Premier League: Hector Bellerin’s injury-time strike ends London Derby in thrilling 2-2 draw

In one of the most thrilling encounters of the Premier League this season, Arsenal and Chelsea had to settle for a point apiece in the London Derby at the Emirates Stadium as the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

 The Londoners shared an incredible 33 shots on target in the game, but the heroics of Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois on either side of the goalposts meant that only 4 goals were scored between the two.

The game started off brilliantly with both teams dominating equally. The first real chance came when Morata was clear on goal after a defensive lapse from Arsenal, but the Spaniard curled wide on a rather sitting one-on-one opportunity with the keeper. Arsenal came close to opening the score just two minutes later as Alexis Sanchez’s shot hit both the posts before Courtois could grab it.

Following a goal-less first half, it was Jack Wilshire who scored his first goal of the season to give Arsenal the lead after a superb team game. But Chelsea hit back within minutes as Eden Hazard converted a controversial spot-kick to level the game. A brilliant piece of skill on the wing by Davide Zappacosta teed up Marcos Alonso for a tap-in that gave Chelsea a 2-1 lead just seven minutes from time.

However, Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin had some other ideas as his injury-time strike leveled the scores at 2-2 and gave Arsenal a thoroughly deserved point at home. A later drama was shunned as Davide Zappacosta hit the crossbar deep in injury time to maintain the scoreline.

Arsenal stands sixth on the table with 49 points while Chelsea is 3rd at 46 points. The two teams face each other next Wednesday in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg before meeting once more in the second leg next week.

Source – Daily Mail, Firstpost

Arsenal open Europe League with a 3-1 win against FC Koln

Arsenal’s first game in the Europa League started with a bang, having defeated FC Koln 3-1 in a night to remember.

Fans in North London, and across the world, were treated to not only three goals, but witnessed live how the power of football brings fans together. 20,000 FC Koln fans stormed into the stadium, singing age-old chants, most without tickets, creating an electric, yet tensed atmosphere, trying to fit into a space for 2,900.
Amidst a sea of confusion, chaos and a one-hour delay due to the intense congestion at the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners made the best out of a bitter-sweet Europa League situation.
Ahead of the highly-anticipated Premier League clash against Chelsea on Sunday, manager Arsene Wenger rested most of his tier 1 players, like Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Petr Cech, starting instead with Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.
The hosts’ chances looked bleak with a dry first half. FC Koln’s Jhon Cordoba’ seized the opportunity to play a Columbian vs. Columbian one-on-one, by playing the ball past David Ospina’s hands, costing Arsenal a clean sheet, and adding to the euphoria of the Germans. This additionally created an atmosphere of unease, between the two fan sides and the teams.
The second half started with FC Koln’s supreme attacking front, with Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny and Alex Iwobi struggling to maintain the regular pace of the experienced likes of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey. It is however noteworthy that Jack Wilshere made his come back after more than a year for Arsenal and instantly made his presence felt on the pitch.
Wenger then introduced one of Arsenal’s summer buys and current star, Sead Kolasinac, who immediately brought in a ferocious change of pace, definitely one to watch out for. The Bosnian charged across the pitch where instinct, not opportunity took him to produce Arsenal’s first goal, just five minutes into the second half.
 Alexis Sanchez, who Arsenal almost lost in the transfer window, scored their second goal, striking past Timo Horn, while the third was scored by the reliable Hector Bellerin.
Now that Arsenal are here for a season of the Europa League, it is best left that they make the most of it with their current talent.