Arsenal host fierce rivals Chelsea at the Emirates on Saturday as the battle for the top four amass momentum in the English Premier League. The Gunners are six points adrift of Maurizio Sarri’s side in the race for Champions League qualification and have won just two of their last six league games.
Historically, Arsenal and Chelsea have one of the greatest rivalries in English football, and there have been some phenomenal clashes over the years. Here are the 5 best.
5. 2 February 1991: Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal, Football League First Division
This result was not at all astonishing, as Arsenal failed to win at Stamford Bridge since 1974 and had just come off the back of beating Leeds in an epic FA Cup third round tie which needed three separate replays to decide an eventual winner. But Chelsea’s win was much more significant in the scheme of the whole thing. Had Arsenal avoided defeat in west London, George Graham’s men would have completed an invincible season 13 years prior to Arsene Wenger’s historic feat. As it were, the Gunners were left to rue a sloppy performance from Nigel Winterburn, who had fault for goals from Graham Stuart and Kerry Dixon before Alan Smith pulled a goal back late on.
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4. September 4, 1996: Arsenal 3-3 Chelsea, Premier League
This match was one of Arsenal’s last games without a coach having dumped Bruce Rioch during the summer. Arsene Wenger took up the post just 26 days after this result and things would never be the same for Arsenal fans again. Chelsea traveled to Highbury and dominated the opening 45 minutes as the Gunners were literally blown away. Frank Leboeuf opened the scoring after just six minutes, and Gianluca Vialli doubled the scoreline on the half-hour mark as Chelsea threatened to run rampant. Paul Merson managed to reduce the deficit against the run of play on the stroke of half time. Arsenal came out and turned the game on its head in the second half and took the lead through Ian Wright after Martin Keown had equalized. Chelsea had the last laugh, as John Spencer broke Arsenal’s offside trap with a neat chip and Dennis Wise scored to share the points.
3. 12 December 2004: Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea, Premier League
This is one of the most intriguing clashes between Arsenal and Chelsea was on 12 December 2004. Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea had secured the top of the table and were looking healthy for the title. Chelsea arrived at the Highbury expecting a tough match. As they expected, within 75 seconds, Thierry Henry, showed Mourinho what he was up against. Antonio Reyes’ pass was collected by the striker, who calmly slotted the ball past Petr Cech. Just over half an hour later, he restored Arsenal’s lead after Arjen Robben’s equalizer. With Cech adjusting his wall, Henry stroked the ball into the corner thanks to a deflection. Arsenal were 2-1 up and their most prolific striker scored from a clever free kick. A fierce London rivalry turned into a nail-biting one as Eidur Gudjohnsen restored parity in the opening minute of the second period.
2. Feb 24, 2007: Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal, League Cup final
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger always utilized second-string teams in the League Cup, seeing it as the perfect competition in which to test young players and rest first team footballers. Nevertheless, the 2007 second string side was good enough to beat Spurs in a two-legged semi-final and reach Cardiff, where domestic cup finals were played while Wembley was being rebuilt. Arsenal actually started the stronger of the two sides, with Cesc Fabregas controlling the middle of the park. Indeed, the Gunners took a 1-0 lead thanks to a counter-attack that was finished by Theo Walcott. But a much more experienced and well-organized Chelsea side fought back. Didier Drogba, scored twice to give the Blues the cup and give Arsenal the nightmare.
1. March 22, 2014: Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal, Premier League
Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game in charge of Arsenal turned out to be an occasion to forget for the Frenchman as his 10-man team was crushed by Chelsea. The Blues went 3-0 up after 17 minutes, with Nemanja Matic showing how lightweight Arsenal were, while Oscar managed to outmuscle their defense which lead to the most controversial moment of the game. The Brazilian found Eden Hazard who combined with Fernando Torres and fired a shot at the Arsenal goal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stuck his hand out to deflect it round the post. Referee Andre Marriner awarded a penalty to Chelsea, but in a case of mistaken identity decided to send off Kieran Gibbs. Jose Mourinho celebrated his biggest win as Chelsea manager, as Wenger got humiliated in the special occasion.