On a Super Sunday dominated by Arsene Wenger’s last ever home game in charge of Arsenal, Chelsea managed to keep their chances of a top-four finish alive with a 1-0 win over Liverpool. Olivier Giroud scored the only goal of the match as his former boss bid farewell to the Emirates with a 5-0 battering of Burnley.
Hitting the Reds on the Break
From the early exchanges, it seemed as though Liverpool would be controlling the tempo and that’s exactly how it panned out. The visitors seemed dangerous going forward but susceptible to the counter-attack. It was Jurgen Klopp’s men who enjoyed the better chances in the first-half as Sadio Mane tested Thibaut Courtois from outside the box before the Belgian stopper got the lightest touch to divert the ball away from Virgil van Dijk’s head.
It was Mane who was knocking on the door again but he was prevented from breaking the deadlock by two smart saves from Courtois. Then, completely against the run of play, Giroud climbed highest from a Victor Moses cross and nodded the ball into the far corner of Loris Karius’ net.
This gave the Blues a cushion to build upon heading into the half-time break and a brilliant chance for them to aim for the top four.
A Professional Performance to Secure the Points
The opening goal seemed to calm the nerves of Antonio Conte’s players and they began to get a grip of the game after the restart. Eden Hazard, in particular, picked up the pace and started to orchestrate attacks, one of which won a corner that ended up in the back of the Liverpool net. Unfortunately, Antonio Rudiger was miles offside when he headed Giroud’s flick-on past Karius.
The Reds’ dynamic trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were failing to light up the game as some neat exchanges in the final third were as much as they could manage against a resolute Chelsea backline. It was the hosts who came closest to the second goal. Moses marauded down the right-wing and whipped a perfect ball towards the back post where Marcos Alonso was waiting. The left-back stepped backwards and rifled a sumptuous volley an inch or two wide of the far post. The technique was sublime and had it gone in, it would’ve been a genuine Goal of the Season contender.
The final chance fell to former Blue, Dom Solanke whose header flew over after he’d beat Rudiger in the air. The former Roma defender, who had played brilliantly all afternoon, had done enough to put him off. The final whistle sounded, meaning there’s still hope in Chelsea’s push for the top four. Next up for them is Huddersfield at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night where a win would make the final day very eventful.