- van Persie 36, 85, 90,
- Santos 49,
- Walcott 55
Arsenal and Chelsea are two of the English Premier League's biggest and most successful teams. They're two of the most supported, strongest and entertaining sides in world football. However few would have predicted the brilliance or madness or action that emerged at Stamford Bridge.
Eight goals, a hat trick from Arsenal captain Robin van Persie and some of the goals of the season. There were arguments, poor defensive displays, men enduring untimely falls and so many goals that Arsene Wenger was not quite sure if the eighth had been scored or not.
Chelsea broke the deadlock after 14 minutes, when England international Frank Lampard evaded Per Mertesacker as a marker and headed home. However, the Gunners were conveying their predominant attacking fluency, and chances continued to arise with Gervinho and Robin van Persie failing to capitalize on easy chances.
However Arsenal's attacking prowess was eventually rewarded when Wales captain Aaron Ramsey played a scintillating ball through to Gervinho, who showed lacking composure to square away from the on rushing Petr Cech and give Robin van Persie the simplest of finishes.
However, moments before Andre Mariner was set to blow his halftime whistle, Andres Villas-Boas men pounced to regain the lead. England captain John Terry took advantage of inevitable fragile set piece defence from Arsene Wenger's men to retrieve the momentum.
Arsenal returned from the main break the stronger side and soon began to exert their possession dominance. Four minutes after the restart, Alexandre Song found Andre Santos out wide, who produced a composed finished. Six minutes later, Theo Walcott fell before reacting the quickest to break the Chelse defensive line and fire emphatically past a helpless Cech.
However, just as Arsenal appeared to have the game settled with 10 minutes remaining, Spanish dynamo Juan Mata sent a sublime long range effort into the corner after Andre Santos had lost possession. The game looked destined to end a draw before a harmless back pass from Florent Malouda saw John Terry fall and have Robin van Persie go one on one with Cech. The inform Dutchman was never going to miss and calmly rounded the Chelsea shot stopper and gave Arsenal the lead with five minutes remaining.
Chelsea threw almost everyone forward, which eventually lead to an Arsenal counter where Robin van Persie ended a well-worked breakaway to complete a marvelous hattrick and a marvellous win.
As always, Bleacher Report establishes seven things fans learned from the encounter.
Late in the second half, Arsenal captain Robin van Persie and Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic became involved in an argument. Van Persie felt the Serbian international had deliberately elbowed the Dutchman during a contested header. Replays proved inconclusive, but nonetheless, van Persie responded by a frail push on Ivanovic.
It was by no means a push fueled with venom and malice. However, Ivanovic's legs crumbled after a pause to make it seems as if van Persie had taken a long run up and charged into the Serbian. For such a powerful, efficient defender, it does not take much to knock down Branislav Ivanovic.
Take nothing away from Robin van Persie's second Arsenal hat trick or the other Arsenal goals however it can be said that for three of the five goals Chelsea keeper Petr Cech potentially should have saved. For a keeper of such calibre playing for a team of such quality, one naturally expects the Czech to easily deal with some of the goals he conceded.
Brazilian left back Andre Santos produced a tame effort that Cech allowed to evade him before completing a much frowned upon action in the goalkeeper handbook by allowing Theo Walcott's shot to beat him at the near post. Granted it was hit with venom but one would still expect a save from the 29-year-old. Finally Robin van Persie's third and the Gunners' fifth in truth should have been blocked however there was a vicious swerve on the strike.
Due to Arsenal's slow, shocking start to 2011/2012, which many see Cesc Fabregas' departure as a defining factor, Aaron Ramsey has not exactly received much support from the Arsenal faithful. The 20-year old was trusted into Fabregas' role, and it is not exactly easy to emulate the Spaniard.
However, in the last month, the Welshman, who captains the Dragons, has been in sublime form and reignited the Arsenal midfield. Ramsey's display against Chelsea was of the highest calibre, with the passes produced at times almost incredible and his work rate outstanding.
Imagine if the former Caridff City playmaker had not endured that horrific injury at Stoke City in February 2010. Just where would Aaron Ramsey be now? Nonetheless, there is no denying the Welshman can become the best midfielder in the Premier League.
Arsenal created numerous chances throughout the match, and it can be said none was better than Theo Walcott's cross for Gervinho. It simply was a tap in for the Ivorian winger who somehow managed to allow his shot to miss everything, even the post.
Fortunately it failed to hurt the Gunners, and the 24-year-old can be credited for his ability to regather from the horrendous miss, but overall, it marks a strong performance from Wenger's Summer signing. Since arriving at Arsenal from French champions OSC Lille, Gervinho has shown phenomenal attacking ability, but has struggled to find shooting boots.
The Ivory Coast international's ability to evade defenders and provide pin point crosses has greatly aided the Gunners, and if he can just learn to shoot, then Arsenal will produce a huge amount of goals.
Robin van Persie's hat trick and Arsenal's victory is taking the predominant attention for now, but one cannot evade the fact that yet again defensive inabilities at corners cost Arsenal. England captain John Terry easily evaded Per Mertesacker to give Chelsea a 2-1 lead moments before halftime.
As always, the Gunners' looked unorganised, frail and fragile. Fingers can be pointed at Per Mertesacker for his inability to contain Terry, or Wojciech Szczesny's inability to organise and direct his defenders, but in truth, Wenger needs to find the answer.
The fact that no one was on the near post enabled the goal to be scored, and the fact John Terry was able to move so freely is criminal. Whether Wenger needs to hire a second defensive coach, a set piece specialist or just invite the likes of Tony Adams, Martin Keown or Sol Campbell in to aid the Frenchman remains to be unseen, but the Arsenal manager needs to do something else.
Since Bacary Sagna suffered a broken ankle at the beginning of October, naturally the Gunners' have lacked energy, security and quality down the right flank. The Frenchman is one of the best right backs in World Football and Wenger does exactly have replacements who instantly mitigate the issue.
Imposing Swiss Johan Djourou, primarily a centre half, and Carl Jenkinson, the teenager who was playing League One four six months ago, have provided solid cover for Sagna but both appear vulnerable at the right.
Djourou was exposed often in the first forty five by the fluent Chelsea attack and although regained composure as the game wore on, is not entirely comfortable on the flanks. Meanwhile Jenkinson is still heavily adapting to Premier League football and is yet to produce an assuring performance for Arsenal fans.
Sagna's estimated return is in the new year and until then the Gunners' are weak at right back.
The man who is currently providing the glue holding Arsenal together. Thirty goals in 33 appearances since Jan. 1 for Arsenal. The Dutchman simply cannot stop scoring, and Wenger must put almost everything in extending his heroic leaders contract.