Diego Costa scored the only goal of the game as Chelsea claimed a 1-0 win over a lackluster Arsenal side at the Emirates in the Premier League on Sunday evening.
- Arsenal 0 Chelsea 1
- Mertesacker sent off
- Costa opens the scoring
- Gunners look toothless
The Gunners were down to 10 men as early as the 18th minute when Per Mertesacker brought down Diego Costa with a miss-timed sliding challenge after the striker was clean through on goal.
Chelsea made their numerical advantage pay just five minutes later as Costa slid between Gabriel and Petr Cech to guide Branislav Ivanovic’s cross into the goal and give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Arsenal struggled to fight their way back into the game against a resolute Blues outfit, who hung on for the win.
After his side received two red cards in the reverse fixture in September, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger knew maintaining their discipline was going to be key against Chelsea on Sunday.
He therefore would have been justifiably livid when his side was reduced to 10 men less than 20 minutes into the match as Costa used his pace to get ahead of Mertesacker and the lunging German defender brought the Chelsea striker down with a clumsy tackle, giving the referee little option but to produce a red card.
Striker Olivier Giroud was subbed off shortly afterwards for Gabriel in a bid to fill the gap in their defence, much to the consternation of the home fans, who booed the change.
Their frustration was justified as the Gunners looked toothless up-front throughout and the substitution did not provide the required stability at the back either.
Less than a minute after the change, Costa stole ahead of Paulista to get on the end of Ivanovic’s cross to steer the ball past Cech and give Chelsea a 1-0 lead.
Mattieu Flamini wasted Arsenal’s best chance of the first half as Ozil played a delightful chip over the Chelsea defence and Flamini seemed to be caught in two minds about whether to use his head or his foot and ended up side-footing the ball well over the bar.
There was a distinct lack of chances in the second half as Chelsea looked to protect their lead, while Arsenal lacked the options up-front to put them under enough pressure.
Flamini had a half chance in the 87th minute after Theo Walcott’s miss-hit shot dribbled through to him, but the ball was in an awkward position for him to shoot and his weak back heel towards goal was easy for Thibault Coutois to save.
The result means Arsenal now trail Leicester City by three points at the top of the Premier League table, while Chelsea move above West Brom and into 13th place.