Thursday 14 December 2017

Robin van Persie is hat-trick hero for Arsenal

Chelsea 3 - 5 Arsenal

Chelsea's Ashley Cole tackles Arsenal's Gervinho. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Chelsea's Ashley Cole tackles Arsenal's Gervinho. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Arsenal's hat-trick hero Robin van Persie battles with Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic
Robin van Persie (left)

Paul Hirst

Robin van Persie scored an incredible hat-trick to ensure John Terry's nightmare week ended on a low as Arsenal ran riot with a thrilling London derby win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Terry returned to the Chelsea side for the London derby against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues skipper, who is under investigation by the Football Association and the police over allegations he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand last week, was named in a starting XI which also contained Ramires and Fernando Torres, who has been missing for the last three league games due to suspension.

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas insisted yesterday that Terry was in the right frame of mind to take part in such a potentially feisty game, but the visiting fans made the defender know he was in for a tough afternoon by barracking him with chants early on.

Torres had a golden chance to open the scoring after 80 seconds when he was found in the box by Ashley Cole, but the Spaniard's deflected shot went wide after pressure from Johan Djourou.

Daniel Sturridge burst forward and cut in from the right flank but Wojciech Szczesny smothered the striker's poor cross while Torres was lurking unmarked at the back post.

The Gunners then wasted two brilliant chances to take the lead. Gervinho scuffed his shot from 12 yards after slipping his marker, and Van Persie stabbed over from a similar distance following some more good work by Walcott.

The Gunners were made to pay for their profligacy in the 14th minute when Juan Mata jinked past Andre Santos and floated a clever cross which Frank Lampard headed home from eight yards to give the Blues the lead.

With a "John Terry is not a racist" banner unfurled in the crowd behind him, Mikel Arteta whipped over a corner which Per Mertesacker headed wide as Arsenal looked for an equaliser.

Sturridge should have made it 2-0 just before the half hour when he latched onto Lampard's brilliant pass, but he mis-cued his 10-yard volley wide.

This time Chelsea were made to rue their missed chances when Arsenal equalised in the 36th minute with a wonderful free-flowing move finished by Van Persie.

Ramsey cut open the Blues defence to play through Gervinho, who squared to the Dutchman to tap in from eight yards for his 10th of the season.

Chelsea thought they had retaken the lead moments later when Sturridge scored from eight yards but he was correctly ruled offside.

They did regain the lead on the verge of half-time when Terry stole in ahead of his marker to stab home a Lampard corner from 10 yards.

The 30-year-old celebrated wildly in front of the away end and appeared to swear at the travelling fans.

The home support sang "There's only one England captain" as the teams went in at the break with Chelsea ahead.

Terry, who led the Blues team despite the race row which has surrounded him since last week's loss at QPR, stabbed home a Frank Lampard corner just before half-time to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.

Lampard had put Chelsea ahead in the 14th minute with a well-taken header, but his goal was cancelled out by Robin van Persie's 10th of the season before Terry's goal ensured that the home side went into the break ahead.

Petr Cech saved well with his feet to deny Van Persie before Ramsey's lob just cleared the Chelsea keeper's bar as Arsenal flew out of the blocks in the second half.

Their pressure took just three minutes to pay off as Andre Santos picked up Gervinho's through-ball and calmly slotted under Cech to equalise.

Santos' run was perfectly timed, but Cech will feel he should have done better to stop the weak shot for the Brazilian's first Premier League goal.

At the other end Szczesny came rushing out of his area to try to cut out a pass to Ashley Cole, but the Gunners keeper mis-timed his run and sent the former Arsenal full-back flying.

The Pole received a yellow card before pulling off a good save to deny Lampard from the resulting free-kick.

The afternoon then took a dramatic turn when Arsenal took the lead for the first time thanks to a moment of brilliance and determination from Walcott.

The England winger fell to the floor after slipping but he picked himself up to muscle past three Chelsea players and lash a powerful shot past Cech to make it 3-2 to Arsenal.

Chelsea's defence was looking vulnerable to Arsenal's pace on the counter attack and the Gunners came close to adding a fourth through Gervinho and Ramsey.

Villas-Boas replaced the disappointing Sturridge with Florent Malouda on the hour.

The Gunners thought they should have had a penalty in the 70th minute when Gervinho went down in the box under pressure from Jose Bosingwa but Marriner waved play on, much to the frustration of an irate Arsene Wenger.

Romelu Lukaku came on for Ramires and Raul Meireles replaced John Obi Mikel with 18 minutes to go while the Gunners swapped Djourou for Carl Jenkinson.

Van Persie and Branislav Ivanovic were both booked after clashing in the box while Wenger brought on Tomas Rosicky for Walcott.

Wenger was left fuming with 10 minutes to go as Chelsea levelled through a brilliant 25-yard strike from Juan Mata.

The Spaniard powered a vicious strike past Szczesny after picking up a pass from Meireles, but Wenger felt that Santos had been denied a chance to challenge the Portuguese after he was obstructed by Lukaku and ran on the pitch after the goal went in to shout at Marriner.

Stamford Bridge was stunned into silence six minutes from time when an error from Terry gifted Arsenal the lead.

Terry slipped to the floor when he went to collect a routine back pass from Malouda and Van Persie took full advantage, racing through unchallenged from 30 yards before rounding Cech to make it 4-3.

Vermaelen replaced Gervinho with three minutes left as Wenger looked to bolster his team in what was sure to be a Chelsea onslaught in the final few minutes.

Santos blocked Mata's goal-bound volley in injury time before Arsenal hit on the break and Van Persie slammed home to make it 5-3.

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