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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss