Full-time - 90'
3 - 1
20:00 +00:00, December 27, 2010
Emirates Stadium, England
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Thanks for joining us folks, be sure to check out ESPNsoccernet for all the fallout from this game and for all the live updates and action from tomorrow's Premier League matches. I bid you adieu.
If Manchester United win their game in hand on Chelsea, they will be nine points clear - an incredible swing of 14 points from when the Blues were five points clear in October. Arsenal, meanwhile, are now right in the hunt.
FT: Comment from ESPNsoccernet's Jon Carter: Wenger called the game 'must-win' and paid attention to the 'mental hurdle' that Arsenal had to negotiate. Job done, but even he would have been surprised by the lack of fight in Chelsea.
Full-time: ARSENAL 3-1 CHELSEA The Gunners have finally shaken off their Chelsea hoodoo and only Fulham are in worse form than the champions, who have now failed to win in six games, with just two victories in their past nine. Fantastic result and fully justified win for Wenger's men, the decision to start Van Persie and Walcott was a tactical masterstroke.
It's all over! A huge victory for the Gunners.
One last break now for Arsenal - Rosicky hits the post! But he was offside anyway.
Just 30 seconds remaining and there is no doubting the outcome of this game now.
Arsenal just patiently spreading the ball around, although Kakuta does well to chase down Diaby.
Wilshere plays in Chamakh but Cech does enough to divert him away from goal by making himself big.
Cole advanced down the left and he is well out of position as Arsenal break now.
Four minutes of added time to play.
Kalou was offside when he turned it in following some pinball in the box.
The ball is in the net but the flag is up.
Djourou fouls Drogba and it's a Chelsea free-kick.
The boos still going string for Cole.
Rosicky takes Arsenal down the right wing but he gives it away.
Comment from ESPNsoccernet's Jon Carter: Koscielny just bullies Drogba in the air. That's been the story of the night. Drogba has not looked the same kind of player who has destroyed the Gunners in the past. Has he recovered from that bout of malaria fully?
The Arsenal fans reserve a standing ovation for their influential captain.
Rosicky on for Fabregas
Lampard drags a shot wide, the unconvincing attempt summing up his evening nicely.
Arsenal sitting deep now, inviting the Blues to do their worst.
Cesc Fabregas celebrates netting Arsenal's second goal.
The champions desperately searching for some late inspiration, but they look to be heading for their fifth defeat of the season.
Up and over, much to the delight of the Emirates faithful.
But Chelsea now have another free-kick around 30 yards out. Drogba lining it up.
Fabregas goes down under a challenge from Ramires but Clattenburg isn't interested.
Sloppy clearance from Song and Lampard looks to play in Kakuta, who just isn't on his wavelength.
Kakuta fed Ramires but his cross-cum shot ballooned over the bar.
Wilshere slips Diaby in beautifully but rather than swinging a left foot at it he turned onto his right and saw his effort blocked.
Carlo Ancelotti looks perplexed. He may be looking for a new job in the morning...
Terry looks long for Kalou, but the Ivorian is offside.
Koscielny slices an attempted clearance but Sagna tidies up.
Sagna caught in a few minds and Essien comes deep to begin another Chelsea charge. Lampard has been surprisingly ineffective tonight, as he feels his way back into first-team football.
It's been a dogged display from the Dutchman, and he earns a warm handshake from Wenger.
Chamakh on for Van Persie.
Successive deliveries met by Song and the ball falls to Kakuta, who can't engineer a shot of any note.
Essien attempts to drive Chelsea forward and the Blues win a corner as Bosingwa's cross is diverted out by Song.
Walcott has been excellent, a really dangerous weapon through Arsenal throughout. Diaby has been introduced to try to steady the ship a little.
Diaby on for Walcott
Arsenal come forward again now, and Fabregas is blocked off by Ivanovic to win a fre-kick on the left wing.
and once again Terry is up to the challenge as he tackles a turning Van Persie.
Van Persie plays it to Fabregas, who finds Wilshere. The youngster tries to dink the ball around John Terry but the Chelsea skipper stands tall.
That booking for Fabregas means that he will miss Arsenal's next game through suspension.
But it is a weak effort and the Chelsea goalkeeper blocks the attempt.
The ball comes across to Nasri, who tries to flick the ball up over Cech...
It's cleared this time though as Arsenal break at pace with Walcott.
