Chelsea demolish Arsenal to secure third place

Arsenal 1 Chelsea 4

Chelsea did their talking on the pitch this afternoon with a 4-1 win at Emirates Stadium securing at least third place in the table and ending Arsenal's 21-match Barclays Premier League run.

Uefa have yet to rule on the unacceptable over-reaction from several of the Chelsea players - most notably a foul-mouthed tirade by striker Didier Drogba - following their controversial midweek exit in the Champions League to a late Barcelona away goal.

However, there were no such flashpoints this afternoon as all of Guus Hiddink's men kept their composure to weather early pressure from the home side before killing the game off with two clinical strikes.

Chelsea - who beat Arsenal to reach the FA Cup final at the end of the month - are now guaranteed automatic entry to Europe's elite club competition once again next season, while Arsene Wenger must again guide his young team through qualification as another campaign finishes empty-handed.

The Gunners started with just leading scorer Robin van Persie in attack. Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor - who claimed both the team and himself had gone "backwards" this season following the Champions League defeat here to holders Manchester United - was left on the bench, and was booed by some fans when he came on.

Lukasz Fabianski was in goal, with regular number one Manuel Almunia - another player to call for experience to be added this summer - missing from the starting XI, understood to be because of an ankle problem rather than as any statement from Wenger.

Theo Walcott, who has just signed a new long-term contract, was full of running and fired over following a neat one-two with van Persie as Arsenal started brightly.

The England forward was put in again down the right side of the penalty area by Samir Nasri, but Petr Cech stood up well at his near post.

Abou Diaby should have scored when he shot wide after being picked out in the centre by Walcott, who then drilled an angled shot just wide from 18 yards following a surging run down the left by Diaby.

Chelsea finally managed an attack when former Arsenal defender Ashley Cole skipped away down the left and pulled the ball back into the path of Florent Malouda, with Kieran Gibbs - whose unfortunate slip against United proved so costly - making a timely block.

Another chance went begging for the home side when a free-kick was not cleared, and Diaby expertly pulled the high ball down - which Alex Song turned wide from three yards.

It proved costly as Chelsea snatched the lead on 28 minutes.

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas was cautioned for showing dissent after he was ruled to have tripped Drogba. The Ivorian lofted the resulting free-kick into the penalty area and Alex headed the ball in off the underside of the crossbar, with Fabianski rooted to the spot as Arsenal conceded a first Premier League goal at Emirates in more than 13 hours.

Fabregas was then fortunate to stay on the field when he upended Malouda and received only a stern talking to from referee Phil Dowd.

As happened against United, Arsenal found themselves 2-0 down before they could respond.

Nicolas Anelka, once idolised by Gunners fans, picked up the ball just inside the opposition half and charged forward before riffling a shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Fabianski made a smart stop with his legs from Anelka during first-half stoppage time but it was 3-0 just four minutes after the restart as Arsenal hit the self-destruct button in defence again, when Cole's cross from the left was put past Fabianski by the outstretched boot of Kolo Toure.

Cech saved from van Persie before substitute Nicklas Bendtner - fined after being photographed leaving a nightclub with his trousers down after the United defeat - headed a consolation goal with 20 minutes left.

Although the Gunners, who travel to Old Trafford for what could be a title party next week, went on to have a good spell, it was too little too late - and Malouda tapped in Chelsea's fourth from close range in the 86th minute after Anelka had struck the post following a counter-attack.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?