Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal – Match Review

Robin Van Persie scored a hat trick for Arsenal as they produced a stunning second  half performance to see off London rivals Chelsea in a thoroughly entertaining London Derby at Stamford Bridge.

The Dutchman continued his prolific run of form popping up to score twice in the final five minutes on a day when the defending from both sides was much to be desired as supporters were treated to eight goals with the Gunners faithful seeing their side score five in their rivals back yard. Arsene Wenger will be delighted with his sides steely resolve after they fell behind twice before half time only to turn on the style in the second period to make it eight wins from their last nine moving within three points of Chelsea in the process. Defeat will certainly stick in the throat of Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas after his side twice took the lead before going behind and then drawing level through Juan Mata in the 80th minute in a topsy turvy game that will have excited the neutral supporter. It was the West Londoners second defeat in a row after they were beaten down the road at QPR last Sunday and they could be cut further adrift from the Premier League summit with Manchester City already six points ahead at the top and playing later in the day.

Arsenal should have taken the lead through Gervinho only for the Ivorian to scuff his effort wide after Theo Walcott’s burst and cross from the right.The home side had started the brighter though with Ashley Cole getting behind the Gunners defence twice and it wasn’t long before they drew first blood with Frank Lampard opening the scoring in the 14th minute. The England midfielder timed his run to perfection to get on the end of a delicious ball from Mata stooping low to head past Wojciech Szczesny. It should have been two when Lampard sent Daniel Sturridge clear only for the striker to carelessly hammer his shot off target. That woke the Gunners up and it was Van Persie who scored to level matters 10 minutes before half time tapping in his first of the afternoon from close range following some neat build up play from Aaron Ramsey and Gervinho. Chelsea came straight back and re-took the lead on the stroke of half time with John Terry darting in front of the static Per Mertesacker to plant Lampards corner into the net via the post.

Taking a lead into the break should have seen Chelsea come out for the second period with the ascendancy but it was the visitors who came out with all guns blazing and two quick fire goals to lead for the first time in the game. Van Persie and Ramsey both squandered chances minutes after the restart but it was Brazilian summer signing Santos who brought the Gunners level once again. Taking Alex Song’s pass in his stride the defender steadied himself before lashing the ball through Petr Cech’s legs to make it 2-2. The Blues respond immediately and will feel they should have had a man advantage after Szczesny rushed out of goal before tripping Cole just outside the area. The Polish stopper was shown a yellow card before rubbing salt into the wounds by superbly tipping Lampards free-kick over the bar before seeing his side take the lead through Walcott. The pacey winger bundled his way through the hosts defence before firing the ball past Cech at the near post in the 55th minute.

The game continued to flow from end-to-end as the away side clung on to their lead and Ramsey should have put the game beyond doubt for Arsenal only to fluff his lines at the vital moment before Mata lashed home a stunning 25-yard drive with 10 minutes remaining to make it 3-3. With Chelsea looking good for a point up stepped Van Persie to win the game for Wengers side taking advantage of a slip from Terry to steal possession and round Cech before tapping into an empty net with only five minutes remaining. He then applied the gloss to finish off the Blues and complete his hat trick breaking clear once again before thumping the ball past Cech to secure a memorable win for Arsenal and lift them to sixth in the table.