The fans were silenced as Essien intercepted and Fabregas brought him down. Drogba in an identical position to where Chelsea scored from before.
Patient build up from Arsenal with Sagna, Wilshere and Nasri all involved. Lovely football from the Gunners as the chants of "Ole" echo around the Emirates.
As things stand, the Gunners will go two points behind Manchester United in second place, above Manchester City on goal difference.
Wilshere fouled again, and Arsenal have a free-kick inside the centre circle.
Stats: Chelsea were the first side to win four straight league matches against Arsenal since Liverpool managed it from 1996 to 1998.
Diving header by Song and Bosingwa launches an optimistic effort that ends up harmlessly in the stands.
Chelsea corner again, Drogba to deliver.
The corner was safely booted clear and Bosingwa crossed back in only for it to be collected by Fabianski.
Arsenal's defence was cut apart with worrying ease there.
chelsea corner after Drogba's shot was deflected away.
Bosingwa on for Ferreira.
Gunners fans must be nervously hoping that there is no repeat of the Spurs game, when their rivals came back to win 3-2 having been 2-0 down.
They have certainly got plenty of players capable of holding onto the ball.
I say again, wow. What a match. Arsenal just attempting to slow things back down now and keep possession.
Vital interception from Djourou with Essien's through-ball heading straight towards Drogba.
A poor lunging challenge on Song from Lampard.
Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea. Drogba floated in a free-kick and Ivanovic arrived to head home. Could it be game on. It's Arsenal's to throw away!
Unbelieveable stuff, a breathless start to the second half.
Kakuta on for Malouda.
Comment from ESPNsoccernet's Jon Carter: Chelsea look completely done. The last time the club looked this disjointed was in the final throws of Avram Grant's reign. Something needs to change and Carlo Ancelotti will bear the brunt.
Lampard heads over the ball as Ancelotti looks on stoney faced.
That's nine in 16 for Walcott, it was an electric turn of pace.
Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea. Incredible! Malouda caught in possession and Fabregas fed Walcott, who slotted a cool accurate finish underneath Cech.
Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea.Essien's challenge forced the ball into Walcott's path - he was clean through and he passed it inside to a free Fabregas, with Cech bearing down, and Arsenal's captain slotted it into an empty net
Fabregas makes some room down the left, but Drogba is back on the edge of his own box to hook it away.
Cech punches it out of the area but Arsenal are continuing to press.
Another corner for the Gunners now, Nasri to deliver.
Ramires with a heavy tackle on Wilshere, but no card is forthcoming.
Alex Song celebrates giving Arsenal a first-half lead.
Ramires releases Ferreira down the right - that's more attacking intent than he showed in the entire first half.
Van Persie whips it in and Cech fumbles but eventually keeps it in his hands.
Arsenal have an early corner after Walcott's cross is deflected out.
I can wholeheartedly understand Ancelotti's withdrawal of Mikel, he ha sbeen pretty ineffective at protecting the back four.
Right, we're off for the second period...
Ramires on for Mikel.
HT: Half-time sub for Chelsea, Ramires is coming on for Mikel.
HT: On our Facebook wall, there was one score prediciton of 5-0 to Chelsea. Reckon that was just a tad optimistic from Deni Permana. Yes, you have been named and shamed!
HT: I'm not sure what the answer will be for Chelsea but I'd say that keeping the ball on the ground would be a good start. Ashley Cole and Paulo Ferreira have rarely been out of their own half, while Essien and Lampard have been anonymous.
HT: Comment from ESPNsoccernet's Jon Carter: Arsenal have been the more attacking side and have, so far, managed to keep Didier Drogba quiet at the other end of the pitch. Relief is the over-riding feeling for most Arsenal fans.
HT: The football is just incessant at the moment folks and tomorrow (Tuesday) sees another round of Premier League games. Check out the latest team news here.
Half-time: ARSENAL 1-0 CHELSEA. The Gunners have shown more attacking intent and have been rewarded for their verve and gusto going forward, which has been stark contrast to Chelsea's frequent long balls. Drogba has been feeding on scraps.
Lampard delivers and there's cries of a handball in the box somewhere, but Clattenburg blows up for half-time.
Koscielny heads it out for a corner.
Chelsea with time for a free-kick just before the interval.
A deserved lead for the Gunners on the balance of things.
Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea. Song began the move, exchanged with Wilshere on the edge of the box before stealing the ball off Fabregas' foot and sliding it home with his left foot from ten yards out.
