Magnificent Robin van Persie hat-trick caps incredible match as Gunners come from behind twice at Stamford Bridge
Arsene Wenger's men secure fantastic win in entertaining affair littered with questionable defending and impressive goals but it was a certain Dutch striker who stole the show
Arsenal managed to move themselves up to to sixth with a remarkable 5-3 victory against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, with Robin Van Persie grabbing an impressive hat-trick.
The hosts should have opened the scoring with just 4 minutes on the clock as Daniel Sturridge looked to play the ball across the goal to Fernando Torres who had the net at his mercy, but the Englishman’s pass was poor and went straight into the arms of Wojciech Szczesny.
Arsenal had their own reasons to be disappointed a few moments later as Theo Walcott got behind Ashley Cole before delivering a great low cross, but Gervinho somehow missed the target from just a matter of yards.
Less than a minute later, Robin Van Persie got himself on another very good Walcott cross, but the Dutchman connected with it after bouncing up and the in-form striker cleared the crossbar.
The Gunners were made to rue those misses however as Frank Lampard gave the hosts the lead after 13 minutes. Juan Mata beat Andre Santos before putting in a brilliant delivery for the England midfielder to head past the helpless Szczesny.
Just shy of the half-hour mark, Sturridge should have added a second for Chelsea as Lampard played a remarkable ball over the top of the Arsenal defence for the young striker, but the finish was poor as the former Manchester City man scuffed his shot past the far post.
However, Arsenal got their equaliser in the 35th minute after a lovely move started by an excellent forward pass by Aaron Ramsey to Gervinho. The Ivorian cheekily squared the ball to Van Persie as Petr Cech approached, giving the striker an easy finish.
But they were only level for 10 minutes as John Terry, who has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently, bundled the ball past Szczesny after out-muscling Per Mertesacker at a corner to give Andre Villas-Boas men the lead.
The teams had not even been out for 40 seconds in the second half when Van Persie registered another chance. Ramsey also went close, but it was Santos who got the equaliser for the visitors.
Alex Song did brilliantly to pick out the unmarked-Brazilian who was flying down the left, before the former Fenerbahce man stroked the ball past Cech with confidence.
Ten minutes into the second half, Arsenal got themselves into the lead for the first time of the day. Walcott marched through the Chelsea defence, fell over, got through again and produced a good strike, beating the fairly helpless Cech.
With just under 20 minutes to go, Ramsey almost gave Arsenal a two-goal lead as the midfielder received a clever pass from Van Persie as he arrived late in the penalty area, but the Welshman’s shot was taken wide of the post thanks to a deflection.
But, in keeping with the rest of the match, Arsenal couldn’t keep hold of their lead as up stepped Mata in the 80th minute, smashing a fantastic effort towards the far side of the goal, giving Szczesny no chance whatsoever.
Four minutes later, however, suspect defending reared its head again. Florent Malouda playing a poor pass back to Terry, and the England captain slipped over giving Van Persie a free route to goal; the former Feyenoord man rounded Cech and slotted home to make it 4-3 to the visitors.
A minute into stoppage time, Arsenal secured the three points. Van Persie grabbed his hat-trick after a brilliant counter-attack; Mikel Arteta picking out the brilliant Dutchman who smashed a swerving effort past Cech.
The three points see Arsenal join Tottenham on 16 points in the Premier League, while Chelsea lost even more ground on the two Manchester clubs at the top of the table.