17 min: Arsenal almost double their lead! Nelson does brilliantly down the right flank, bending a wonderful cross towards the back post, where Aubameyang nonchalantly lays a divine ball off for Lacazette. The striker dawdles ever so slightly and N’Golo Kanté is able to make life difficult. It would have capped a gorgeous attacking Arsenal move. And it came moments after Lacazette lost his footing on the edge of the box under pressure from Kurt Zouma. At one point the referee Craig Pawson looked set to blow his whistle but Lacazette soldiered on before eventually surrendering possession.
16 min: Arteta asked for aggression from his Arsenal side and it is a case of so far so good. They’re on the front foot. Chelsea are wilting. They’re all over the place. Blue shirts must have had only a handful of touches.
15 min: Tammy Abraham catches Lucas Torreira on halfway, and ends up injuring himself in the process. Torreira is also momentarily down. Both are soon up and moving, though. Chelsea are struggling to thread passes together. They’re struggling.
GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea (Aubameyang, 13)
Who else? Aubameyang heads home after Chambers diverted a corner towards the back post, where the Arsenal skipper was lurking. Arteta punches the air. Arsenal reap the rewards after an early, convincing swell of pressure.
11 min: Willian rolls the ball to Mount, who wellies it at goal! Quick thinking by Chelsea and the Arsenal goalkeeper Leno gets a little good fortune after failing to take all of the sting out of Mount’s strike. It bounces to safety and Arsenal aim to fly forward down the other end through Maitland-Niles.
10 min: Guendouzi picks up a booking. A clumsy foul on Willian, just as the Chelsea midfielder was bouncing towards the box. Chelsea win a free-kick on the edge of the 18-yard box. Willian and Mount are stood over it. It’s way out on the left flank. Presumably one of them will lift it into the box …
8 min: David Luiz powers a free-kick at Kepa from 25 yards! It’s a routine save for the Chelsea goalkeeper but another positive tick in the box for Arsenal, who have made a brilliant start in Arteta’s first home game in charge. The free-kick stemmed from Tomori clobbering a freewheeling Mesut Özil.
7 min: Big news out of Hertha Berlin … Salomon Kalou has been excused from training so that he can find a new club. As for Granit Xhaka, who is absent at the Emirates this afternoon, the Bundesliga club are mightily keen on completing a deal. Let’s watch this space on that one. His omission makes a January departure seem inevitable. Back to the football …
5 min: David Luiz goes for an overhead kick! A wondrous, spectacular attempt … but it doesn’t come off for the Arsenal defender against his former club. The Brazilian tried to hook the ball goalwards from a corner under pressure from Rüdiger. It bobbles wide and Chelsea earn some early respite.
3 min: Tomori is over-exuberant in the challenge on Reiss Nelson after the winger latches on to a neat flick by Mesut Özil. The subsequent free-kick is floated in from the right but Chelsea head it clear. Lampard’s side are yet to settle. Arsenal will be happy with this high-tempo start, that’s for sure.
2 min: Arsenal are hogging the ball in the early stages. Chelsea are yet to get a whiff. A reminder this a meeting between the division’s youngest managers (Arteta is 37 and Lampard 41). Arsenal surge down the right …
1 min: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks pumped. David Luiz nudges the ball out of defence and the Arsenal captain skips a couple of challenges before trying to breeze beyond Antonio Rüdiger. Encouraging start, and one that has whipped up the home faithful, just as Mikel Arteta wanted.
Lampard speaks. “We have been better away from home recently but every game you start again,” he says. “We can’t expect anything just because we had a good [away] result last week. We have to park the home form because the next two games we are away from home and then we will deal with that. It is part of the process and we cannot be inconsistent if we want to get to where we want to be. Every game is different, Arsenal are slightly unpredictable with a new manager coming in, who I’m sure is very keen to imprint his ideas on how they play.”
“Özil played very well v Bournemouth, and with a few finishes from Lacazette, Arsenal could have had another win on the road,” emails Kim Doyle from Maryland. “A performance by Özil, keeping the ball in the final third of the pitch is crucial for Arsenal. As he goes, so goes the Gunners on the offensive. The defence has to avoid mistakes, especially in the first 20 minutes.”
