After the disappointment of losing to Manchester City last week, we bounced back in style by putting three past the Blues during an excellent opening 45 minutes at Emirates Stadium to keep our title hopes alive.
And our Swiss midfielder revealed post-match that there was a burning desire within the squad to get back to winning ways after a four-match wait.
“We wanted to show a big reaction today, I think we did for 60 minutes,” he said. “It was a very good game and in the end, we deserved to win.
“We wanted to start with a lot of energy, and I think the first 45 minutes were nearly perfect. In the second half, we wanted to come out with a fourth and fifth goal as well. We were a bit disappointed with that but in the end, the three points are the most important thing.
“As a team, we put in a good effort today after the four games we didn’t win, and I think we needed the three points. It was very important.
“We needed a reaction for the fans, for ourselves as well to come back with confidence and hopefully we can continue like this for the next four games.”
The win puts us back on top of the Premier League table and keeps us within touching distance of City, whom we are hoping will drop points between now and the end of the campaign.
Granit believes that we can only look after what we can control, but feels that the history of the division means that anything is possible if we can stay in the race right until its conclusion.
“We have to do our job to take as many points as possible,” he added. “After that, we have to hope a little bit because we don’t have everything in our hands.
“In the Premier League everything is possible. People are speaking about us in a good and bad way, but this is part of our job. We have to focus on ourselves, do our job and let’s see after.”
Granit Xhaka, who provided assists for both Odegaard’s strikes, almost opened the scoring himself in the opening minutes but he was thwarted by Kepa Arrizabalaga who went on to make saves in the second half that prevented an Arsenal rout.
“Everyone was so hurt after the game against City,” Odegaard said after taking his league goal tally for the season to 14.
“We used the anger and the disappointment to get back into this game. You can lose games but the way we lost, we didn’t play our game and weren’t ourselves, that was the most painful thing, and we wanted to show a different side and we definitely did,” the Norwegian.
Chelsea lost for the sixth time in six games in all competitions since interim coach Frank Lampard replaced Graham Potter last month, a dismal run for a club who were crowned European champions as recently as two years ago.
Shambolic Chelsea gift Arsenal chance to stay in title fight
After four games without a win and Manchester City moving into the top spot of the Premier League table, Arsenal’s confidence was shaken, leaving them a fragile entity at kickoff here. In those four losses, Liverpool, West Ham, Southampton and Man City had causes to rally around, whether that was chasing Champions League qualification, avoiding relegation or trying to win the league.
But Chelsea, manager-less and detached in mid-table, had nothing to bring them together beyond caretaker boss Frank Lampard demanding a show of pride in a London derby. That rallying cry fell on deaf ears.
Even in a season of struggles, Chelsea were almost incomprehensibly bad here at the Emirates, allowing the Gunners to find their stride from a slow start. While Martin Odegaard’s 18th-minute opener was well-taken, the space he had in which to take aim was laughable.
Lampard’s Aubameyang gamble backfires, epitomises terrible Chelsea
Lampard’s choice to start Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Chelsea felt like the product of Lampard looking around a beleaguered squad for any source of individual motivation.
Chelsea have indeed been badly struggling for goals of late, scoring just once in five games under Lampard before this. But the rationale in suddenly starting Aubameyang is surely based on how he was abruptly transferred to Barcelona by Arsenal in January 2022 a ploy for revenge from the striker rather than any signs of encouragement from his performance against Brentford last weekend.
Arteta and his players get a breather with squad rotation
There have been signs of physical and mental fatigue as Arsenal have surrendered the title advantage to Man City in recent weeks.
As such, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta made three changes on Tuesday to freshen things up: Jakub Kiwior, Jorginho and Leandro Trossard replaced Rob Holding, Thomas Partey and Gabriel Martinelli. That latter trio were arguably Arsenal’s three worst performers in last week’s defeat at City, and so whether these specific alterations were also designed as a warning against dropping standards, the desired outcome was a much-improved display.
The game was over as a contest by the break, enabling Arteta to continue the theme of getting a breather into his certain players, bringing off Bukayo Saka and Oleksandr Zinchenko for the final 16 minutes here.
The Gunners’ reliance on a creative core over the entire season is clear: with his brace against Chelsea, Odegaard became the third Arsenal player to reach 20+ goals and assists combined in the Premier League this season, after Saka (24) and Martinelli (20). Arsenal are the only side with three or more players to have reached this milestone.
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