CHELSEA MAINTAINED THEIR strong start to the Premier League season with an impressive 2-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday.
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 he robbed Koscielny and fell under pressure from the Frenchman, just as he was preparing to pull the trigger. 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. 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.