Live Updates

Full-time: Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal

  • Chelsea extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 12 points with an impressive win over Arsenal
  • Marcos Alonso powers through Hector Bellerin to head home a controversial 13th-minute opener, with the right-back quickly needing to be substituted
  • Eden Hazard doubles the lead seven minutes after the break courtesy of a tremendous solo effort
  • Former Gunners midfielder Cesc Fabregas rubs further salt into the wound by lofting in a late third after a dreadful error from Petr Cech
  • Substitute Olivier Giroud nets a consolation goal in second-half stoppage time
  • Arsenal remain 12 points off the pace in third after their second defeat in four days
  • Later: Hull vs Liverpool, Tottenham vs Middlesbrough

That is all for this particular blog, but stay with IBTimes UK for live coverage of six 15.00 GMT Premier League kick-offs including Hull vs Liverpool and Crystal Palace vs Sunderland.

We will also have Tottenham vs Middlesbrough for you a little bit later on.

A ninth successive Premier League home win for Chelsea and a 16th in their last 18 matches. Conte's side seem to be cruising towards the title. They open up a 12-point gap at the summit that could be trimmed back down to nine if Tottenham are able to beat Middlesbrough in the day's late kick-off.

Antonio Conte

It's very much a case of the same old story for Arsenal, who have now lost on all of their last five visits to Stamford Bridge. They remain 12 points off the pace and could find themselves out of the top four altogether this weekend if Liverpool and Manchester City manage to beat relegation strugglers Hull and Swansea.


Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal

Arsenal notch a stoppage-time consolation. Welbeck charges forward with purpose before Giroud heads home a Monreal cross at the front post. Courtois will be disappointed not to have saved that.

Goal: Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud)

Three minutes of added time signalled by the fourth official.

Fabregas tees up Alonso for a header that is saved Cech. Costa, perhaps feeling a little left out, greedily blazes over from a difficult angle instead of setting up a teammate in the middle.

Chelsea make their final change. Kurt Zouma replaces Moses, with Cesar Azpilicueta switching to right wing-back.

Talk about rubbing salt into a gaping wound. Gabriel aims a throw-in back to Cech, who completely fluffs his clearance straight into the path of Fabregas. The former Arsenal midfielder reacts quickly to loft the ball into an empty net before muting his celebrations.

Humiliation complete.

Cesc Fabregas

Goal: Chelsea 3-0 Arsenal (Cesc Fabregas)

Costa gets back to emphatically clear the latest Arsenal corner. A double change from Conte sees Pedro and Hazard make way for Willian and Fabregas.

The Belgian rightly receives a standing ovation.


Costa buys a corner off Koscielny and Kante's searching cross to the back post is just taken away from Alonso by Gabriel. Moses' long-range shot is then deflected into the hands of Cech.

Arsenal are dominating possession just at the moment. Courtois leaps to his right to turn a Welbeck effort around the post and Mustafi heads the corner narrowly wide.

A moment of controversy now as Gabriel appears to catch Hazard with an elbow. Atkinson awards a free-kick, but nothing more.

Matic brings down Welbeck and is quickly shown a yellow card. Ozil sends a free-kick into the box but the referee's assistant has his flag raised.

Less than 20 minutes remaining for Arsenal to effectively save their Premier League season.

Welbeck finally jogs on in place of Walcott.

Luiz, who caught Mignolet and Liverpool unawares with a stunning 25-yard free-kick at Anfield, lines up to unleash another long-range drive before changing tack and lofting the ball towards Costa.

The subsequent corner comes to nothing. Welbeck has been waiting to come on for the last few minutes.

Sanchez releases Monreal on the overlap and the Spaniard's inviting low cross fizzes across the six-yard box before going safe.

Giroud comes on for Coquelin. The latter has endured a very tough afternoon here and will not wish to see Hazard's stunning goal again.

Alonso is fine to continue. Giroud prepares to enter the fray for Arsenal.


Arsenal force another corner and Alonso requires treatment after a painful clash of heads with Luiz.

Strong defending from Cahill to put behind a Monreal cross intended for Walcott.

Chelsea feed off a vibrant atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge and Mustafi has to be alert to head away a Moses delivery.


What an utterly superb solo goal.

Hazard picks up possession in midfield, beats Koscielny and puts Coquelin firmly on his backside.

Koscielny then looks reluctant to engage the slaloming Belgian for a second time and Mustafi is unable to stop his shot from nestling neatly in the back of the net.

Brilliant stuff. An overjoyed Conte celebrates by jumping into the crowd.

Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard

Goal: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal (Eden Hazard)

Hazard executes a lovely turn to shake off Coquelin before shooting over the bar.

Kante, who has been utterly brilliant again today, tees up Costa to go one-on-one with Cech. However, the fiery Spaniard is flagged offside.

Hazard almost gets through again for Chelsea but Koscielny stops him with an important last-ditch tackle.

The Gunners seem to have reverted back to a familiar 4-1-4-1 formation, with Ozil playing as a no.10 in support of Sanchez.

