality football teams playing for the win and the entertainment that generated ensured that the Emirates stadium had witnessed one of the best games between these London rivals. That rivalry will now continue into the two legged Carabao Cup games over the next three weeks, where only one team will be at the showpiece Wembley final.