- Mourinho never lost a competitive game to Wenger
- Arsenal’s Gabriel shown red card right on half time
- Zouma heads home first PL goal for Blues
- Diego Costa at center of controversy
- Cazorla shown red card with 10 minutes to go
- Hazard scores late goal to seal win
LONDON — Chelsea beat nine-man Arsenal 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, as the Blues recorded their first home win of the Premier League season in a heated battle against their London rivals.
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Arsenal’s Gabriel was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Diego Costa just before half time following a scuffled which involved Costa and several of Arsenal’s players, then Kurt Zouma headed the Blues in front at the start of the second half. Late on Santi Cazorla was shown a second yellow as the Gunners finished with nine-men and Eden Hazard put some extra gloss on the scoreline with a deflected effort in the 90th minute.
[ MORE: Mourinho has dig at “crying” Wenger ]
With the win Jose Mourinho stretched his unbeaten record to 14 in competitive matches against Arsene Wenger, plus Chelsea move up to 11th on seven points, just three points off the top four. Arsenal stay in fourth and remain on 10 points.
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Before the game had even begun there were fun and games on the sideline as Mourinho waited for an eternity for Wenger to emerge so he could shake his hand. Wenger arrived just before the whistle blew to start the game and looked far from impressed as the Chelsea boss offered his hand, which he duly shook despite their recent war of words and clashes on the sidelines.
The first chance of the game fell to Chelsea as Fabregas picked up the ball 30-yards out, drove forward but sent a tame shot straight at former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. As the first half wore on Sanchez became more involved and gave Branislav Ivanovic a tough time with his pacey, direct runs.
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As half time approached, neither side took the game by the scruff of the neck but it was Chelsea he did more of the pressing. The Blues kept the ball well, but often waited to long for the right ball in and around the box and the moment passed. Walcott was set free by Ozil in the 30th minute but sent his shot straight at Asmir Begovic. Moments later Santi Cazorla was booked for a late challenge on Pedro as the Chelsea winger twirled away from him, then Chelsea had its best chance of the first half as Fabregas clipped in a delightful ball which Pedro failed to get under control and Cech rushed out to smother the ball. Hazard had a strong shout for a penalty kick waved away after going down on the challenge of Gabriel, then Kurt Zouma and Pedro had long-range efforts off target.
Pedro had a great effort from the edge of the box which Cech palmed away following Hazard’s superb counter-attack, then all hell broke loose. Costa sent an elbow and his hand into the face of Koscielny, which wasn’t spotted by the referee, then he bumped chests with Koscielny, which saw the latter go down easily and then Gabriel got involved as both he and Costa were booked. As that duo walked to the halfway line to restart play, Gabriel kicked out at Costa right under the nose of Michael Dean and the referee had no option but to show him a straight red-card for violent conduct. The half time whistle blew to signal the end of a rambunctious first half . 0-0, but crucially, Arsenal were down to 10-men.
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Calum Chambers came on for Coquelin at half time as Arsenal lined up in a 4-4-1 formation, and no sooner had the second half began than Pedro lashed a volley wide. Chelsea continued to push forward and were rewarded when Fabregas first won a free kick and then clipped an inviting ball to the back post which Zouma headed home. 1-0 to the Blues. The opening goal buoyed the Blues as Hazard sent in a rasping effort which Cech beat away and the Gunners cleared.
Arsenal had brief moments to claw back the one-goal deficit, as on the 60 minute mark Sanchez got in behind bot his effort bobbled into the ground and wide of Begovic’s goal. Then Walcott bent another wide of the target before Hazard raced free but dragged his shot wide of Cech’s goal. Late on Chelsea brought on Ramires to try and see out the game, while Wenger brought on Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to try and salvage a point. However, no sooner had he made those subs than Cazorla was shown a second yellow for a silly foul on Fabregas to reduce the Gunners to nine-men.
Hazard sealed the win with a shot that deflected off Chambers and into the net in the 90th minute, as the Blues bagged their second win of the season and proved they aren’t ready to give up their PL title without a fight.