Blues unbeaten as Gunners Slip up
Written By: Robert Halter
After six games of the Premier League season, there was a six points gap between leaders Chelsea and fourth placed Arsenal, with the Blues and Gunners went into the clash unbeaten for the early October London derby at Stamford Bridge as summer Chelsea signing, Cesc Fabregas, faced his former club Arsenal, where he started his career in 2003. Blues boss Jose Mourinho had never lost against the Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger, winning six and drawing five times in all competitions. After kick off was delayed fifteen minutes for a fire cracker being taken into the ground, it signified the start of explosive action. On two minutes, Jack Wilshere squared the ball to Alexis Sanchez but his low long distance strike drifted wide. A funny incident occurred as the ball boy threw the ball to Mourinho, after retrieving the ball for an Arsenal throw in. There was an alarm for the Blues as from a ball over the top from Wilshere, Chelsea keeper, Thibaut Courtois, was the victim of a collision into Sanchez, but Courtois soon rose to his feet in the tenth minute. After a foul by Gary Cahill on Sanchez, it lit the fuse of Wenger, who confronted Mourinho in his technical dug out and then pushed him away in anger, on twenty minutes. There was more concern for Chelsea as Courtois required further treatment, while the Blues waited to take a Fabregas free kick after a foul by Calum Chambers on Eden Hazard, and Courtois was taken off the field of play, as Petr Cech returned amongst the sticks. But a scintillating run by Hazard won the Blues a penalty in the twenty seventh minute, as after Laurent Koscielny hacked him down, Hazard drilled the spot kick into the right hand corner by sending Wojciech Szczesny, the wrong way. In just under the half hour mark, Cech collected from under the feet of Wilshere, following interchange between Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla. There was more concern for both sides following a nasty head clash between Koscielny and Oscar, but the players were soon back in the fold. Chambers escaped another booking for a foul on Andre Schurrle, as he remained on a yellow card. Four minutes into the second half from a left wing cross by Sanchez and a dummy by Wilshere, the ball was met by Cazorla but his shot went wide of the right post. In the fifty seventh minute from Hazard’s left wing cross, the ball ricocheted off Mathieu Flamini before Szczesny turned the ball against the outside of his near post. On sixty two minutes, Arsenal had a penalty claim turned away as Wilshere’s strike cannoned off Fabregas, as the Gunners appealed for ball to hand. Arsenal made their first change by taking off Cazorla for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain while the Blues replaced Schurrle for John Obi Mikel. Time was running out for Arsenal, as Chambers forced the ball over, after latching onto a half hit clearance by Branislav Ivanovic in the seventy second minute. But the Blues responded three minutes later when Hazard latched onto Diego Costa’s pass in the penalty box, but was unable to keep his shot down, as Hazard’s strike rose over the upright. The game was decided in the seventy seventh minute, when from inside his own half, Fabregas floated the ball over for Costa, who executed a perfect lob over Szczesny, into the heart of the goal, it was game over as Arsenal took off Sanchez for Lukas Podolski, and there was no way back for the Gunners as Wilshere fired over a minute later, who was soon replaced by Tomas Rosicky before the Blues took off Oscar for Willian. From Ozil’s lofted ball, fast feet by Cahill and Cech, kept Podolski out, near the end, to preserve a clean sheet for Chelsea, before Danny Welbeck’s frustration showed as he clattered into Fabregas on the side line. The offside flag was raised after Costa hooked the ball over from an Ivanovic ball in but there was no denying Chelsea, who kept their unbeaten record in tact and opened a nine points gap over defeated Arsenal, while the Blues topped the table, five points clear of second placed, Manchester City.