In a soccer match that resulted in a draw, the London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea seemingly played out well in terms of excitement, thrilling football and moments of absolute hand-in-mouth wonders. The match might have sparked life into a new calendar year for soccer lovers and many were not too sad about the result.
There were thrills, spills and, afterwards, inevitable belly-aches with an edgy Arsene Wenger renewing his war on refereeing after an amazing draw that was an incredible advert for the Premier League. It was also an indictment as to why neither of these two teams will win the title this season.
There was controversy, as there always is, with Jack Wilshere claiming his first league goal since May 2015 – a superbly determined strike to open the scoring – after he probably should have been sent off when appearing to dive in attempting to earn a free-kick on the edge of Chelsea’s penalty area, as he anticipated a challenge from Andreas Christensen. He had already been booked for a foul on Cesc Fabregas.
Meanwhile, Arsenal raged at the penalty award that drew Chelsea level, just four minutes after Wilshere’s goal, when Hector Bellerin was judged to have fouled the other No 10 – Eden Hazard – as they vied to reach a loose ball.
Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata could have had a hat-trick, missing three one-on-ones that a forward of his calibre should have finished. Bellerin’s 92nd-minute equaliser, cancelling out Marcos Alonso’s goal following yet more appalling Arsenal defending, Chelsea should still have won it when Morata erred for the third and final time. Even then the ball broke to substitute Davide Zappacosta, who thumped his half-volley against the crossbar.
A fine game all round regardless of the blunders.
Watch all the goals and highlights below