Marcos Alonso’s late strike handed Chelsea a narrow victory over Arsenal in Maurizio Sarri’s first home match as Blues manager.
Arsenal had come back from two goals down but with nine minutes left the Spaniard struck to seal all three points from a lively encounter at Stamford Bridge.
Pedro put the Blues ahead after nine minutes by sweeping in an Alonso cross on the counter, before Alvaro Morata doubled the lead with a smart finish following Cesar Azpilicueta’s long ball.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spurned a glorious chance just moments before Morata’s strike, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan also blazed over from a fine position in the box after the Gunners went two goals behind.
But Unai Emery’s side continued to cut Chelsea open and they hauled themselves level in dramatic fashion, scoring two goals in four minutes as Mkhitaryan drove in fiercely from the edge of the box before Alex Iwobi converted the Armenian’s cut-back before the break.
After half-time, Ross Barkley brought an impressive save from Petr Cech and N’Golo Kante saw a promising shot blocked by Sokratis, while Aubameyang had a goal correctly ruled out for offside on the break.
Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga almost spilled a cross straight to substitute Alexandre Lacazette, and Kante might have done better with a close-range header in the box.
But Alonso made no mistake with a tidy finish from close range after substitute Eden Hazard’s run and pass across goal set up the winner.
EMERY’S LOSING START – THE STATS
Chelsea have won six of their past seven home league games against Arsenal, the exception being a 0-0 draw last season.
Arsenal scored two goals against Chelsea, as many as on their previous six Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge.
Unai Emery is the first Arsenal manager to lose his first two games in charge since Steve Burtenshaw, who lost his first three in charge as caretaker in March/April 1986.
Marcos Alonso has been directly involved in 20 Premier League goals since his Chelsea debut in September 2016 (14 goals, six assists); seven more than any other defender.
No player has assisted a single team-mate more often in the Premier League since the start of last season than Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta for Alvaro Morata (7, level with Riyad Mahrez for Jamie Vardy with Leicester).
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been directly involved in eight goals in his 13 Premier League games for Arsenal (3 goals, 5 assists), one more than in his last 25 for Manchester United (7).
Eden Hazard registered his 41st assist for Chelsea, level with Cesc Fabregas for the Blues, and behind only Frank Lampard (90), Didier Drogba (55), and Gianfranco Zola (42).