London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea have celebrated quarter-final victories to move within two matches of a possible Europa League derby final.
On Sunday, Arsenal scored their ninth win of the Premier League season in a cracking north London derby at the Emirates Stadium..
The 4-2 victory brought Tottenham Hotspur well and truly back to earth after their domination of the Blues last weekend and moved the home side into fourth position on the EPL table.
Arsenal were in search of a win to extend their unbeaten run to 12 matches. Aside from the losses to Manchester City and Chelsea in the opening fortnight of the new season back in August, the Gunners have been as good as any of the teams still harbouring hopes of hunting down league leaders City.
It was a contest to remember, full of the passion and tension expected in a derby, with sheer artistry and skill on show. Arsenal started and finished the better team, yet fell behind after 34 minutes when a dubious penalty decision saw Harry Kane convert from the spot. It added to Eric Dier’s goal just four minutes prior and gave the Gunners a questionable lead.
Earlier, Arsenal had opened the scoring through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and should potentially have lead by more after missing several excellent chances to add a second goal.
Spurs defended bravely and somehow took the slender advantage into the sheds.
Alexandre Lacazette was introduced after the break and had the Gunners level after 74 minutes. Unai Emery and the home fans called for one final lift and the players responded. Lucas Torreira scored just three minutes later, mayhem ensued at the Emirates and the match was signed, sealed and delivered for the home team.
It was a memorable match and one of the best in season 2018-19 to this point.
Elsewhere, Matchday 14 threw up a host of interesting results that had significant ramifications for those clubs jockeying for position in the middle and lower parts of the table.
Cardiff grabbed a vital three points against a disappointing Wolves and moved out of the relegation zone for the time being. Crystal Palace did the same with a goal on either side of the break against Burnley.
Meanwhile, West Ham finally look to be developing some combinations up front after significant off-season recruitment, ending the recent run of Newcastle with a 3-0 pasting and Brighton continued their promising season beating Huddersfield on the road and will now look to surge into the top half of the table.
Manchester City showed little sign of slowing down with another comfortable win, this time against Bournemouth, while Leicester won its sixth match of the season at home to Watford. More drama followed at Manchester United as the Red Devils could only manage a two-all result at Southampton, with all the scoring done in the first half.
Sunday’s other two matches saw Chelsea comfortably account for Fulham and Liverpool leave things until the final seconds before securing a 1-0 win over Everton with an injury-time winner from Divock Origi.
However, this week may be remembered for the transformed Gunners. The post-Wenger era is starting to look quite positive.
Chasing and running down City may well be a bridge too far, yet Arsenal look confident, in-form and are undefeated in Premier League play since the 18th of August.
It’s an impressive run and the question now becomes a matter of just how long it lasts and the potential ceiling of this team. Right now, I wouldn’t be tipping against them.
Arsenal will again feature in the match containing the most interest on Matchday 15 when they travel to Old Trafford to face the inconsistent Manchester United.