Essien penalised for a challenge on Fabregas in midfield.
Mikel looks long but again Chelsea just giving the ball back to the grateful Gunners, who have dominated possession.
Stats: Arsenal have not conceded a goal in the opening 25 minutes of a match this season.
Superb from the Chelsea goalkeeper and he rises to collect the subsequent corner oo.
Nasri's delicious chip from the edge of the box was turned over the bar as it looked to be dipping in.
Fabulous save from Cech!
Now Arsenal come back with Nasri and Sagna is in space.
Chelsea are beaking at pace now though. Terrible ball from Essien.
Walcott bursts into life again, getting beyond Terry on the byline but not quite picking anyone out. Arsenal corner.
Clichy cleared the ball in mid-air and Kalou's high challenge left him on the deck.
Walcott turns on the burners to get into the area, but his powerful cross is headed away by Terry.
Chelsea seem to be looking long wherever possible at the moment - it seems like a strange tactic when they've got so many excellent ball-players in their team.
Ancelotti sporting some fetching bright blue gloves and barking instructions from the touchline.
Wilshere picks Drogba's pocket in midfield and the striker brings him down.
Fantastic interplay from Arsenal, Fabregas plays it to Van Persie, who plays a one-two with Nasri on the edge of the box before blasting his shot high over the bar.
There was a lovely pirouette by Fabregas in that last Arsenal build-up - great skill from the Gunners captain.
He launched into a tackle on Mikel, leaving the Nigerian in clear discomfort.
The ball comes towards Van Persie who can't quite get the ball under control.
Nasri and Song keeping possession as Arsenal probe.
But Koscielny produces a great tackle.
Mikel looks long for Kalou who nods it down to Drogba in space 20 yards out...
stats: Arsenal's record in their last 11 games in all competitions against Manchester United and Chelsea is one draw and 10 defeats, with five goals scored and 23 conceded.
Cech looks long for Drogba for the third time in the past five minutes but the hoof upfield just gives Arsenal the ball back once more.
The noise levels really rising at the Emirates.
Fabregas' delivery is held by Cech.
Van Persie's free-kick is cleared but it's another for the Gunners from the left this time.
Sagna found Walcott, who drew the foul in the corner.
Fabregas loks for Van Persie but Terry is well positioned and intercepts.
The boos ring out for Cole but the cheers begin as he gives it away.
Clichy does really well to dispossess Mikel but the Gunners can't capitalise.
Stats: Chelsea's return of six points from their last seven games is the club's worst run since 1998, when they finished fourth.
Walcott sprints away but he takes a clumsy touch as he advances into the area and Terry can tidy up.
Arsenal just a little too intricate on the edge of the Chelsea box and the visitors break down the move.
Malouda ruled offside as he is released in acres of space down the left.
Walcott falls down with Ivanovic close to him, but the referee's whistle signals an offisde decision rather than a foul.
Clichy is definitely the weak link for Arsenal at the moment.
Koscielny rises highest to head it away and Ivanovic is ofside when lampard attempts to loft the ball back in.
Malouda brought down by Clichy and Chelsea have a free-kick down the left wing.
Nasri smashes one but Cech holds onto the ball.
Arsenal free-kick now from 30 yards out.
Van Persie peels off to the right where he is picked out by Fabregas. He tumbles under the challenge of Malouda on the edge of the area but Clattenburg says no again. Just a tangle of legs.
Lampard escapes the clutches pf Song with one of his textbook ghosting runs, but Djourou stands is ground and blocks the Chelsea midfielder's advances.
Cole with a clattering challenge on Walcott. It's fair but the subsequent challenge on Malouda by Song isn't.
Clattenburg shakes his head. No penalty.
It sails all the way through and Djourou goes to ground under a challenge from Terry...
Malouda penalised for pulling down Sagna and Van Persie looks set to whip in a cross from the right.
The corner is cleared and a free-kick is given against Mikel.
Malouda crosses towards Drogba but Djourou heads it out for a corner with the Ivorian in close attendance.
Song feeds Van Persie and the ball breaks to Clichy on the left. The left-back cuts inside and scuffs a right-footed shot wide.
Stats: Chelsea have scored 11 goals in their last four league games against the Gunners, conceding only once. It is 290 minutes (four hours and 50 minutes) since Nicklas Bendtner scored Arsenal's last goal in the league against the Blues.
Terry loses possession in midfield and cynically fouls Van Persie. It's an Arsenal free-kick as referee Clattenburg warns Terry not to do it again.
