Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea  (Sky Sports)

Super Sub Sylvain Gives Chelsea The Blues

Sylvain Wiltord


Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea
Campbell 49
Wiltord 70 
  Lampard 31 
FA Barclaycard Premiership

Sylvain Wiltord scored within four minutes of coming off the bench to add to Arsenal's Christmas cheer, as Chelsea's poor run at Highbury continued with a 2-1 defeat.

The Frenchman, whose two-goal showing as a replacement ended the Blues' FA Cup run back in February, bobbled a half-hit volley past Carlo Cudicini to give the Gunners a 70th-minute lead which they never looked like surrendering.

Earlier Sol Campbell's first goal for Arsenal had sparked his side into life after Frank Lampard's first-half opener had threatened to punish their collectively insipid performance out of keeping with their dazzling show at Liverpool on Sunday.

At the break, Blues boss Claudio Ranieri would have been delighted by the discipline of his team, who looked as though they were relishing a settled system in which to operate.

John Terry and William Gallas stifled the pace of Thierry Henry and the awkward guile of Kanu with impressive ease, and they were well worth the lead given them by Lampard's low drive from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's lay-off on the half-hour mark.

But Arsenal emerged for the second half with a purpose which suggested they were not about to throw away their latest build-up of momentum in a stop-start campaign, given them by the heroic victory at Anfield.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's introduction for a jaded Ray Parlour was the game's turning point, as his subtle passing ability and intelligent covering runs underpinned the revival.

But their route back into the game was a simple one, as Campbell thundered into the visitors' six-yard box to meet Robert Pires' in-swinging corner four minutes after the interval.

If they needed any further motivation after the former Spurs skipper's gleefully-celebrated leveler, Graeme Le Saux provided it with an ugly challenge on the grounded Patrick Vieira, causing a scuffle which threatened to see the gloves come off on Boxing Day.

Henry played the role of human straightjacket on his French team-mate, Le Saux somehow escaped with a booking, and Arsenal acquired a sharper edge in the challenge as the noise levels rose.

Hence Wiltord rolled his sleeves up to strike his fourth league goal of the season, while at the other end Campbell and Martin Keown defended the lead immaculately.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal have recovered well from their defeat at the hands of Newcastle and are again looking like potential Premiership champions, but given the nature of this season's race for the prize, there could well be a few false starts yet.

Man of the Match: Sol Campbell (Arsenal) - looking every bit the player he was at White Hart Lane.

Arsenal: Taylor, Lauren, Keown, Campbell, Cole, Ljungberg (Wiltord 67), Parlour (van Bronckhorst 45), Vieira, Pires, Henry, Kanu (Bergkamp 73).
Subs Not Used: Luzhny, Wright.
Booked: Keown, Kanu.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Terry, Gallas, Babayaro, Petit, Stanic (Dalla Bona 73), Lampard, Le Saux (Zola 82), Gudjohnsen (Forssell 82), Hasselbaink.
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Jokanovic.
Booked: Stanic, Cudicini, Le Saux, Babayaro.

Att: 38,079
Ref: G Barber (Tring)

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