Chelsea Beats Arsenal 2-1

Chelsea Beats Arsenal 2-1

Chelsea handed Arsenal its first loss of the season, winning 2-1 on Saturday to consolidate top spot in the Premier League.

A free kick that glanced off Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny into the net proved to be the winner in the 53rd minute, earning the European champions a fifth win in six league games and dealing a blow to one of their potential rivals for the title.

So solid at the back this season, Arsenal’s defensive vulnerability returned at Emirates Stadium, looking unsure at set pieces with Fernando Torres beating Koscielny to another free kick by Mata to give Chelsea the lead in the 20th.

“Defensively, we were not at the level we have to be in a game like this,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who may regret the decision to play Koscielny ahead of the in-form Per Mertesacker.

The spotlight was also on a center back for Chelsea, with John Terry playing just two days after being banned for four games for racially abusing an opponent in a league game last year.

With the defender contemplating whether to appeal the suspension, he remained available for Chelsea and shrugged off constant jeers from the home fans to deliver a largely composed display.

Terry was fooled by the good movement of Gervinho for Arsenal’s equalizer in the 42nd, however. The Ivory Coast international peeled off the former England captain before controlling a cross by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and slamming an unforgiving close-range finish high into the net, maintaining his improvement this season after being handed the center-forward berth by Wenger.

That was the first goal that Chelsea had conceded in four games but Roberto di Matteo’s side held on to secure victory in its toughest test yet this season, proving it has the mettle in defense and creativity up front to challenge the two Manchester clubs for the title.

“I’m very pleased today with our performance,” Di Matteo said. “We played against a very good team and we didn’t allow Arsenal to get in a rhythm.”

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