Football

Kieran Tierney hopeful victory over Chelsea a turning point for Arsenal

Arsenal shocked their London rivals Chelsea with a huge victory in their Boxing Day battle

Kieran Tierney is hopeful Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Chelsea can be a springboard to climbing the table.

The Gunners came into the game on the back of a winless run in the league dating back to the start of November.

Coach Mikel Arteta was forced into a reshuffle due to illness and a coronavirus scare , and the changes paid off for the Spanish coach as his side looked far more hungry than Chelsea.

Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty following a foul by Reece James on Tierney set them on their way on 34 minutes.

A brilliant free kick from Granit Xhaka on the stroke of half-time doubled the advantage, and Bukayo Saka’s cross-cum-shot over Edouard Mendy secured the three points despite Tammy Abraham netting a late goal for Chelsea.

The win does little for Arsenal’s position in the table, as they only moved up one place to 14th, but it puts further points between themselves and the relegation spots.

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Tierney is hopeful the first win in eight league games can help lift the gloom around the club.

“It is a start,” Tierney told Sky Sports . “We needed that today.

“We needed to give the fans something to be positive about. We have had a few bad results this season so it is a start.

“We started better. We did not wait until we went 1-0 down to start playing and creating chances.

“We started on the front foot. That has been the message the last few weeks in training.

“It is a start and something to build on. We wanted to get that win, to get three points and slowly but surely climb up that table.

“Chelsea are a good team, they are higher up the table than us, so to come out with three points is important.”

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Youngsters Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli and Saka were handed starts and did not let their manager down.

Tierney felt the trio performed well and were fully deserving of their places in the side.

“All the youngsters here are hungry to play,” the Scotland defender said. “They have got the platform to play. They came in and were brilliant.”

Goalkeeper Bernd Leno repelled a penalty from Jorginho with the score at 3-1 heading into injury time, and Tierney heaped praise on the German.

“Leno has dug us out of a hole there as it would have been a long five minutes if that penalty had gone in,” he said. “Leno is an outstanding keeper and he saved us today.”

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