Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0
Lacazette 14, Koscielny 39

Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscileny scored in a dominant Arsenal first half to beat Chelsea at the Emirates. The only surprise was that more goals weren’t added in a pulsating London derby. A dominant early exchange and Arsenal could have been four goals to the good had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored from two chances he would normally have buried. The quick feet of Lacazette in the area however gave the Gunners the lead as he clipped over Kepa at his near post. Six minutes before the break and Koscielny rose unmarked to head in, the ball finally glancing off his shoulder as the Gunners doubled their lead. The win was tempered however with the sight of Hector Bellerin crumpling in a heap in what appeared to be an injury to his left knee. The Spain defender had to be stretchered off with Mohamed Elneny coming on as substitute in the 72nd minute. The Blues enjoyed long periods of possession, but it came to nothing as Arsenal held on for a massive three points and a confidence booster for the rest of the season.

With so much a stake, Arsenal knew they couldn’t have an off day as they did in the dire 1-0 loss to West Ham at the London stadium. Mesut Ozil was back, but only warranted a spot on the substitute’s bench as Unai Emery asserted his game plan. It was one of pace and pressing high up, and almost yielded rewards with less than five minutes gone. Bellerin fed Lacazette, and his low cross fell right for Aubameyang, however his snap shot got nothing but air.

We also got to see more of what Emery demands, with Aubameyang tracking back and making timely tackles to help hid defence on more than one occasion. Got that Ozil? At his business end, Aubameyang did well to not only control the ball close to the throw in line, but had the nouse to race forward and get his shot away, only to see Kepa keep the ball out. The Chelsea stopper did the same to an excellent Koscielny header as Arsenal fired at their London rivals on all cylinders.

Arsenal took a deserved lead when Lacazette controlled Bellerin’s cross from to then see off the attentions of Pedro and Marcos Alonso to snap his shot into the net. Scenes of celebration lifted the Emirates only further and the noise levels went up a few more decibels.

Shook up after conceding, Chelsea began to ask questions of the Gunners’ rearguard, with Pedro and Hazard going close. Arsenal were happy to get as many players behind the ball when not in possession and the tactic worked. The hard working and Serie A bound Aaron Ramsey worked tirelessly alongside Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira. Aubameyang’s acrobatic over head kick from Head Kolasinac’s cross flew just wide of Kepa’s upright. But Arsenal were not to be denied a deserved for much longer.

Torreira’s free kick was headed back by Kolasinac to Sokratis. The defender drop kicked into the area when Koscielny pulled away unmarked to head past Kepa. Replays showed that his shoulder had the last contact but he and Arsenal didn’t mind, they were now 2-0 in front. Alonso saw his header from a corner hit the post, but Arsenal held their 2-0 scoreline at the break.

Chelsea emerged ahead of their opponents for a second half which they needed to find a response. However, Arsenal continued in their same defensive vein. Jorginho and N’golo Kante were being denied time and space as a succession of red and whit shirts controlled the midfield. Hazard was having little joy as striker and former Arsenal favourite Olivier Giroud began to warm up to generous applause from the home supporters.

Kolasinac went on a run which should have seen him score but Kepa denied the Bosnia defender. Bellerin going down in pain with what appeared to be a left knee injury and to be stretchered off dampened the mood a little. Elneny came on for the Spain defender who may now be out for a few weeks.

Alonso may have been lucky to get away with raising his hands to Ainsley Maitland-Niles who had come on for Lacazette to some quizzical looks from the Emirates faithful. Blues’ substitute Ross might also consider himself fortunate to having been shown a yellow card for a crude challenge of Matteo Guendouzi late on. Mention must be made of Sokartis’s celebration when keeping Willian at bay with one special tackle in the second half. The Greek defender celebrated it as if he’d scored. That desire will be needed from now until May, that’s for sure.

But Arsenal held on for a famous victory to keep their hopes of a top four finish very much alive.