Chelsea edge closer to Premier League title after draw at Arsenal
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0
Arsenal were left still searching for their first win against Chelsea since 2011 after Sunday’s dour scoreless draw at Emirates Stadium.
The stalemate meant the west London side inched a step closer to clinching the Premier League crown, while the Gunners remain third in the table, behind Manchester City on goal difference.
Arsenal looked sharp in the early stages, doing their best to put the Blues under pressure and searching for a piece of invention that might unlock their stubborn defence.
Alexis Sanchez’s deft chip picked out Olivier Giroud with his back to goal and the striker juggled the ball, trying to line up a volley, but it eventually trickled harmlessly into the hands of Thibaut Courtois.
Former Gunners skipper Cesc Fabregas – already the target of boos from the home crowd – made himself even less popular when he was booked for reacting to Santi Cazorla’s half-hearted challenge with an exaggerated stumble inside the box.
David Ospina denied Ramires at close range, while Sanchez and Mesut Ozil went close for Arsenal, but ultimately the main talking points of the first half were penalty appeals at either end – both flatly refused by referee Michael Oliver.
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First a Fabregas ball split the Gunners defence and Oscar took advantage to lob Ospina, with the keeper appearing to impede him as the ball ran towards goal and Hector Bellerin kept his head to nod it behind.
Bellerin was also involved in the second incident, turning Sanchez’s pass back for Cazorla, whose shot was blocked by the upraised arm of Gary Cahill.
Chelsea, who had started without a recognised forward, rectified that at half-time by sending on Didier Drogba, but there were few opportunities for the Ivorian to make his mark.
Willian’s lay-off midway through the second period allowed Drogba a pop at goal, but he dragged the chance straight at Ospina, while another snap shot was deflected behind.
For the Gunners, Per Mertesacker was unable to capitalise on Courtois’ weak punch at a free-kick, scuffing the rebound wide, while Cazorla was also off target with a better chance.
Arsene Wenger belatedly rang the changes, introducing Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott in the final quarter of an hour as the home side made a renewed bid to find a winner.
But, although Nacho Monreal broke in injury time to deliver a cross that both Ozil and Welbeck failed to connect with, the scoresheet remained defiantly blank.
Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Cazorla, Coquelin (Welbeck 77); Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud (Walcott 84).
Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Fabregas (Zouma 90), Matic; Ramires, Oscar (Drogba 45), Willian (Cuadrado 90), Hazard.