Mikel Arteta learning the hard way

LONDON. — Chelsea staged a stunning late comeback to snatch 2-1 victory and wreck Mikel Arteta’s return to Emirates Stadium as Arsenal manager yesterday.

Arteta, taking charge of his first home game since succeeding sacked Unai Emery, looked on course for three important points after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early header put the Gunners in front.

Leno punched at the air and the ball sailed on to Jorginho, who nursed it into an empty net on the half volley.

Arteta put his hands to his head. Like his players, he probably thought Jorginho should have been sent off for a second yellow card, moments earlier, when the Chelsea midfielder pulled at Alex Lacazette to halt a promising attack. Worse was to follow, however, as Arsenal reverted to their bad habits, refused to settle for a point, over-committed and were stung on the break, four minutes later.

Chelsea sprung from their own penalty box at pace, stretched their tiring hosts and killed the game with a clinical finish by Tammy Abraham after linking up with Willian.

Welcome to Arsenal, Mikel. From the jaws of victory, a crushing defeat against London rivals and a team which had proved unable to take a single point from a losing position in the first 19 games of the Premier League season.

Frank Lampard and his players celebrated on the pitch at the Emirates Stadium.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener and a positive first 30 minutes for Arteta suddenly seemed a distant memory for the home team.

Arsenal were ahead in the 13th minute when Calum Chambers beat Fikayo Tomori to flick on a corner taken by Ozil and Aubameyang stole ahead of Emerson to find the net with a diving header. It was his 13th of the season in the Premier League and gave his side a deserved lead after a strong and fluent opening.

Chelsea were dominated in midfield and unable to find rhythm.

Lampard stuck with the back-three formation which served him well in the win at Tottenham before Christmas but Marcos Alonso and Reece James — perhaps his most natural wing-backs — were both unavailable through injury.

His team had not won a point from a losing position in first half of the season and they were being dominated by Arsenal who continued to threaten with Mesut Ozil influential in the first half.

A timely intervention from N’Golo Kante was required to stop Alex Lacazette applying the finish to a crisp and sweeping move involving good play by Reiss Nelson on the right.

Chelsea spent the first half struggling to cope with the incision and trickery of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil at the Emirates Aubameyang crashed a shot into the side-netting from a tight angle.

Arsenal by their own recent standards were solid at the back where teenage winger Bukayo Saka was deputising at left-back.

Only once did they nod off in the first half when Bernd Leno saved from Mason Mount after a quickly taken free-kick by Willian.

Momentum suffered when Chambers was hurt midway through the first half. He appeared to twist his left knee in a tangle with Tammy Abraham and was unable to continue.

Lampard also took the initiative and made a key tactical change, sending on Jorginho to establish more control in midfield and switching to a back-four.

Tomori moved to right-back, Cesar Azpilicueta to left-back and they improved ahead of the interval as Arsenal’s energy levels faded.

A glimpse of a chance came to Kurt Zouma but he was unable to connect as he slid in at the back post from a corner.

Kante volleyed wide from the edge of the penalty area in the second half as the visitors forced Arsenal back. Lampard sent teenager Tariq Lamptey on for his debut in the hope he might provide more of an attacking threat to Tomori at right-back.

Then the Chelsea boss sacrificed a midfielder for Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Arsenal’s defence was tested. Luiz made a terrific block to thwart Abraham and Azpilicueta headed over. — MailOnline.

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