The second half is off and running. No changes from either manager at the break. Arsenal have only two substitutions remaining, of course.


Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal


Arsenal work the ball nicely after Matic is dispossessed. Walcott touches a Sanchez cross back into the path of Ozil, who cuts inside before unsuccessfully trying to outfox Courtois at his near post.

Might he have been better trying to bend that into the far corner?

Bellerin's injury leads to four minutes of added time.

Arsenal are caught in possession and this time Pedro holds his head in his hands after failing to release Costa.

Expert defending from Cahill at the back post to chest Monreal's cross into the hands of Courtois.


Arsenal earn a few corners of their own. Gabriel should level the scores after a lofted pass from Oxlade-Chamberlain but his close-range header is beaten away by Courtois.

Marcos Alonso and Hector Bellerin

Foul or no foul? That is the question...

Arsenal weather another storm and almost find a way through, but Ozil cannot quite pick out Walcott.

Chelsea come again and Cech spills Pedro's rather weak spinning shot wide after an accurate cutback from Alonso.

Moses needlessly fouls Monreal and Courtois easily claims Oxlade-Chamberlain's overhit free-kick.

Chelsea counter quickly through Hazard and Costa, who somehow fails to spot the unmarked Pedro before being stopped by a combination of Coquelin and Gabriel.

Conte is furious on the touchline. Pedro would have been in for 2-0. Arsenal were completely overrun.

Hazard comes back on and links up wonderfully with Costa to force another couple of Chelsea corners. Nemanja Matic's back-post cross is glanced away.

The hosts have looked very impressive since taking that early lead. Arsenal have had the confidence knocked out of them.

Hazard receives treatment before limping off gingerly. Pedro's free-kick is headed away by Gabriel.

Shkodran Mustafi is cautioned for flattening Eden Hazard. The Belgian took a blow to the side of his thigh and appears to be in some discomfort.

Walcott extremely culpable for that Chelsea opener. He clearly identified the threat of Alonso but completely neglected to track his run. Woeful defending leads to more early goals being conceded.

Both of Watford's efforts in midweek came within the first 13 minutes.


A period of Arsenal pressure ends with Coquelin shooting well over Courtois' crossbar. Costa then shows quick feet after receiving possession from Pedro and fires an effort into the side netting.

Replays show that Bellerin took a painful hand to the face from Alonso and also landed horribly. He is replaced by Gabriel.

Hector Bellerin

Bellerin was beaten by both Costa and Alonso there. He was totally cleaned out by the latter and looks dazed and confused. He will have to come off.

Arsenal had probably started this fixture in more impressive fashion, but they find themselves behind after just 13 minutes.

Pedro's searching right-wing cross is headed powerfully against the crossbar by Costa. With Petr Cech unable to get back to his feet in enough time, Alonso soars above Bellerin to nod home his fourth top-flight goal of the season.

First blood to the leaders.

Marcos Alonso
Marcos Alonso

Goal: Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal (Marcos Alonso)

Costa is not happy about a robust challenge from behind by Laurent Koscielny and makes Atkinson aware of his displeasure.

Moses then speeds forward for Chelsea and is promptly cut down by a sliding Coquelin. Pedro's free-kick from the right is headed into the ground and over by Gary Cahill.

Sanchez tries to slide in Walcott with a low pass, but the England forward is caught out by Chelsea's high defensive line.

At the other end, Victor Moses sees an ambitious drive blocked by Nacho Monreal. High tempo from both sides early on.

A tribute to the Chelsea legend, who announced his retirement from football on Thursday at the age of 38...

Frank Lampard

The hosts break quickly through Kante before Pedro and Marcos Alonso win a couple of corners that are dealt with by Arsenal.

It's been a quick start to this game.

An early mix-up between Courtois and David Luiz gifts possession to Mesut Ozil in a dangerous area.

With Sanchez waiting in the middle, Iwobi cuts inside and sees a low strike deflected wide by Luiz. Costa heads the corner clear.

The teams are out and we are just about ready to get underway in west London. Martin Atkinson is your referee.

Just over 10 minutes remaining until kick-off at Stamford Bridge. Here's a reminder of how the Premier League table looks going into this weekend...


Chelsea similarly did not add to their squad in January, despite deadline day links to the likes of Celtic duo Mousa Dembele and Craig Gordon, Inter Milan winger Jonathan Biabiany and Schalke wing-back Sead Kolasinac.

Speaking at his own presser, Conte clarified the situation with Gordon and Dembele and once again stressed that he had improved his options by recalling young trio Nathan Ake, Kenedy and Charly Musonda from their respective loan spells.

Moussa Dembele
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

"Honestly, for Dembele I never talked to my club about these players," he said. "It is the truth. For Gordon, we tried a little bit. We tried to help Asmir Begovic to satisfy his request to go and play every game. But I always told him that if we were able to find the right solution and the right substitution he could leave. For sure, Gordon was one of the goalkeepers on the list to try to bring him here. We tried and when the club told us it is not possible, we finish.

