Arsenal gave their Premier League top-four hopes a massive boost with a thrilling 4-2 win over London rivals Chelsea – their first in four matches.
The Gunners came into the match off the back of three straight defeats in which they had only scored one goal. Chelsea, meanwhile, were fresh from their 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Crystal Palace.
It could have gone either way in what was a thrilling encounter at Stamford Bridge. And while Chelsea continued to expose Arsenal’s defensive frailties of late, the return of the Gunners’ potency in front of goal eventually won the day.
Indeed, it was striker Eddie Nketiah in particular who was the hero for the visitors with a brace. Four goals were shared in a fantastic first half in which Arsenal led twice. But, Chelsea responded to come from behind to set up the second half perfectly.
It was Arsenal who had the last laugh, with Nketiah grabbing the fifth goal in between a strike for Emile Smith Rowe. Bukayo Saka then finished Chelsea off with a late penalty.
Marcos Alonso and Gabriel Magalhaes had early chances which set the tone for an explosive first half.
Nketiah scored the opener when Andreas Christensen made a mess of a back-pass to Edouard Mendy. Nketiah nipped in, got past Malang Sarr and then finished past Mendy.
However, just four minutes later, Werner responded for Chelsea. Ruben Loftus-Cheek won the ball back impressively and fed the German, whose shot deflected off Granit Xhaka and beat Aaron Ramsdale.
Arsenal, Chelsea in goalscoring mood
Xhaka and Loftus-Cheek were then involved again as Smith Rowe made it 2-1 to Arsenal.
Xhaka showed impressive composure to recover at the back amid another chance for Werner. He nutmegged his marker on the edge of his box and fed Martin Odegaard, who got it to Saka.
Saka went back inside to Odegaard, who then passed to Smith Rowe – with Loftus-Cheek next to him but unaware of his presence. Smith Rowe’s finish lacked power but made up for it in accuracy, the ball going into the bottom right corner.
Still, Cesar Azpilicueta ensured he and Chelsea had the last laugh of the first half.
Mason Mount delivered a fantastic ball in and full-back Azpilicueta showed a striker’s instinct. He got across Nuno Tavares in a near-post run and poked home.
Thiago Silva came on at half-time for Chelsea in place of Christensen and looked to have shored up the defence.
But despite the Blues dominating the early stages of the second half, a misplaced pass from Azpilicueta let Arsenal and Nketiah in for his brace.
Tavares pounced on the poor pass and crossed to Nketiah, who turned Silva impressively. Silva did get a tackle in, but Sarr could not control when the ball came his way. Nketiah subsequently stole in again to finish.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel had been keen to protect the tired Kai Havertz. However, now was the time for the German to swap him in for Romelu Lukaku.
Arsenal ahead again and Saka makes it four
Reece James swung in a cross which Ramsdale had to parry and Alonso then failed to steer the rebound in.
But, Chelsea struggled to find rhythm in attack and it was Arsenal who looked more like scoring again. Saka brought a high ball down well and laid it off, but Mendy smothered to avert the danger.
Arsenal continued to have control of the clash and ended the evening with a huge three points.
And it was Saka who added gloss to the win for Arsenal from the penalty spot. Azpilicueta had his hands across Saka and seemingly no eyes for the ball, leading referee Jon Moss to point to the spot.
Saka made no mistake to send the Arsenal away end into raptures and give the visitors a big boost.
They remain in fifth, but have moved three points ahead of Manchester United and are now level with Tottenham in fourth.
Chelsea remain third, five ahead of Spurs with a game in hand on Antonio Conte’s men.