Jack Wilshere, Ainsley Maitland-Niles star in thrilling draw with Chelsea
An incredible second half with both sides sharing two goals each saw Arsenal snatch a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea. Jack Wilshere had put the Gunners ahead with a smashing effort, before another contentious penalty decision allowed Eden Hazard to equalise from the spot.
It looked as if Marco Alonso's 84th-minute strike would steal the points for Antonio Conte's men, but Hector Bellerin's fine finish grabbed an equaliser that Arsenal deserved for their attacking play -- if not their defending which was suspect all night.
So much so that Alvaro Morata and Davide Zappacosta both almost won it at the end, Petr Cech stopping Morata and Zappacosta's follow up rebounding off the crossbar, as in the end the spoils were shared.
There was a lot to like about Arsenal's attacking play, with Mesut Ozil imperious in midfield, Ainsley Maitland-Niles impressing again, and some of the combination play up top superb. Cech deserves plaudits too for a very good display, as does Thibaut Courtois his opposite number, and there was much more flair to the Gunners attacking play than in recent weeks.
In short, the defending. Arsenal were run ragged, and had Morata not played like a hungover Sunday league striker, things could have been a lot worse. All three central defenders were found wanting at times, but Chelsea exposed the inexperience of Calum Chambers and Rob Holding far too frequently. On another night it could have been much more costly. It's an ongoing issue, and one that Arsene Wenger seems unable to solve.
Manager rating out of 10
6 --Wenger picked the best team he could, all things considered when you look at the injury list, and a draw against the champions is not a bad result.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Petr Cech, 9 -- He might have conceded twice, and still has not stopped a penalty with Arsenal, but the Arsenal keeper made some outstanding saves on the night to keep his team in the game. His experience was vital.
DF Calum Chambers, 5 -- He struggled from early on, and Chelsea had the measure of him. His lack of pace was apparent too, but games like this are ones he needs to learn from.
DF Shkodran Mustafi, 6 -- The best of the three, but caught on his heels for the second Chelsea goal. Played a positive part in the equaliser though.
DF Rob Holding, 6 -- Not quite as exposed as Chambers, but still found it hard at times to cope with the movement and craft of the Chelsea forwards.
DF Hector Bellerin, 7 -- Unlucky to concede the penalty, the contact was not commensurate with the reaction from Hazard, but showed his character and the finish for the equaliser was one any forward would be proud of.
DF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 9 -- Although he was caught out a little for the cross for the second Chelsea strike, he was calm and assured beyond his experience tonight. It would have been hard to know he was playing out of position.
MF Granit Xhaka, 7 -- Second only in touches to Mesut Ozil, but tried the difficult thing a bit too often when a more conservative approach would have helped protect a shaky defence.
MF Jack Wilshere, 8 -- His finish was superb, and considering how frequently he's been asked to play at the moment after being eased back into action, he held up very well physically. He's improving game by game.
MF Mesut Ozil, 8 -- Outstanding in the first half in particular, he ghosted through the Chelsea midfield at will. Tired a little towards the end but Arsenal are so much better with him in the team,
MF Alexis Sanchez, 7 -- So unlucky not to score in the first half when his stinging shot was saved by Courtois and hit both posts. Active and proactive throughout.
FW Alexandre Lacazette, 7 -- He too was unfortunate not to end his recent goalscoring drought, some of his touches in the box were superb and he was denied by brilliant goalkeeping too.
MF, Danny Welbeck, NR -- Another game, another cameo from the bench in which he finds it hard to make an impact. Will surely start in the next two cup games though.
FW Theo Walcott, NR -- Came on with just a couple of minutes to go.
Andrew Mangan is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @arseblog.