Arsenal fought back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw and preserve its unbeaten start to the Premier League season in a high-energy encounter at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with late goals from Declan Rice and Leandro Trossard.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea, who looked good for their lead until midway through the second half, had gone ahead in the 15th minute through a cool Cole Palmer penalty.
Arsenal defender William Saliba rose to hold off Mykhailo Mudryk and the Ukrainian’s header glanced off his opponent’s hand. Referee Christopher Kavanagh awarded the spot kick after a VAR check.
Mudryk, ever busy in attack, scored Chelsea’s second three minutes after the break, lifting the ball into the top right hand corner of the net over the stranded Raya.
There was some debate over whether he meant to cross the ball or was aiming for the goal, but the jubilant crowd, who have watched their side struggle for points in recent months, did not care.
It was an evening of goalkeeping nerves with both Raya and Chelsea keeper Robert Sanchez making errors in the high energy encounter.
Sanchez’s sloppy distribution led to Arsenal’s 76th minute strike from Declan Rice, who pounced on the loose ball before the Chelsea defenders and sent it past the out-of -position keeper into an open goal.
Rice, a former Chelsea junior, said he had to decide quickly what to do with the ball.
“Instead of driving the ball with my laces I had to curl it. It was a quick instinct about whether to pass the ball to someone or take it on,” he told BBC.
Arsenal, encouraged, poured forward and Chelsea were forced to defend deeply in the final quarter of the game.
Substitute Leandro Trossard then silenced Stamford Bridge in the 84th minute with a neat finish from a fine Bukayo Saka cross to earn Mikel Arteta’s side a point.
They returned to second in the table, level on 21 points with leaders Manchester City while Chelsea is ninth, on 12.
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