By ESPNSTAR.com staff
The two sides were determined to attack from the start but they failed to get into rhythm in the opening exchanges. Some determined tracking by the defence as well as sloppy play by the attackers meant that the array of talent on display couldn't produce the captivating performances that they're normally known for.
Nevertheless, goals did come with Fernando Torres scoring the first in scrappy fashion only for Gervinho to tap Arsenal level shortly afterwards in the 43rd minute. Juan Mata helped Chelsea grab the lead in the second half with a brilliant set-piece that seemed to have eluded everyone.
ESPNSTAR.com rates the players that impressed and disappointed in the first match between these two sides without the presence of Messrs Didier Drogba and Robin van Persie.
Vito Mannone - 7
He was rarely threatened in open play but perhaps could have been more commanding and could have properly arranged his defence in order to prevent the Gunners from doubling the figure in the goals conceded column.
Carl Jenkinson - 6
The right-back was diligent in attempting to make life difficult for Oscar and Eden Hazard down his wing but failed to come up with the goods down his flank against a resolute Chelsea defence.
Laurent Koscielny - 4
The Frenchman turned from hero to villain within a week as he failed to close down Torres in the 20th minute, allowing the striker to prod a shot at goal from the unlikeliest of angles. He was also the last man who could have prevented Mata's free-kick from heading into the goal but failed to do so and generally looked bereft of confidence and determination.
On this showing, Per Mertesacker could have been a better choice as he does maintain an open line of communication with his team-mates.
Thomas Vermaelen - 5
The Arsenal captain did not really commit too many errors but as the leader of the side, he failed to inspire his side to try and avoid a defeat.
Kieran Gibbs - 7.5
Gibbs linked up really well with Lukas Podolski and sent in a lovely cross for the German that could have resulted in the equaliser in the second half. It wasn't his night but he was probably the only Arsenal defender that preserved his reputation with his performance.
Mikel Arteta - 7
It is often boasted that Arteta has one of the best passing percentages in Europe amongst all midfielders currently but the ex-Everton player did not appear too tidy with his distibution in this particular game.
Abou Diaby (off 17') - 7
Diaby produced the first shot of note in the 11th minute but an unfortunate injury shortly afterwards limited his presence on the pitch.
Santi Cazorla - 7
Apart from some rare runs in the second half, Cazorla had a rather quiet afternoon. He should have really scored in the 50th minute when presented with a lovely opportunity to bang the ball into the net from just outside the six-yard box.
Aaron Ramsey (off 66') - 6.5
The Welshman started off brightly but tapered towards the end of his 66 minutes on the pitch. After Diaby's substitution, he was moved to a central midfield berth but his passes were constantly astray and he rarely threatened with his shots.
Gervinho - 7.5
Olivier Giroud was surprisingly overlooked for the main striker role with the Ivory Coast international getting the nod instead. Much like the rest of his team-mates, Gervinho started off brightly but was frustrating by the end of the game. He was in the right position to prod in the equaliser in the 43rd minute following Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross from the right but from then on, he constantly drifted off into an offside position and made it difficult for Arsenal to sustain pressure and score another goal.
Lukas Podolski (off 66') - 7.5
Podolski had one decent header that could have easily been the crucial equaliser but Petr Cech was there to deny him the goal. Nevertheless, he put in a good shift and was always eager to take the game to the opposition.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on 17') - 6.5
'The Ox' was constantly busy down the right and sent in continual crosses after being brought into the game with Diaby's injury. It eventually paid dividends as one of such attempts led to a goal.
But it was his defensive play that let his side down as he allowed David Luiz to run free and it was this lack of focus that probably distracted Koscielny and prevented him from keeping a close tab on Torres.
Olivier Giroud (on 66') - 6
Giroud had the best opportunity in the closing stages of the match to score a second goal for Arsenal but he failed to send the ball past Cech when sent free. At least, Torres' turnaround after an insipid start to his Chelsea career should give the Frenchman some confidence but Arsenal fans will probably be hoping that he finds his scoring boots soon enough.
Theo Walcott (on 66') - 6
The England international was rarely a threat and could not produce a super-sub performance on the day.
Petr Cech - 8.5
Cech was indomitable and he made a superb save to deny Podolski and was again the star as he prevented Giroud's header from going into the net, despite the latter's shot being deflected and going in a different direction.
Branislav Ivanovic - 7
Ivanovic was the experienced version of Jenkinson as he also focused mainly on his defensive responsibilities but made it near-impossible for Podolski to skip past him and send in crosses from the left.
David Luiz (off 81') - 8.5
The Brazilian commanded the defence a lot more often than captain John Terry did and he produced an all-action display with several forays into the Arsenal penalty box. Only a pointless effort to win a penalty marred this display and Luiz was clearly the best defender in the game.
John Terry - 7
Terry's first game since his trial passed without incident for both footballing and non-footballing reasons.
Ashley Cole - 8
Cole might be a 31-year-old but he has such blistering pace that he regularly outpaced the younger feet of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey.
Ramires - 8
It appears the Brazilian midfielder has reverted to his preferred position of a central midfielder and it suits him as he regularly won the ball and rampaged forward to initiate several Chelsea counter-attacks.
John Obi Mikel - 7
Mikel really shouldn't shoot as he has a woeful right foot but he provided the necessary steel to give Chelsea a physical edge over their north London opponents.
Eden Hazard - 8
The Belgian has such sublime footwork and it's a joy to watch him in action. Although he failed to be of constructive use to his side, his constant dribbling and repertoire of tricks dragged the Arsenal defence wide and disoriented his markers.
The perfect example of his marvelous ability could be seen in the 38th minute when he ran till the byline and feinted a cross, sending the diving Gibbs crashing towards the advertising hoardings. Hazard then sent the ball into the middle with a lovely Rabona chip and earned cheers from both sets of fans.
Oscar (off 73') - 7.5
The talented young midfielder failed to assert his authority in midfield as he was closely marked and regularly muscled off the ball. The 21-year-old, however, did take it in his stride and retaliated in kind although his scrappiness eventually earned him a yellow card.
Juan Mata (off 83') - 8.5
Mata was the playmaker-in-chief and regularly sent balls into the box and splayed the ball out wide as and when he saw fit. Most importantly, it was his two free-kicks that proved Arsenal's undoing and earn his side the win.
Fernando Torres - 8
When one thinks of Torres, neat flicks and well-placed shots come to mind but his goal in the game was quintessentially Drogba in the post-Drogba era. Koscielny was doing his best to restrain the Spaniard from making the jump to meet Mata's free-kick but the striker still managed to angle the ball towards goal with an effective, if somewhat unsightly, volley.
But Torres' claims for a penalty three minutes later had no substance and he really needs to be less ditzy with the ball.
Victor Moses (on 73') - 6
Apart from combining nicely with Torres and scuffing up the subsequent opportunity to shoot on goal, the Nigerian did not produce much during the limited time afforded to him on the pitch.
Gary Cahill (on 81') - N/A
Ryan Bertrand (on 83') - N/A