Benitez also insisted both teams benefited from controversial decisions, claiming the European champions were denied a second penalty: "We deserved to win. The team were doing really well. You can analyse every incident.
"The team were very good in the first half, and defended with character in the second half."
Chelsea, who had won just two of their previous seven home matches under Benitez, could easily have endured the same fate as Wednesday night's 2-2 draw with Southampton, which saw them blow a two-goal half-time lead.
Asked if he was relieved, Benitez said: "Happy... Because I think we were creating a lot of chances at home in the last few games, but not winning.
"We were controlling the games and doing well.
"But today [Sunday] we had a lot of chances in the first half, were on top of them, controlling the game.
"Even in the second half, we had situations on the counter-attack where we could have scored another."
Watch: Chelsea beat Arsenal in London derby... More Videos
Benitez hoped beating a top side would help Chelsea overcome their Stamford Bridge jitters.
The same could be said about the lack of negativity from the stands towards the Spaniard, possibily helped by the news less than 24 hours earlier that Ashley Cole was on the brink of signing a new one-year contract.
Benitez said: "Now the club has an agreement with the player... really pleased.
"The paperwork has to be done but the agreement is done."