Indeed, Arteta stopped short of waxing lyrical of Özil but was let it be known he was impressed with his display. “He worked and could have been the difference; we could have scored three or four goals from his balls through,” Arteta said. “To be fair his attitude in training since the day I walked into the building has been incredible. I said I was going to give a clean slate.”
Across London, some news:
David Moyes is set to make an unlikely return to West Ham United, who have asked the Scot to save them from relegation for the second time in three seasons after firing Manuel Pellegrini. Mario Husillos, a close Pellegrini ally, has also left his role as director of football after a series of mistakes in the transfer market.
Read David Hytner’s big match preview:
Do not make David Luiz angry. It is rarely a good idea, as Chelsea have discovered to their cost, and Frank Lampard looked as though he could see the value in treading carefully as he prepared for Sunday’s derby, when he will come up against his one-time teammate and the player he sold in August.
Essential pre-match reading:
The last time Arteta duelled with Lampard? 13 September 2014. Sort of. Arteta was a stoppage-time substitute at the Emirates Stadium, where Lampard made his long-awaited City debut – but it only lasted 45 minutes with the midfielder, then on loan from New York City, booked and then hooked in favour of Samir Nasri at the interval. The game finished 2-2, with Jack Wilshere and Alexis Sánchez on scoresheet for Arsenal and Sergio Agüero and Martín Demichelis coming up with the goods for City. In total the pair played against each other 10 times during their playing careers, with Arteta winning three, Lampard two and the other five matches being drawn.
Team news news: Granit Xhaka misses out through a mysterious illness, 48 hours on from his agent saying that the midfielder was dead keen on a move to Hertha Berlin. A €25m deal has been mooted by the Bundesliga club. Arteta makes two changes from the draw at Bournemouth on Boxing Day, with Guendouzi starting alongside Torreira in midfeild, while Calum Chambers is preferred to Sokratis. The 18-year-old forward Tyreece John-Jules is on the Arsenal bench. Meanwhile Lampard drops Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jorginho to the bench, with Kovacic and Mount recalled to action. The 19-year-old defender Tariq Lamptey makes the bench.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Leno; Maitland-Niles, Chambers, David Luiz, Saka; Torreira, Guendouzi; Nelson, Özil, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Subs: Martínez, Mustafi, Sokratis, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Pépé, John-Jules
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Arrizabalaga; Rüdiger, Zouma, Tomori, Azpilicueta; Kanté, Kovacic; Emerson, Willian, Mount; Abraham
Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Batshuayi, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Lamptey, Jorginho
Referee: Craig Pawson
Mikel Arteta touched on the importance of getting the Arsenal fans back onside after yielding a point from his first game in charge and there is no better occasion to rejuvenate and re-energise an alarming swell of apathetic supporters than with victory over Chelsea. An encouraging performance at Bournemouth on Boxing Day provided an immediate boost but Arteta and Arsenal require sufficiently more. They are 13th in the table and on a miserable run of one win in 14 matches; they can ill afford for things to further sour as they hover six points above the relegation zone. It does not bear thinking about but defeat for Arsenal would spell a fourth successive home loss for the first time in 60 years and extend their winless run at the Emirates Stadium to seven matches. “I don’t look at the games [coming up] against Chelsea or [Manchester] United – it’s now. At the moment the urgency is now.”
Frank Lampard also has much work to do. After a blistering start to life back at Stamford Bridge – Chelsea won seven games on the bounce between September and October – they have lost five of their last seven league matches, including scarring home defeats to Southampton, Bournemouth and West Ham. Another slip could prove damaging for a Chelsea side already clinging on to fourth place, with a cluster of teams from Manchester United to Sheffield United ready to usurp them in the table. Mateo Kovacic is expected to return to the starting lineup following suspension, while Christian Pulisic is also poised to return. “We’ve got to be brutal with ourselves and say ‘it’s all well and good beating Tottenham [2-0 last Sunday] and feeling on top of the world but we need to reproduce in different ways and against different opposition’.”
Kick-off: 2pm (GMT)