Robin van Persie's hat-trick helped Arsenal secure an astonishing 5-3 victory at Chelsea on Saturday as the Gunners surged back into the race for a top-four spot.
Arsenal's Robin van Persie kicks the ball into an open net after
rounding Chelsea's goalkeeper Petr Cech during an EPL match at
Stamford Bridge in London on Saturday. PIC/AFP
Van Persie's heroics fired Arsenal to an eighth win in their last nine games in all competitions, with Arsene Wenger's sixth-placed side twice coming from behind after trailing to goals from Frank Lampard and John Terry.
Terry was included in the Chelsea line-up after a difficult week when he found himself at the centre of an FA investigation into allegations of racial abuse directed at QPR defender Anton Ferdinand last weekend.
Andre Santos and Theo Walcott also scored for the Gunners and the manner of their victory will strengthen Wenger's view that his side have moved on from a difficult start, which included a traumatic 8-2 defeat at Manchester United.
For Chelsea, though, a troubled week got worse with a second successive league defeat. Terry was always going to be the focus of attention coming into the game after another troubled week for the Chelsea captain saw him accused of racism. Against such a background, Terry might have allowed himself to be distracted by the off-field saga but his goal on the stroke of half-time confirmed his attention was trained solely on the game.
The same could not be said for a number of other defenders on both sides, however, whose lapses in concentration contributed to a hugely entertaining game. From the moment Ashley Cole eased his way past Arsenal's makeshift right back Johan Djourou to set up a second-minute chance for Fernando Torres, it was clear this would be an open game.
Lampard gave the home side the lead with a 14th-minute header from Mata's cross, immediately after van Persie and Gervinho had spurned glaring opportunities for the visitors. But with chances appearing at either end, it was quickly apparent that that would not be the final goal of the game.
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