Blues in business at Gunners Expense
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea were unbeaten against Arsenal in seven Premier League meetings and the Gunners had gone without a goal in the last four league games between the sides ahead of the derby at Stamford Bridge, mid September. On five minutes, it was old against new as players from former clubs sized each other out with a snap shot by Blues midfielder, Cesc Fabregas, into the reach of Gunners shot stopper, Petr Cech, on his return to face Chelsea, as Eden Hazard engineered the move. Midway through the first half, Cech had to clutch hold of a low drive from Diego Costa, after Hazard had found him in space. From a Fabregas corner in the twenty fifth minute, the ball missed both the punch of Cech and the aerial threat of Gary Cahill, through a long range floating cross on the left side. The Gunners pressed forward within three minutes, as Mesut Ozil’s through ball found Theo Walcott on the left channel, whose low strike was stopped comfortably by Blues keeper, Asmir Begovic. In the thirty first minute from a ball over the top by Fabregas, it landed over for Pedro, but Cech was at hand with a brave near post stop. An ambitious strike by Kurt Zouma, sailed over the bar, from just inside the Arsenal half, in the thirty seventh minute, and at the same time span, Pedro’s effort bent over, after Costa laid the ball off. On forty three minutes, Hazard again created an opening, as Pedro’s well timed effort was palmed away at full stretch by Cech, as he dived to his right. But the game kicked off just before half time, when Costa pushed Laurent Koscielny in the head with both hands and then slapped him in the face, seconds later. Costa then knocked the Arsenal defender over by barging into him before tangling into Gabriel Paulista, who was sent off by referee Mike Dean, for kicking out at Costa in front of the official as the initial trouble moved from the Gunners penalty area into the centre circle. Before the re-start, Calum Chambers replaced Francis Coquelin. On forty six minutes, Costa rose to an Oscar cross, and on the volley, Pedro sent the ball soaring over the right post. But on fifty two minutes from a floating free kick by Fabregas, the ball found Zouma, whose downward header, squeezed past Cech and inside the right post, after Aaron Ramsey had been penalised for a foul on Fabregas. Four minutes later, Hazard’s bending strike brought off a full length save by Cech, who pushed the ball away with a double handed block, from a pass by Cesar Azpilicueta. Then just before the hour mark, the Blues had a close shave, as Zouma and Cahill were hesitant as Begovic was rooted to his near post, as Sanchez miss timed a right footed shot in front of the goal from a long ball over to him by Ramsey. An ambitious strike by Walcott went wide of the mark on sixty three minutes from an assist by Nacho Monreal but the Blues broke again up field as Fabrgeas supplied Hazard, who charged through before unleashing a low shot that drifted pas the left post, a minute later. On sixty eight minutes, Pedro wedged over a pass by Oscar, and the Brazilian was then replaced by his countryman, Ramires. Arsenal soon made a double change of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Sanchez and Olivier Giroud for Ozil. But on seventy eight minutes, Arsenal went down to nine men, as having been booked in the first half for a foul on Pedro, a two footed lunge into Fabregas, got a second yellow card and sending off for Cazorla. When Costa clashed into Oxlade-Chamberlain, a decision was made to replace Costa with Loic Remy. The game was sealed in stoppage time, as from a Ramires low cross, the outstretched leg of Chambers diverted the ball into the path of Pedro, who pulled the ball back for Remy, and as his strike rebounded off Chambers, the ball fell into the path of Hazard, whose shot cannoned off Chambers, into the back of the net. After John Obi Mikel replaced Fabregas, the Gunners looked for a consolation as Oxlade-Chamberlain’s ball across from the left was headed back by Walcott but as the ball found Ramsey, he could not find a way past Begovic.