Arsenal beats Chelsea 3-1, takes league lead for now
Associated Press (AP) — Arsenal ended a four-game winless run by dismantling a listless Chelsea 3-1 on Tuesday to temporarily return to the top of the Premier League standings.
Arsenal was 3-0 up inside 34 minutes of a one-sided first half, with Martin Odegaard scoring two nearly identical goals and Gabriel Jesus adding the third as Chelsea slumped to a sixth straight loss in all competitions under caretaker manager Frank Lampard.
The visitors offered little in response until Chukwunonso Madueke pulled one back in the 65th but never came close to staging a comeback as the hosts saw out the game.
The win puts Arsenal two points above Manchester City atop the standings, but given that Pep Guardiola's team has two games in hand — including at home against West Ham on Wednesday — it is unlikely to stay there for long.
Arsenal was coming off a disheartening 4-1 loss to City last week and a run of three straight draws before that which saw its grip on the title slip away. But Mikel Arteta's team couldn't have asked for much easier opposition as it tried to get back on track.
Granit Xhaka created the two opening goals in similar fashion, sending a low cross into the box from the left to pick out Odegaard, who beat goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga with his left foot both times.
That took any remaining air out of a Chelsea team that has nothing to play for and is languishing in 12th place under its third manager of the season in Lampard, who is set to leave at the end of the campaign.
Jesus slotted in the third just three minutes after Odegaard's second following a rebound.
Lampard gave former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a rare start, but the Gunners' early domination meant that four of the forward's first seven touches in the game were kickoffs. He was taken off at halftime.
Arsenal missed two good chances to extend the lead after the break as Thiago Silva cleared a header from fellow center back Gabriel off the line in the 50th and Kepa saved a low shot from Xhaka three minutes later.
Madueke gave Chelsea a bit of hope as he got behind Oleksandr Zinchenko to meet a ball over the top and beat Aaron Ramsdale from close range.
While Chelsea's intensity increased after that, Ramsdale didn't have another save to make until Kai Havertz tried a shot from a difficult angle in injury time. ___
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London, The Associated Press