Live Commentary: Arsenal vs. Chelsea

Theo Walcott
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live commentary from this afternoon's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.

Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live commentary of the Premier League clash between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.

The fight for Champions League qualification takes centre stage in London today, wih Arsenal looking to cement themselves in third place while the Blues are attempting to move into the top four for the first time in two months.

Chelsea will be full of confidence following their midweek win over Barcelona but with the second-leg tie coming up on Tuesday, Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo has made eight changes to the side that gave them a 1-0 advantage heading to the Nou Camp.

The hosts prevailed 5-3 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season with captain Robin van Persie netting a hat-trick, and the Dutchman leads the Arsenal line again this afternoon.

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FULL-TIME Thanks for joining Sports Mole this afternoon. You can read our full report on the match here.

FULL-TIME So it ends goalless here at the Emirates and Arsenal might consider themselves a little unlucky. They hit the woodwork twice and on another day, Robin van Persie could have had two or three. That being said, Chelsea's recent performances have been reminiscent of the Mourinho style -resilient and organised at the back. The result will please the pair's top-four rivals Spurs and Newcastle as the race for Champions League qualification hots up. On a side note, if Chelsea earn the same result on Tuesday they'll be in the Champions League final...

FULL-TIME Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea

90 min: Neither side can create anything in the dying stages, but Chelsea have a corner. This could be the final action of the match...

89 min: Both teams are now on the search for a winner as we enter added time, which will last four minutes. Is that long enough for either side to snatch the points?

87 min: Brilliant tackle by Koscielny as he flies through the air to pinch the ball from Sturridge as the forward looked poised to strike on goal. If he gets that wrong, it is a penalty all day.

85 min: It's another chance squandered by Van Persie, who now hasn't scored from open play in nearly 700 Premier League minutes. Gervinho breaks with the ball and plays him in, this time onto his favoured left foot. Surprisingly though he decides to cut inside, then has second thoughts and by the time he finally strikes on goal, Chelsea defenders are back to block the shot.

82 min: Chelsea's defence has been superb all week but on this occasion, Terry commits to an interception to allow Van Persie in on goal. It's on his right side though and his effort flashes into the side netting.

81 min: Cole comes onto the pitch and straight into the referee's book for a petulant kick on Abou Diaby.

79 min: The Emirates crowd is noisy again moments later, but for an entirely different reason as they call for a penalty. There's a coming together between Cahill and Van Persie in the box, but there is no appeal from the Dutchman, which is usually a telling sign.

77 min: Di Matteo is forced into making his final change, as Bertrand has to leave the field injured. The young left-back has had a good game and is replaced by Ashley Cole, who unsurprisingly enters the field to a loud chorus of boos.

76 min: Abou Diaby is cautioned as the yellow card count mounts.

75 min: Remember that screamer that Michael Essien scored against Arsenal a few years back? Well he's just tried it again, only this time the ball didn't leave the ground. The shot is blocked and the ball somehow finds it's way through to the newly-introduced Mata, who slots past Szczesny only to be flagged offside.

73 min: Juan Mata is going to get 20 minutes here to try to inspire Chelsea to what would be a great win. The Spaniard is on in place of Salomon Kalou.

70 min: Arsene Wenger makes his final change, bringing on Andre Santos in place of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who might feel he could have done a bit more to impress watching England interim manager Stuart Pearce.

68 min: Daniel Sturridge has had a couple of decent chances in quick succession. He's twice found space cutting in from the right but both his left-footed efforts were straight at Wojciech Sczcesny.

67 min: We've seen Van Persie score some crackers this season but this would have undoubtedly topped them all. Aaron Ramsey's ball over the top travels about 35 yards in the air and the striker attempts a first-time volley over his shoulder from the edge of the box, which goes high and wide. A tad ambitious even for him.

65 min: Wenger makes his second change as Abou Diaby replaces Tomas Rosicky in midfield. Chelsea are also preparing a change, with John Obi Mikel coming on for Oriol Romeu.

64 min: Well over the crossbar from the PFA Player of the Year nominee. Hasn't been his day as yet.

63 min: Arsenal free kick around 30 yards out and Van Persie is lining it up...

60 min:...But not for long. He pulls up again and this time Wenger isn't wasting any time in pulling the England winger from play. Gervinho is on in his place.

57 min: Walcott is back on the pitch...

55 min: A worry for Arsenal as Theo Walcott pulls up with a hamstring injury. He's off the field for now, but is eager to rejoin the action. Arsene Wenger has Gervinho warming up as a precautionary measure.

54 min: Gary Cahill becomes the second Chelsea player to enter the referee's book as he is cautioned for a foul on Oxlade-Chamberlain.

53 min: Great challenge by Vermaelen as he nips in to deny Daniel Sturridge a chance on goal after the forward has been found by a Fernando Torres through pass.

