Gabriel's goal keeps Arsenal top with 1-0 win at Chelsea

LONDON (AP) — Gabriel's second-half goal was enough to keep Arsenal top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Chelsea on Sunday that further underlined the Gunners' title credentials.

The Brazilian center-back was on hand to steer in a corner from Bukayo Saka in the 63rd minute at Stamford Bridge following a largely dominant performance by the visitors against a toothless Chelsea side.

The win lifts Arsenal back atop the standings, two points ahead of Manchester City, which had taken the overnight lead with a last-gasp win against Fulham on Saturday. It also sends an even stronger message to City that Arsenal is likely to be their main challenger for the title this season after adding this result to previous victories against Liverpool and Tottenham.

For Chelsea, though, it was another disappointing performance that will add to pressure on manager Graham Potter, especially coming off a 4-1 loss at his former club Brighton last week.

Arsenal was in control for most of the game and could already have been ahead by the break had Gabriel Jesus not extended his goal drought to a ninth straight game in all competitions by spurning the best chance of the first half by heading wide from close range.

Chelsea, meanwhile, rarely threatened even after falling behind — although a driving rain that fell for the last 20 minutes turned the end of the game into more of a slog. Former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, facing the Gunners for the first time since leaving the club for Barcelona in January, was kept quiet until he was taken off just after the opening goal.

Arsenal was on the front foot for most of an up-tempo first half, but couldn’t force a save from Chelsea goalkeeper Eduoard Mendy. Ben White shot narrowly wide from just inside the area in the 10th minute, Gabriel Martinelli curled a long-range strike just off target in the 17th and Jesus had a shot blocked by Thiago Silva after stealing the ball from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and dribbling into the area in the 20th.

Jesus then spurned the best chance in the 29th when he couldn’t connect with a cross from Martinelli, glancing a header well wide.

Chelsea rarely threatened until Kai Havertz ran onto a ball in the area in the 34th but could only force a routine save from Aaron Ramsdale.

In the end, it was a defender who broke the deadlock.

Saka’s corner evaded a host of players as it bounced in the area before it was turned into the top of the net by Gabriel.

Saka had a chance to double the lead in the 68th but blasted well over the bar from a difficult angle.

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard also spurned a good chance after being sent through on goal by Jesus on a quick counterattack, lifting his shot high after cutting inside.

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Mattias Karen, The Associated Press