It's been real end-to-end stuff so far, the game has had a fantastic pace to it.
Arsenal again looking for Van Persie over the top - does Wenger believe that playing the long ball may be the key to unlocking Chelsea?!
Malouda searches for Drogba with the cross from the right, but it's harmlessly into Fabianski's hands.
Van Persie heads it away.
Malouda comes to the right and tiptoes into some space to win a Chelsea corner.
Chelsea back down the other end now as Kalou looks to take on Clichy.
Another lovely tuen from Nasri who exchanges with Fabregas to release Sagna. Fizzing cross from the Arsenal right-back but it's cleared away.
Great pace from nNsri to leave Ferreira in his wake down the left wing, but his cross is collected by Cech.
Drogba tries his luck after breaking against Koscielny but his effort is dragged wide from 18 yards out.
Chelsea now surge towards the Arsenal goal in numbers but the Gunners hold their defensive position and the ball is given away by Terry.
Lovely ball from Song over the top to Van Persie, but the striker missed his kick completely after getting round the back of Ivanovic.
Kalou and Essien combine well down the right after Fabregas was caught in posession. poor cross from Kalou though, with Lampard Drogba and Malouda waiting.
Comment from ESPNsoccernet's Jon Carter: This is Arsenal's biggest game of the season. If they can overcome their Drogba problem, then they will make a real statement about how far they can go in the title race.
Fabregas turns and plays a through ball to Van Persie, but the Dutchman is ruled offside.
Fantastic atmosphere at the Emirates, it's sounding noisy in north London.
Song and Wilshere combine but Lampard is back in to intercept.
Sagna's cross headed clear by Ferreira.
The Gunners play it short and it's switched to the right where Walcott looks to take on Cole.
Kalou takes down Koscielny and Arsenal have a free-kick down the left.
A lovely exchange between Lampad, Malouda and Drogba early on led to that foul.
Arsenal get us started and there's an early foul n Didier Drogba.
And we're off...
The players are out now on what is a chilly night at the Emirates, and we're closing in on kick-off.
Just so no-one begins spreading rumours about Nicolas Anelka, the reason he has been left out is because of a knee injury.
The players are in the tunnel now, with Cesc Fabregas and John Terry preparing to lead their sides out.
I'm never really one to stick my neck on the line and today is no different so I'm going to predict a draw. It is definitely the best chance the Gunners' have had to beat Chelsea in the past few years, the Blue have incredibly not won a Premier League match since October.
The head-to-head record between the sides in the Premier League era has Arsenal on 16 wins and Chelsea on ten, with 11 draws.
Predictions are flowing in on Facebook - you can find ESPNsoccernet's page HERE
A victory for the Gunners would see them leapfrog Manchester City back into second place, while a Chelsea win would ensure Carlo Ancelott's side climb above the Gunners into third place.
Just over 15 minutes until kick-off and the anticipation is mounting. I don't think that defeat for either side will mean the end of their season, but it's as close to must-win as it could be at this stage of the campaign.
The worst news for Arsenal is obviously that Didier Drogba starts. His goal record against the Gunners is frightening - 13 goals in 13 games.
Cesc Fabregas and Frank Lampard are both back and the return of the latter, in particular, should give the Blues a massive boost - Lamps has not started since August!
Hello all, I'm Mark Lomas and I shall be taking you through minute-by-minute coverage of this London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea. Is anyone feeling as excited as me about this one?!
Chelsea: Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Essien, Mikel, Lampard, Kalou, Drogba, Malouda.
Subs: Turnbull, Ramires, Bosingwa, Van Aanholt, Bruma, Kakuta, McEachran.
Arsenal: Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Wilshere, Walcott, van Persie, Nasri.
Subs: Szczesny, Diaby, Rosicky, Squillaci, Arshavin, Chamakh, Bendtner.
Team news is in fom Emirates Stadium and there is no place for Andrei Arshavin or Marouane Chamakh in Arsenal's starting line-up, while Nicolas Anelka is omitted from the Chelsea squad. No explanation about that last one just yet.
Arsene Wenger is certainly worried about Drogba. 13 goals in 13 games against the Gunners is good reason.
Didier Drogba is the dangerman.
Join us at 2000 GMT to see if Chelsea can continue their fine form against title rivals Arsenal.
Robin Van Persie
John Mikel Obi
Patrick Van Aanholt