Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal

Match Summary

Chelsea record their first home win of the league with a well-disciplined victory in what was a feisty affair against nine-man Arsenal.

The Blues, seven points behind their opponents before the game, had Kurt Zouma’s head to thank as the Frenchman, thrust into the heart of Chelsea’s defence, leaped tallest from Fabregas’ free-kick.

But the match was not without controversy, as Arsenal suffered two red cards for Gabriel and Cazorla, whilst Chelsea should have had a penalty and should have separately had Costa sent off.

But, overall, it was a much improved week for the Blues who appear to have found their mojo back, clearly buoyed on from the mid-week thrashing of Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

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The action was non-stop from the off, even after the shock drama that was the pre-match handshake which did take place between the managers. A shot by Fabregas at Cech’s goal after six minutes, and from outside the box, set the tone for a changed Chelsea, who were much more energetic, taking shots and defending with greater discipline. Their pressing game was equally strong, and it needed to be if Mourinho wanted to prevent Arsenal from scoring, something they have not done in the last four Premier League meetings with the Blues.

But at the other end comes Arsenal’s defence, who have kept three consecutive clean sheets, so Costa and his men would equally need to be fired up.

And boy was everyone fired up. Sanchez turned two and shot wide, whilst Walcott’s pace early in the game kept Cahill and the impressive Zouma on their toes.

Chelsea had their turn too, with Oscar, Hazard and Costa exuding a level of confidence in their play with some excellent intricate footwork.

The half’s best chance fell to Pedro, who timed his run to perfection from Fabregas’ lob, but Cech, who was welcomed back with open arms compared to Fabregas being booed with every one of his touches, stifled the ball before Pedro could sort his feet out.

The last 10 minutes of the half brought incident after incident. Hazard drove the ball from the half-way line to the by-line and was pushed over by Gabriel; it should have been a penalty but Mike Dean was not moved.

Chelsea were pressing and pressing — Pedro’s first-time shot was just wide from Costa’s lay-off, and the game was getting more and more end-to-end, with Ramsey one-on-one with Begovic, before Pedro chanced up at the other end.

And with gears being stepped up a notch, so did the temperament. Costa slapped and barged his way past Koscielny, and the Frenchman admirably did not react, but Gabriel did on his behalf. Both he and Costa earned a yellow card, but it was not over. Costa, known for his short fuse, kept mouthing off to his Brazilian compatriot and, provoked, Gabriel appeared to back-heel Costa. The Arsenal centre-back got his marching orders, but Costa, who actually was the aggressor, let off.

With no recognised centre-back on Arsenal’s bench, Chambers had to fill in, but it would be Chelsea’s loss if they could not wrap up the points with a home, and a man, advantage in the second half.

It was Chelsea’s centre-half who in fact gave the game’s next talking point: a goal. Fabregas’ floating free-kick was delicious and no-one picked up Zouma on the outside, who headed down past Cech.

Hazard’s shot nearly made it two but it was straight at Cech, but it was clear Chelsea wanted to kill the game off, considering they only converted one of their six goals on target.

But Arsenal were not no threat themselves. Confusion between Cahill and Zouma presented Sanchez with a volley, but it was a let-off for Chelsea’s defence.

Hazard looked to have re-found his confidence and turned three before shooting just wide of Cech’s far post.

The last half-hour brought frenetic end-to-end action, as Ramires came on to steady the ship.

Pedro shot over as Hazard had a chance too as Arsenal were struggling to counter-attack without being caught themselves on the break.

Arsenal’s afternoon got worse when Fabregas reached the ball a fraction of a second ahead of Cazorla to earn his compatriot his second yellow card.

Costa equally should have departed the field with an elbow in retaliation of a very far Arsenal challenge, but Mourinho had seen enough and the Spaniard would soon come off the pitch, but of his manager’s direction, thankfully not the referee’s. Remy’s pace was preferred to Falcao’s looks.

The Chelsea keep-ball game was the desired strategy but Hazard would score the insurance goal as the players queued up to an over-stretched Arsenal back-line.

