Chelsea beat Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday as Per Mertesacker‘s early red card and Diego Costa‘s instinctive finish were the two defining moments of the match.
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The Blues remain unbeaten under interim boss Guus Hiddink, while Arsenal’s title hopes took a hit.
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Here’s a mark out of 10 for the players involved in this London derby.
Petr Cech – 7 -Made a smart stop at his near post early on and then saved from Costa at the near post
Hector Bellerin – 5 – Failed to get going in attack with Azpilicueta pushing forward, but solid enough defensively.
Per Mertesacker – 3 – Sent off for taking out Costa as the last man. Got caught wrong side and lack of pace exposed. No complaints.
Nacho Monreal – 5 – Supported Walcott whenever he could but defensively he was slow to get out to Ivanovic who crossed for Costa’s opener.
Aaron Ramsey – 5 – Struggled to impact the game from a deeper central role.
Mathieu Flamini – 6- Had two glorious chances, especially the second, but at least he was making surging runs into the box.
Mesut Ozil – 5 – Some clever balls early on but his influence evaporated as the game wore on.
Joel Campbell – 4 – Put in a shift but missed a good chance early on as he rushed his finish.
Theo Walcott – 5 – Captain for the day, Walcott looked dangerous with his darting runs in-behind but Arsenal’s midfield never found him.
Olivier Giroud – 3 – Subbed out for Gabriel after Mertesacker’s red card. Had few touches when he was on the pitch, but JT had him locked down.
Subs: Gabriel (on for Giroud, 22 mins) – 6 – dealt with Costa’s physical play better; Alexis Sanchez (on for Campbell, 57 mins) – 6 – On his return from injury more tracking back than attacking but made a difference. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Walcott, 75 mins) – 5 – Little time to make an impact.
Thibaut Courtois – 6 – Flapped at crosses twice in the second half, but Chelsea escaped. Kicking a little off but, overall, didn’t have much to do.
Branislav Ivanovic – 7 – Terrific cross for Costa’s goal and one of his better displays defensively this season.
John Terry – 7 – Led the defense superbly. Attacked balls in the air and totally nullified Giroud early on.
Kurt Zouma – 7 – Like Terry, a solid display. Vital block in the second half as a goalmouth scramble fell to Gabriel.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 6 – One of Chelsea’s most consistent performers this term. Dealt with threat of Campbell easily.
Nemanja Matic – 6 – Solid display in midfield and made a few forays forward to support Fabregas.
John Obi Mikel – 6 – Mr. Dependable once again. Kept the ball and broke up plays. Slots in with Matic well.
Oscar – 6 – Not his best display on the ball but lively early on and forced the issue.
Cesc Fabregas – 7 – Always wanted the ball and despite being booed by the home fans he clipped some great balls in-behind Arsenal’s defense.
Willian – 7 – Lovely through-ball for Costa in the red card incident and always looking forward.
Diego Costa – 9 (Man of the Match) – A constant pest. Costa showed Mertesacker a clean set of heels and got the Arsenal man sent off, plus he instinctively tucked home the only goal of the game. Fired up from the get-go and Arsenal, once again, couldn’t handle him. Subbed out with what looked like a slight hamstring issue.
Subs: Loic Remy (on for Costa, 68 mins) – 5 – Lead the line well after Costa was replaced. Eden Hazard (on for Oscar, 77 mins) – 5 – Was at the heart of a few counters on his return from injury.