Arsenal and Chelsea share points in Emirates stalemate
PUBLISHED: 21:55 23 December 2013 | UPDATED: 07:46 24 December 2013
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Premier League: Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0
Arsenal missed the opportunity to reclaim top spot in the Premier League after drawing a blank at home for only the second time this season.
The Gunners’ only previous failure to score at the Emirates came in their Capital One Cup defeat to Chelsea – and they were again shut out by their London neighbours as the points were shared on a rain-sodden evening.
The first half was largely a stalemate, with neither side really getting on top in slippery conditions, although Chelsea did a better job of pressing the ball and stifling their hosts.
And the few chances that were created did fall to the Blues, with Frank Lampard scuffing his finish early on and Ramires glancing a header wide from Willian’s cross.
It looked as if the deadlock might be broken just after the half-hour mark, when Arsenal allowed Eden Hazard to advanced unchecked and dink a ball through to Lampard, who cracked a shot against the bar.
The Gunners felt they should have had a penalty when Mesut Ozil found Theo Walcott, who appeared to be clattered by Willian inside the area, but referee Mike Dean thought otherwise.
And Willian should have punished Arsenal just before half-time when Hazard set him up on the counter-attack, but the Brazilian’s low effort caused Wojciech Szczesny little trouble.
The Gunners’ back line was pulled apart soon after the resumption when Willian broke down the right and picked out Hazard, who bundled the chance wide when he should have done better.
Chelsea went close again when Lampard latched onto Per Mertesacker’s header to drill a 25-yarder that was gathered by Szczesny while, at the other end, Olivier Giroud stabbed wide with just Petr Cech to beat.
And Arsenal almost found a way through five minutes from time after a slick move involving Kieran Gibbs and Tomas Rosicky, but Giroud could only scoop the ball over from close range.
The contest threatened to boil over at times, particularly when Branislav Ivanovic’s high boot almost caught Ozil in the face, but overall neither side will be too disappointed with a share of the spoils.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Ramsey, Arteta; Walcott, Ozil, Rosicky; Giroud.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Mikel, Lampard; Willian (Oscar 77), Hazard (Schurrle 74); Torres (Luiz 87).
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