Chelsea maintained their unbeaten Premier League record as they won a fiery encounter against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. A penalty from Eden Hazard and yet another goal from Diego Costa helped the Blues to victory in a match the home side were never in danger of losing.
It was far from the best performance of the season from Chelsea, but they did more than enough to get the job done. They ended Arsenal’s unbeaten start to the season, coped with the surprising physicality of the match and had to do it after Thibaut Courtois was substituted after a clash with Alexis Sanchez.
Jose Mourinho came into this game with an unbeaten record in his 12 meetings with Arsene Wenger. Wenger’s frustration at that record was evident here, as he shoved Mourinho during an altercation after Gary Cahill’s heavy challenge on Sanchez.
The Arsenal players seemingly responded from that point onwards, becoming more physical than they have been in many years. They ultimately paid the price for that, when Laurent Koscielny brought down Eden Hazard in the box during a mazy dribble from the Belgian. Unlike Arsenal and their manager, Hazard kept his calm and opened the scoring with a great penalty. He sent Szczesny the wrong way, giving the keeper the eyes and opening his body up at the last moment.
The Blues went in at half time with the lead, but it wasn’t as comfortable as they may have liked. That was mainly down to the lack of chances in the game. There were only three shots on target in the 90 minutes, all of those falling to Chelsea players. The Blues did press in the second half looking for the second goal to wrap up the points, and as they did Diego Costa became less isolated and grew into the game.
He showed some neat footwork to play in Hazard whilst surrounded by Arsenal players, but the Belgian saw his shot fly over the bar. In the end the second goal came from a Chelsea counter attack. With the Arsenal defence pushed high, the Blues won the ball back in midfield and Fabregas looked up and played a fantastic ball over the top for Diego Costa to run on to. Costa latched on to it, and lifted the ball over the helpless Szczesny in goal for his ninth Premier League goal of the season.
After the game Jose Mourinho praised his team while trying his best to draw a line over the Wenger incident. “It was a difficult game,” noted Mourinho. “They started better than us, but Eden gave us the penalty and the first goal and the game could have finished there if it had been a red card. At the end of day they had more of the ball than us but we had the chances so we scored two goals, we won and I am happy we beat a good team.”
On Wenger, Mourinho said, “For me, it is over. But the technical area is very clear – I have mine, he has his and he cannot come to mine, especially to put pressure on the referee to give a red card to my player. So I just told him ‘leave my technical area and don’t come back please’.”
LCN Man of the Match: Eden Hazard