50 min: Torres is looking a livelier character at the start of this second period. The former Liverpool man makes an enthusiastic run to collect a throw-in from Bertrand and then cleverly turns Koscielny in the box, but the Frenchman recovers in time to slide in at the expense of a corner.

48 min: Florent Malouda is shown a yellow card for a foul on Robin Van Persie but the Dutchman immediately follows him into the book for a clumsy challenge on Michael Essien.

46 min: And the action has resumed here at the Emirates...

HALF-TIME Click here for Sports Mole's half-time report on the match.

HALF-TIME The game started slowly, but since the opening 15 minutes it has been a similar story to Wednesday night. Arsenal have had the majority of the chances, hitting the woodwork twice. They have forced Chelsea to play on the counter attack, but the Blues currently lack a real attacking threat in the absence of Mata and Drogba. Goalless at the break, which is a scoreline that will probably please watching eyes across North London and on Tyneside.

HALF-TIME

45 min: This game is starting to open up as Arsenal produce some lovely one-touch football to set up the chance of a counter attack. Oxlade-Chamberlain leads it, but while attempting to cut inside, he is dispossessed by Bosingwa.

43 min: Chances galore now as we approach half time in North London. Arsenal attack in numbers and the Blues defence leave Van Persie unmarked in the area. That's usually the recipe for a goal but the Dutchman's powerful strike was straight at Petr Cech.

42 min: A headed chance at the other end as John Terry, again unmarked from a corner, heads off target from a good position.

41 min: Arsenal hit the crossbar! The hosts strike the woodwork for the second time this afternoon as Koscielny's header comes back off the crossbar. Van Persie chips a free kick into the box and with little pace on the delivery, Koscielny does well to power a header goalwards. Cech was beaten but was saved by the frame of his goal again.

38 min: Chelsea call for a penalty when Ryan Bertrand is brought down as he tries to beat Sagna to the ball, but nothing is given. Looked outside the box in any case.

36 min: The home fans are trying to get behind the Gunners, who haven't really threatened since Van Persie hit the post.

32 min: Malouda whips a ball into the box but it is just too high for the rising Torres.

29 min: Both men come back onto the field, unscathed it seems, and their arrival coincides with Rosicky picking up the first booking of the match.

28 min: Bacary Sagna and Florent Malouda are receiving treatment on the sidelines after a clash of heads. The Arsenal man appears to be fine but the latter is still on the ground and seems to be struggling.

24 min: A couple more half chances for the visitors as Gary Cahill miscues a free header from a corner and when the ball isn't cleared properly, Torres has a snap shot on goal but his effort can't get through the crowded penalty area.

22 min: Chelsea counter through Daniel Sturridge, who deliberates too long on the ball and allow the Arsenal defence time to recover. The Englishman is supported by a second wave of Blues attackers though and when he releases Florent Malouda down the left, Torres is waiting at the back post for a simple tap in, but Malouda's cross is blocked well by Koscielny.

18 min: Another echo of Wednesday night as Chelsea experience a moment of deja vu. Van Persie is through over the top and with Cech racing out, the Dutchman lobs the keeper only for the ball to rebound off the bar, Alexis Sanchez-esque. It turns out the Gunners skipper was offside, so it wouldn't have counted regardless.

15 min: Looking at that Van Persie opportunity again, he probably should have gone with his right foot. Saying that, you'd have still backed his trusty left boot, even from the difficult angle.

13 min: Arsenal hit the post! From the resulting free kick, Theo Walcott floats a great ball towards the back post and with Van Persie meeting the cross it looks destined to be 1-0. However, the Dutchman is unusually wasteful from six yards as his effort rebounds off the woodwork. What a chance.

12 min: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shows why he is so highly-rated among the Arsenal faithful by dribbling past two men before drawing a foul out of Michael Essien.

10 min: This much-changed Chelsea lineup is settling now and they nearly create another opening courtesy of Ryan Bertrand's cross, but Torres completely misses his prod on goal. Not that in mattered as the Spaniard was offside anyway.

6 min: Chance at the other end as Chelsea dispossess Arsenal in their own half, not for the first time in the early exchanges, and Kalou is through. The Ivorian can't get the ball out of his feet though and Bacary Sagna is able to recover and tackle the striker before he can shoot on goal.

5 min: The first effort on goal of the afternoon comes from Arsenal and Tomas Rosicky. The Czech midfielder picked the ball up on halfway and ran unchallenged, but his shot was saved comfortably by Petr Cech.

3 min: The start of this match has a striking resemblance to the opening minutes at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Arsenal have had all the ball and you feel this could act as a warm-up of sorts for the Blues ahead of their trip to the Nou Camp.

1 min: We're underway here at the Emirates...

Roberto Di Matteo
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