KENYA BROWN - Monday, December 28, 2020
Christian Pulisic went the distance for Chelsea but the Blues came up short in their loss to Arsenal as the holiday schedule got underway in England.
Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea
Arsenal scored and did not look back as they claimed a confidence-boosting win over Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium to prevent the Blues from moving up to second place in the English Premier League standings.
Christian Pulisic started for Chelsea on the right side of a three-man frontline instead of his preferred left position. He played well as he was dangerous on his dribbles and had three shots. The team had possession of the ball for large portions of the game, but that does not mean anything unless the goals come with it
The visitors found themselves on the backfoot just after the half-hour mark when the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty to Arsenal. Reece James was the guilty party as it was judged that he brought down Kieran Tierney in the area with a kick although it looked harmless in the replay.
The referee's decision stood which allowed Alexandre Lacazette to step up and put away the spot-kick.
Chelsea dug themselves into a bigger hole just before halftime when a bad tackle by Ngolo Kante on Bukayo Saka gave Granit Xhaka the opportunity to put away a blistering free-kick.
Things did not get better for the Blues in the second half as they allowed the host to score a third goal in the 56th minute. Saka's cross from the right side did not reach its intended target, but it did hit the inside of the post before going into the goal for one of the freak goals of the season so far.
Chelsea pulled a goal back in the 85th minute through Tammy Abraham, but it was too late to mount a comeback as the Gunners claimed all three points to end their slump.
The loss leaves Chelsea in eighth place in the standings with 25 points.
In other Premier League action, Antonee Robinson put in another strong performance for Fulham as they settled for a 0-0 tie with Southampton. Tim Ream watched the game from the bench for the Cottagers.
DeAndre Yedlin started another game for Newcastle United, but they could not stop Manchester City as they fell to the Citizens in a 2-0 defeat.
Owen Otasowie came on to play the final seven minutes for Wolverhampton Wanderers as they scored a late equalizer to salvage a point in their 1-1 tie with Tottenham.
In the Championship, Geoff Cameron played the full 90 minutes while Chalie Kelman played 24 minutes as Queens Park Rangers were shutout in a 2-0 loss to Swansea City.
Alex Mighten started and played 68 minutes for Nottingham Forest as their game with Birmingham City ended in a 0-0 tie.
Duane Holmes watched on from the bench as Derby County surrendered a late stoppage-time goal to fall to Preston North End in a 1-0 defeat.
Matthew Olosunde and Rotherham United will have to find another time to play as their game against Middlesbrough was postponed.
Down in League One, Indiana Vassilev was probably happy to remain on the bench as Burton Albion were humiliated in their 5-1 loss to Lincoln City.
Lynden Gooch and Sunderland had their encounter with Hull City postponed.
Duncan Turnbull and Portsmouth had their game against Swindon Town postponed.