Emile Smith Rowe took advantage of a defensive howler to score the winner as Arsenal beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to stop the hosts from moving third in the Premier League.
Italy midfielder Jorginho’s attempted back pass left out-of-position goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga scrambling to prevent an own goal, diving to palm the ball away just before it crossed the line.
But Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was on hand to collect the ball and square it for Smith Rowe, who slotted home just inside the post. It was Arsenal’s third straight Premier League victory and a much-needed morale booster after its loss in the Europa League semifinals left the Gunners without a chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
Chelsea’s loss means Thomas Tuchel’s side remained fourth and gave renewed hope to chasing teams West Ham and Liverpool, who are hoping to overtake the final Champions League spot.
Chelsea dominated possession on the second half and Christian Pulisic saw a second-half equalizer chalked off for offside after a video assistant referee review. Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud then struck the crossbar within mere seconds of each other in the 90th minute as Chelsea wasted a host of chances in a dominant but disjointed performance.
Tuchel made seven changes to keep his players fresh, with Saturday’s FA Cup final against Leicester clearly in mind.
Kai Havertz missed a great chance to put Chelsea ahead when he dispossessed Pablo Mari just inside his own half, raced in on goal and came one-on-one with Bernd Leno — only to blaze his effort over the bar.
Shortly afterward, Arsenal were ahead after Jorginho didn’t realize that Kepa had moved off to the side and gifted the visitors their only real scoring chance of the game.