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Arsenal were handed a much needed boost after their 6-0 defeat at the hands of London rivals Chelsea as both Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have escaped any suspension over the much talked about red card at Stamford Bridge. With the Gunners already trailing 2-0, Oxlade-Chamberlain handled an Eden Hazard shot on the line, resulting in a spot kick for the Blues, and what should've been a red card for the Arsenal midfielder.
However, referee Andre Marriner accidentally sent off full back Gibbs instead in a case of mistaken identity, and Arsenal appealed both the erroneous red card award and the decision itself - and won both. The ban would've been transferred to Oxlade-Chamberlain, but Arsenal have also had that rescinded, believed to be on the basis that Hazard's shot was going wide.
Whilst the news will be a boost to manager Arsene Wenger, it won't erase the memory of their shambolic display at Stamford Bridge, which has severely dented Arsenal's title hopes. Wenger, who is now closing in on the unwanted stat of going nine whole years without winning a trophy, has called for a reaction from his players, who suffered yet another mauling at the hands of a title rival.
"The Premier League is difficult and as soon as you drop your standards a little bit you are of course in danger," Wenger said ahead of tomorrow night's fixture at home to Swansea City. "It happens to many clubs because the fight for the relegation is very hard. The fight at the top is very, very hard and that's why every game has its own difficulties that you have to deal with," he added.
In other news, young striker Chuba Akpom has returned to Arsenal following a loan spell with League One side Coventry City. The 18-year-old played seven times for the Sky Blues but failed to hit the back of the net, and will head back to the Emirates Stadium for the second time this season, following an equally unimpressive stay with Brentford earlier this year.