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Bellerin scores in 92nd min to seal draw


Bellerin scores in 92nd min to seal draw

Hector Bellerin's stunning injury-time strike earned Arsenal a point against Chelsea in one of the most entertaining matches of the Premier League season so far. The two sides shared an incredible 33 chances, with the heroic keeping of Gunners' Petr Cech and Blues' Thibaut Courtois ensuring only four goals were conceded.

Hector Bellerin's added-time goal rescued a point for Arsenal as the Gunners came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday (Jan 3). After a drama-packed first half, it was the hosts who carved out the opener just after the hour mark when Jack Wilshere netted his first Premier League goal since May 2015 with his close-range finish from a tight angle.

But just four minutes later, Chelsea were handed a penalty for Bellerin's foul on Eden Hazard in the box, which the Belgian dispatched to restore parity. The game, which comes before the two teams face each other in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup this month, looked set to end in a 1-1 draw but Alonso scored in the 84th minute -- which the Chelsea fans thought was the winner.

But Bellerin struck in fine fashion in the 92nd minute to end the derby 2-2, which keeps Arsenal in sixth place while Chelsea remain behind second-placed Manchester United in third.

While Antonio Conte's starting line-up at the Emirates Stadium came as no real surprise -- with the Italian recalling Hazard to his team after resting the Belgian winger in the 5-0 win over Stoke at the weekend -- it was Ozil's inclusion which proved instrumental early on.

The German missed Arsenal's 1-1 draw away to West Brom on New Year's Eve with a minor knee injury but, after recovering from the issue and starting against Chelsea, he found Alexandre Lacazette with a pass that forced N'Golo Kante to foul the striker. Alexis Sanchez's resulting free kick took a deflection and flew wide, but it was a sign of things to come from the hosts as Arsenal tested Chelsea's defence several times in the first half.

As Wenger was left remonstrating with the fourth official after referee Anthony Taylor opted not to award the home side a penalty when Ainsley Maitland-Niles went down in the area, Thibaut Courtois parried Sanchez's fierce drive onto his near post before the ball rolled off the other post and back into the arms of the Belgian.

Courtois was left punching the air at his last-ditch heroics and the goalkeeper -- whose future at Chelsea looks set to be resolved soon -- proved his worth again not long afterwards when he superbly kept out Lacazette's effort in the 23rd minute.

Chelsea's 3-5-2 formation seemed to be doing its job in keeping a dangerous Arsenal side at bay but, down the other end of the pitch, when the opportunity to score presented itself to top scorer Alvaro Morata, he went on to squander it.

The striker, who was defended by Conte after he missed a handful of chances to score against Stoke, found himself one-on-one with Petr Cech but somehow contrived to drive his resulting low shot wide despite having the time and space to pick out his shot.

That, to go with Tiemoue Bakayoko's effort that Cech claimed plus Cesc Fabregas' effort that flew high, proved to be the best chances for Chelsea in the first period while Arsenal could have opened the scoring when Ozil's drive went over the bar.

With the score goalless at the break, however, it was Chelsea who emerged the more intent on trying to get the all-important first goal of the derby and nearly did when Cech kept out Hazard's effort before he pushed away Alonso's header.

Courtois then matched Cech for impressive saves when he denied Lacazette, but he could do little when Wilshere found Ozil before he ran into space, latched back onto the ball and drove a shot from a tight angle into the roof of the net in the 63rd minute.

Interestingly, it was Davide Zappacosta, who had only just come on, who had let Wilshere get past him all too easily yet despite Arsenal feeling like they were in the ascendancy, Chelsea equalised through a debatable penalty just four minutes later. 

Bellerin appeared to get a slight touch on Hazard's foot in the area, which Taylor adjudged to have been enough to award a spot kick although it left the home fans bemused at the decision. Hazard, though, made no mistake from the spot before Morata had a great chance to snatch a winner but again drove wide.

As some Arsenal fans headed for the exits thinking the match was going to end 1-1, substitute Willian found Zappacosta with a cross-field pass, which the Italian sent into the box. Alonso fired in from close range to send the travelling fans into wild celebrations in the away end but Bellerin's added-time goal rescued a point for Arsenal in a thrilling London derby.

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