And that was that, but there was certainly no post-match handshake.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

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Man of the Match

kurt-zouma.thumbnailKURT ZOUMA: A much improved team performance and at the heart of that is usually John Terry, but perhaps it is his successor, Kurt Zouma. The Frenchman, who is perhaps the beneficiary of Chelsea’s failed bid to sign John Stones, was immaculate in his defence work, leaping tall and also tackling well, before showing his attacking prowess from a set-piece. 8/10

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Manager Reaction

Mourinho was pleased his work this week got Chelsea back to winning ways: “I’m happy with the performance and points. We improved a lot in the last two matches. Defensively the team was much better. The attacking players defended much better than before, they created a compact zone and reacted very well to the moments when they lost the ball. That gives great stability for the players behind.”

Wenger was typically livid: “Costa twice should be sent off. He hits him in the face in purpose. In every game he has aggravation and he gets away with it because of the weakness of the referee. We knew before the game he is only looking at that.”

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Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had four years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

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4 thoughts on “Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal

  1. Pingback: Costa punishes Arsenal as Chelsea beat Gunners 1-0 at Emirates | The Chelsea Chronicle

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  3. Well Martin you were spot on about Van playing and he did OK. Zouma has really found his feet (and head) in the Prem Lge – also a regular position in the 1st Team. Think of his potential to develop and improve with 15 years of first class football ahead of him. I see him eventually challenging Makele’s legacy as master of defence and attack at the base of the Chelsea defensive spine. Otherwise he will assume the mantle of JT as foundation of defence. Can’t wait to see the re-emergence that dynamic Chelsea defensive spine of 05/06 culminating in lightening strikers.& overturning teams at will. The irresistible force spearheading the immoveable object. I see JM attempting this with Matic, Fab & Hazard more central – but it’s a distant dream at the moment. A work in progress which we will watch unfold with interest. As for Diego – he has brought down the wrath of the nation on his pugnacious head – and his every move will now be scrutinised closely by pundits, cameramen and match officials alike (I thought it was Jose’s role to attract controversy and so protect his team.) I think Diego is capable of surfing right on the edge of the red zone – he clearly thrives on it. Hopefully he won’t become the victim of a punitive campaign by match officials and the FA. I think he enjoys the high energy of controversy. I noticed that when he drew that crescendo of boos in front of the Arsenal fans he seemed energised and ignited. He is a master of the dark arts. Not my idea of a great Chelsea striker – I prefer the superhuman skills of Zola, or the super-skills plus commanding physique of the Drog. But perhaps I am old fashioned and top strikers need the dark arts to succeed nowadays. But does Costa need to do this? His strike into top right corner off Fab’s through ball was as skilful as either of the above legends. So why the bandito antics? I notice that Mr Messi is as mild as milk, but is the best of them all……

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    • Hi Richard, another fantastic comment, thanks! Yes, this was a performance that we are used to with Chelsea thankfully! I still reckon JT can do something for us this season but it was smart to play Zouma when you have the likes of Walcott to mark, and his inclusion was immediately justified when he slipped, but got straight up to tackle Walcott. Would JT have recovered from the slip? Maybe he will be a lot more of a vocal dressing-room character (like Drogba last year) but I still expect good things from Captain Leader Legend. Zouma must be the man to take advantage of the failed Stones bid, and boy does he look a snip, considering you have the likes of Man City forking millions out on Mangala. He certainly looks like he has all the physical and mental attributes, looking very happy indeed when he scored! As for Costa, I don’t like him. Purely because there’s more chance after every game that I’m going to be talking about something he did other than football. He has a higher chance of seeing red than scoring a goal. He’s not very good on the ball either, as you saw against Arsenal he was always stopped when he marched on. He just needs to stay in the box and feed off tap-ins, because he can’t do a 30-yarder that Aguero can. Costa was always billed as the next Drogba but Drogba could do so much more with head, long-range shots and general reputation. He was admired for that, whilst Costa doesn’t seem to care if he is hated, but I fear that will never get him into the ‘football greatest’ books…

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