"In this transfer window we took three young players. Nathan Ake, Kenedy and Musonda. Ake, when he played in the league he played every well and for sure now he is a player more mature than before. He can improve with us and help us for the end of the season. For Kenedy and Musonda, they are two young players with good quality."

Ivanovic, Oscar, Patrick Bamford and Mikel John Obi were the permanent departures from Stamford Bridge last month.


There was predictably no sniff of any potential late incomings on deadline day for Arsenal, who let the likes of Chuba Akpom, Krystian Bielik, Matt Macey, Marc Bola, Gedion Zelalem, Kaylen Hinds, Stephy Mavididi and Ismael Bennacer depart on loan.

Wenger's only January move was to pluck promising U23 left-back Cohen Bramall from non-league Hednesford Town.

Rumours of Costa's impending exit from Chelsea have surfaced once again this week, with Spanish radio station Cadena Ser suggesting that he has already agreed terms on a €30m-per-year summer move to the Chinese Super League. Alvaro Morata is said to be being lined up as his compatriot's successor.

"I don't know," Conte said of those fresh reports. "Every week I hear a lot of news, a lot of speculation over Diego and I think now the most important thing is to be focused on these championship and we are in a good position.


"Diego is an important player for us and he is happy to stay with us. These are the most important things not the future. What happens in the summer is far. It is important to be in the present than look to the future."

Wenger recalls Hector Bellerin to right-back at the expense of Gabriel, while Oxlade-Chamberlain partners Coquelin in midfield with Ramsey absent. Giroud is only named as a substitute, meaning that Alexis Sanchez starts up front and Theo Walcott comes onto that right flank.

Welbeck is also held in reserve alongside youngsters Reine-Adelaide and Maitland-Niles. Lucas Perez drops out of the matchday squad altogether.

Conte has indeed swapped Willian for Pedro in his only change from the rain-soaked draw at Anfield. Fabregas is on the bench.


Official team news is imminent. Stay tuned...

Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger
Getty Images

Bournemouth loanee Jack Wilshere would be a very handy option for Arsenal to have right now given their paucity of midfielders. Addressing that very point on Friday, Wenger said: "We agreed for him to go for one year on loan and we will accept that. We didn't push him out, he wanted to go somewhere and play, he wanted to go because he saw the level of competitive players we have in midfield.

"Let's not forget, Xhaka is suspended also. There's a huge level of competition. He wanted to go so we let him and we accept the consequences of that."

N'Golo Kante
Getty Images

The Frenchman also admitted that he twice tried to sign Chelsea's N'Golo Kante, both during the latter's time at Caen and Leicester City.

"Yes, when he was in France, when he was at Leicester. We cannot explain everything, but it's quite obvious when you look where he has gone. I don't want to talk more about that, transfers are transfers."

In stark contrast to the leaders, Arsenal are attempting to navigate their way through something of a midfield crisis at present. With long-term absentee Santi Cazorla still sidelined, Granit Xhaka suspended and Mohamed Elneny away at the Africa Cup of Nations, Francis Coquelin is currently the Gunners' only fit and available senior central midfielder following the news that Aaron Ramsey will miss three weeks with a calf injury.

Such a lay-off will include the Champions League last-16 first-leg clash against Bayern Munich.

Aaron Ramsey
Getty Images

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud should feature after both sustaining knocks against Watford, while Danny Welbeck could earn a recall. Arsenal are wisely still exercising caution with regards to his fitness after two long-term knee injuries.

"We are a bit short [in midfield] at the moment but we have young players who can do well," Wenger said at his pre-match press conference. "We have [Jeff] Reine-Adelaide, [Ainsley] Maitland-Niles, Oxlade-Chamberlain, [Alex] Iwobi can play there and Elneny will come back after Sunday."

Chelsea are once again expected to be blessed with a fully-fit squad to choose from, with only Pedro possibly coming back in at the expense of Willian. Conte may also opt to field Cesc Fabregas against his former club, although an unchanged XI seems most likely.

Branislav Ivanovic is obviously no longer available having completed his move to Zenit Saint Petersburg on Wednesday.

Arsenal's ruthless 3-0 victory over Chelsea back in September marked a watershed moment in the early reign of Antonio Conte. Reacting to his heaviest league defeat since his days at Siena, the passionate Italian quickly instigated an overdue switch to his favoured three-man defensive system and masterminded a remarkable run of consecutive victories that would have set a new Premier League record had it not been for a rare slip-up at Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea languished in eighth after that second straight loss at the Emirates Stadium, but now boast a nine-point lead at the top-flight summit. It could have been more had Simon Mignolet not turned from zero to hero and saved Diego Costa's second-half penalty during an entertaining 1-1 draw at Liverpool on deadline day.

Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal looked a real force to be reckoned with in the autumn, but a wretched midweek home defeat to Watford has left them knocking on the door of the last-chance saloon and once again raised questions regarding their mental fortitude.

"It looked more mentally that we were not ready for the challenges," Arsene Wenger, serving a four-match touchline ban for pushing Anthony Taylor during last month's eventful defeat of Burnley, admitted afterwards.

Another loss today and any lingering ambitions of winning a first title since 2004 are surely over for another year.