Arsenal beat Chelsea to move level with Spurs in top-four race
Arsenal beat Chelsea 4-2 in a midweek Premier League game on Wednesday to pull level with Tottenham Hotspur in fourth place.
Arsenal and Chelsea traded goals throughout the first half in an action-packed game at Stanford Bridge in London, entering the break with the score tied at 2-2. The Gunners made a break for it in the second half, adding two more goals including an injury time penalty to lock in the win.
Local boy Eddie Nketiah gave Arsenal the edge, scoring the opener in the 13th minute and the go-ahead goal in the 57th. Emile Smith Rowe added goal No. 2 in the 27th minute, with Bukayo Saka scoring the insurance penalty in injury time, his first shot from the spot since missing the shot that knocked England out of the Euro 2020 final.
Chelsea's two goals were scored by Timo Werner in the 17th minute and Cesar Azpilicueta in the 32nd, but the boys in blue were mostly silent throughout the second half.
With the win, Arsenal draw level with Spurs on 57 points for fourth place in the Premier League, although Tottenham still hold an edge when it comes to goal difference. The midweek fixture also took away Arsenal's game in hand, putting the two teams on entirely equal footing with six games left to play this season.
Aside from actually winning the whole thing, a top-four finish is essentially the goal for every Premier League club each season. Finishing in the top four guarantees teams a ticket to the UEFA Champions League, the biggest footballing competition in Europe, while the fifth place team heads to the less-impressive Europa League and the sixth-place team settles for the Europa Conference League.
While Spurs have mixed history in the continental tournament, the club went though a four year run from 2016 to 2020 when they played in every tournament. In the 2018-19 season, Tottenham reached the final of the Champions League for the first time in the club's history, losing 2-0 to Liverpool to settle for the runner-up spot. Korean forward Son Heung-min scored four goals in that Premier League campaign.
After two years outside the top four, Spurs are desperate to earn a spot in the Champions League again this season. With Chelsea five points ahead in third place, Arsenal at their side and Manchester United just three points behind, every single game counts for the London club in the last few weeks of the Premier League season.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]