Arsenal rescued a point in a thrilling London derby that saw Chelsea and the Gunners play out a 2-2 draw at the Emirates Stadium, courtesy of a storming Héctor Bellerín strike in stoppage time.
The Spanish wing-back was on hand to claw a point with a wonderfully-hit first-time volley in a game that saw Arsenal take the lead through Jack Wilshere, already in the second-half.
Chelsea completed the turnaround, firstly through Eden Hazard’s controversial spot-kick and later through Marcos Alonso from close-range.
But as the clock ticked down, up stepped Bellerín the ensure the spoils were shared in the 92nd minute, as the likes of Alvaro Morata and Davide Zappacosta closed in on the winning goal at the other end in an exciting finish to the contest.
With Mesut Özil fit again, plenty of focus was also placed upon his compatriot, Shkodran Mustafi, to guide the defence in Laurent Koscielny’s absence, with Calum Chambers and Rob Holding lining up either side of him.
Chelsea would target the youthful backline of Arsenal’s and near the opening goal as early as the 14th minute, as Alvaro Morata spun in behind Chambers before stroking the ball wide when one-on-one with Petr Čech.
The Gunners readied their response through Özil’s intricate play with Ainsley Maitland-Niles inside the area, allowing Alexis Sanchez to charge through, fire at goal and strike the inside of both posts from Thibaut Courtois’ handy save.
Chelsea’s Belgian shot-stopper would again be called into action in the 22nd minute when Alexandre Lacazette found the space to turn and strike his shot low, with the effort being met by Courtois’ strong left hand.
A cute backheel from Eden Hazard allowed Cesc Fabregas to take aim with a curler and threaten to break the deadlock on the brink of half-time, but goalless is how the first-half would remain after the Spaniard arced his shot wide.
The second-half returned with chances at either end, as Čech denied Hazard well with his feet before a fortuitous turn from Lacazette in Chelsea’s area saw the Frenchman try his luck with power, enabling Courtois’ save when closing down his angle.
A neat give-and-go between Özil and Lacazette opened up space for the German on the right-hand-side of the area, but the angle would escape the Arsenal playmaker when surrendering with a hopeful pass across the box, as Chelsea cleared their lines.
The Gunners would finally make Chelsea pay in the 61st minute, however, as Holding’s deflected pass into the box was picked up by Jack Wilshere and thundered in at the front-post.
Wilshere’s goal seemed to revive the visitors, who’d be gifted a lifeline when Héctor Bellerín’s tame kick against the under-side of Hazard’s boot saw the Chelsea man go to ground and the referee point to the spot.
Hazard himself claimed responsibility from the 12-yard-mark, bringing Antonio Conte’s men level in the 68th minute.
Matters could’ve worsened for the Gunners when Morata got the better of Mustafi in pursuit of the ball, but the Spaniard’s clinical eye would evade him once more when floating his effort one-on-one high and wide.
The punishment would come, however, as Davide Zappacosta took aim with a low cross to assist the alert Marcos Alonso and put Chelsea ahead with six minutes to go.
From one Spanish full-back to another, the last say fell to Bellerín with an expertly-combed volley, flying past Courtois to level the game at 2-2 in the 92nd minute.
It could easily have been the West London outfit to decide the game in the last exchanges, though, as Morata scuppered yet another chance in front of goal before Zappacosta hit the crossbar in Chelsea’s second wave, with both sides exiting the game with a point apiece.
By Patrick Ribeiro
Player Ratings: Petr Čech (7) – Calum Chambers (4), Shkodran Mustafi (5), Rob Holding (6) – Héctor Bellerín (6), Jack Wilshere (6), Granit Xhaka (5), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (7) – Mesut Özil (8), Alexis Sanchez (7), Alexandre Lacazette (6)
Subs: Danny Welbeck (-), Theo Walcott (-)