Chelsea got back to winning ways in the league with a 2-0 victory over Arsenal. Goals from Kurt Zouma and Eden Hazard helped the Blues to the victory, with Gabriel and Santi Cazorla both seeing red for the visitors. That means the champions now only trail Arsenal by three points, despite their awful start to the campaign.
Jose Mourinho made some big calls before the game, with John Terry being left out. The captain sat on the bench, and passed the armband to the out-of-form Branislav Ivanovic. Pedro started, despite having been being ruled out by the manager on Friday. Diego Costa came back in up front, while Nemanja Matic returned to the team in place of Rueben Loftus-Cheek.
After a big home win on Wednesday night, the hosts knew they had to make it back to back victories here. Anything less than three points would have raised questions about their top four chances. The main problem was that Arsenal were defending a lot better than usual, and they actually started to look like a threat on the counter.
The game changed just before half time, as Costa and Gabriel continued the tussle they’d been having throughout the game. Costa looked to have lashed out at the Arsenal man, but he was given just a yellow. When they clashed again moments later, Gabriel wasn’t so lucky. He was shown a red, and that left his team both angry and vulnerable.
Arsene Wenger wasn’t a happy man at the half time whistle, and he was even more upset 10 minutes into the second half. His former charge Cesc Fabregas swung in a free kick, and it was met by Zouma who headed the champions ahead. The young Frenchman had been playing brilliantly, so it was a deserved goal.
That put Chelsea in command from that point on, and the game was basically handed to them with 10 minutes to play. Cazorla was given a second yellow after bringing down Fabregas in the Blues’ half. It was a needless foul, and it blew any hope the away side had of getting back in to the game.
The Gunners’ misery was compounded when Eden Hazard got a much-needed goal late on. The Belgian’s effort took a huge deflection off Callum Chambers, but it was a morale-boosting piece of luck for the winger. He’s had an awful time of things this season, but that goal should help him get back to his best.
This was a huge win for Chelsea, especially with Manchester City losing at home to West Ham in the late game. The Blues’ title chances are certainly looking brighter now. Terry missing out will be the big talking point now, but Zouma did incredibly well in his place. He’s always had potential, but he’s now delivering, and he’s really pushing for a starting spot.
LCN Man of the Match: Kurt Zouma