Chelsea maintained their strong start to the English Premier League season with an impressive 2-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday. Chants of “you know what you are” from the Arsenal crowd greeted Terry’s first touch, as did jeers for former Gunner Ashley Cole, but Chelsea came through their first real test of the season, while Arsenal again saw question marks raised over their defense.
“There’s a lot of negativity surrounding John Terry but he does a lot of good work as well. He gives a lot of things away to kids” -Robert Di Matteo
Spaniards Juan Mata and Fernando Torres were on the scoresheet as Chelsea ensured they would remain top at the end of the weekend with the win at Emirates Stadium. Gervinho had briefly levelled for Arsene Wenger’s men three minutes before half-time before Mata struck from a free-kick shortly after the interval.
The visitors made a purposeful start, but it was Wenger’s side who carried the greater goal threat with Abou Diaby testing Petr Cech from distance. The Frenchman injured himself in the act of shooting. However, and things went from bad to worse for Arsenal soon after when Torres’ splendidly improvised finish put the European champions ahead in the 20th minute.
Mata floated in a free-kick which evaded the unmarked David Luiz but found Torres, who arched his foot around Laurent Koscielny and volleyed into the top corner from seven yards. The former Liverpool forward was dangerous and was unlucky to be denied a penalty moments later when Torres robbed Koscielny out on the left and darted into the penalty area. However, as he shaped to shoot, the Spaniard tumbled, claiming his heel had been clipped by Koscielny. Referee Martin Atkinson, however, was having none of it.
Chelsea were very much in control, but a resilient Arsenal drew level three minutes before the interval. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaby’s replacement, drilled a low cross into the heart of the Chelsea penalty area that was controlled and dispatched in the blink of an eye by Gervinho.
“We knew before the game it would be an important result. It was one of the main targets we have this season – winning these kind of games. We want to be in the top four for sure and fighting for the title. Today was the first big test. It’s a very difficult stadium against a great team. It’s very good for us. I enjoy more this season,” the former Liverpool forward said. “The kind of players I have behind me has given me a lot of support. I have to improve to create more and more chances for the team.” -Torres
Parity was short-lived, however, when Arsenal’s early second-half momentum was killed as a result of more horrendous defending. An in-swinging Mata set-piece took a slight touch off Koscielny before nestling in the far corner of Vito Mannone’s net.
Chelsea were indebted to Cech, thereafter, who preserved their advantage when he reacted splendidly to tip aside Lukas Podolski’s looping header and again to tip aside substitute Olivier Giroud’s deflected drive. Santi Cazorla created a golden chance in additional time for Giroud, but the Frenchman shot into the side-netting after rounding Cech as Chelsea hung on for an important three points. “It was a top chance,” Wenger admitted. It was left to Chelsea’s fans to mock, ‘Robin van Persie, he’s left you in the ****’.
IN NUMBERS:10 – Number of shots Chelsea took against Arsenal
3 – Number of shots on goal Chelsea took against Arsenal
67% – Percent of those shots on goal that Chelsea scored 3 – Offsides for each of Gervinho and Torres¹ 1 – Shots on goal by each of Torres and Gervinho
52 – Touches by Torres
34 – Touches by Gervinho
72 – Touches by Mata
70 – Touches by Hazard (second most for Chelsea) 6 – Number of times Juan Mata was dispossessed 5 – Number of times Oscar was dispossessed 5 – Number of successful dribbles by Eden Hazard¹ (of 6 attempts)
- Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea: Set-piece goals give Chelsea deserved win (mirror.co.uk)
- Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Score, Analysis and Grades (bleacherreport.com)
- Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea: Torres and Mata on target as Blues extend lead at the top (goal.com)
- Match Report: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (roundupproject.wordpress.com)
- Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (guardian.co.uk)
- Arsenal v Chelsea – live! (guardian.co.uk)