Arsenal’s English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe celebrates with a teammate after scoring his team’s opening goal during the English Premier League football match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in London. Photo credit AFP
Arsenal dented Chelsea’s bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four as Emile Smith Rowe punished Jorginho’s blunder to seal a 1-0 win on Wednesday.
Midfielder Jorginho was guilty of a woefully misplaced back-pass that ended with Gunners youngster Smith Rowe slotting home early in the first half at Stamford Bridge.
Thomas Tuchel’s home side were bereft of quality in the final third as they succumbed to only a third defeat in their 26 matches in all competitions.
The Blues remain in fourth place, but their bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish is now on a knife-edge.
They sit six points clear of fifth-placed West Ham, who have a game in hand, and seven ahead of sixth-placed Liverpool, who could be the biggest threat with two games in hand.
Chelsea’s tepid display was hardly ideal preparation for their attempt to win the first trophy of Tuchel’s reign in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Leicester at Wembley.
Beaten for the first time in six league games, Chelsea’s final two top-flight matches against the Foxes and Aston Villa next week now take on extra significance.