Chelsea have the edge on Arsenal
Written By: Robert Halter
Arsenal faced a London derby against league leaders Chelsea in a lunch time kick off at the Emirates Stadium, end of September, with the Blues looking to pick up their first away win at the Gunners since November 2009. On eleven minutes, Gervinho won the ball back off Blues captain John Terry and Santi Cazorla sent a long range blast over the bar. Two minutes later, Abou Diaby struck a low drive which was comfortably picked up by Petr Cech, but it was the last piece of action for Diaby, who was soon replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. But it was the Blues that struck first in the twentieth minute, following a foul by Arsenal captain, Thomas Vermaelen on Eden Hazard and from an in swinging free kick by Juan Mata from the right side of the pitch, Fernando Torres cut inside Laurent Koscielny and met the ball with a right footed volley into the left side of the net. Three minutes later, Koscielny had to defuse another Torres threat, as he scrambled the ball back to Gunners goalkeeper, Vito Mannone. Arsenal had to wait until forty two minutes to get a grip on the game as they found a route back when Oxlade-Chamberlain’s low right wing cross found Gervinho and on the turn he rifled the ball into the roof of the net. Just before the break Arsenal had a narrow escape as Oscar’s low strike went fractions wide of the left post. When Oscar supplied Torres, who drove the ball against the side netting, it signalled the end of the first half. A miss cue by Cazorla gave the Blues breathing space six minutes into the re-start, after Lukas Podolski had despatched the ball from a deflection off Ashley Cole. However, the Blues struck again on fifty three minutes from another Mata free kick, when the ball took a slight deflection off Koscielny before finding the back of the net, after Vermaelen had been booked for a foul on Torres. A flying header by Podolski produced an acrobatic one handed save by Cech from a pin point accurate cross by Kieran Gibbs, as the Gunners looked for a way back in the fifty ninth minute but it was to be Podolski’s last involvement in the match as he was taken off for Olivier Giroud at the same time Theo Walcott replaced Aaron Ramsey. In the seventy third minute, Cech was forced to push the ball over the bar, after a deflection off David Luiz from a Giroud strike at goal. The Blues switched Oscar for Victor Moses and to protect their advantage, Gary Cahill was brought on for Luiz before Mata was the last player to be subbed for Chelsea as Ryan Bertrand came on to the field. As Cazorla’s left footed strike sailed over the upright from Gervinho’s square ball, the time was running out for the Gunners before Arsenal created one final chance, with Cazorla instrumental in the move when Oxlade-Chamberlain set Giroud free but as he rounded Cech, his effort was blazed against the top of the side netting which left Chelsea celebrating at the end as they secured a 2-1 victory in the capital crunch match and put pay to Arsenal’s unbeaten record at the start of the season.