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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee