Match ends, Chelsea 2, Arsenal 0.
- Chelsea five points clear at the top
- Costa scores ninth goal in seven league games
- Wenger not beaten Mourinho in 12 attempts
- Eden Hazard scores second goal of the season
Chelsea cemented their position at the top of the Premier League with victory over Arsenal as Arsene Wenger's winless streak against Jose Mourinho was extended to 12 games.
The old adversaries squared up in an ugly first-half moment when Wenger shoved Mourinho in the chest in Chelsea's technical area after Gary Cahill's challenge on Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
A semblance of order was restored although the tension still resurfaced - but as so often, it was Mourinho who had the last word with a win that puts the Blues five points ahead of second-placed Manchester City.
Eden Hazard's first-half penalty put them on their way after he was fouled by Laurent Koscielny, while Diego Costa's ninth goal in seven games since his £32m summer move from Atletico Madrid wrapped up the win.
This never threatened to be a repeat of Chelsea's 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March that marred Wenger's 1,000th match in charge of the Gunners, but there was rarely a moment when his side threatened to end his dismal sequence against Mourinho as they suffered their first league loss of the season.
The home side may not have produced the flamboyant football that has featured in some of their play this season, but the old steel at the back is still in evidence and, in Costa and former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas, they have acquired a potent partnership.
|Phil Neville: "There was not much between the two teams but what we saw is that Blues boss Jose Mourinho still knows how to win the big games.|
|"As well as the way Mourinho set Chelsea up and how hard his players worked, I am talking about the little niggly challenges his side kept making, mainly off the ball."|
|Read more: 'How crafty Chelsea stopped Arsenal rhythm'|
Costa's goalscoring has caught the eye but the wonderful raking pass from Fabregas that set up the second goal silenced the taunts aimed from the visiting fans and was his seventh Premier League assist of the season.
It was the crowning moment of a Chelsea performance that was ruthlessly efficient and sounded an ominous note to those hoping to stop Mourinho reclaiming the Premier League title this season.
Chelsea even survived the early loss of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was taken off before half-time and replaced by Petr Cech after taking a bang on the head in a collision with Sanchez, with the Belgian taken to hospital as a precaution.
Courtois's problems started when he raced out to beat Sanchez to a through ball and there was an accidental clash between the pair - the young goalkeeper recovered after being flat out but was unable to complete the half, the Chelsea medical team eventually signalling to Mourinho that he need to be replaced.
If the action on the pitch took time to get going, there was no time-wasting between Mourinho and Wenger as their obvious personal animosity quickly boiled over.
Wenger took exception to Mourinho giving his view on Cahill's tackle on Sanchez, marching menacingly into the Chelsea technical area before giving his counterpart a very clear two-handed shove in the chest.
Mourinho, not surprisingly, was unimpressed and it took the intervention of fourth official Jon Moss to at least restore a small measure of calm between the pair.
|Player||Team||Total goals after first seven Premier League games|
|Mick Quinn||Coventry City (1992-93)||10|
|Diego Costa||Chelsea (2014-15)||9|
|Sergio Aguero||Manchester City (2011-12)||8|
|David White||Manchester City (1992-93)||7|
|Jurgen Klinsmann||Tottenham Hotspur (1996-97)||7|
|Francesco Baiano||Derby County (1997-98)||7|
|Papiss Cisse||Newcastle (2011-12)||7|
Arsenal had acquitted themselves well without putting Chelsea under serious pressure, but were unlocked by the pace and trickery of Hazard to go behind after 27 minutes. Koscielny had no other answer to the Belgian's run into the area than to stick his leg out and bring him down, with Hazard recovering his poise to score from the spot.
Chelsea, while not being at their best, had restricted Arsenal to the extent that the visiting attacking threat was non-existent, but the Gunners had a genuine grievance when Fabregas stopped Jack Wilshere's shot from the edge of the area with raised arms just after the hour, only for referee Martin Atkinson to remain unmoved.
And while Chelsea were resolute in defence, there remained the ever-present threat of Costa. He had barely been in the game but pounced to put the match out of Arsenal's reach with 12 minutes left.
|Costa's clinical finishing|
|Chelsea striker Diego Costa has had 19 shots this season, 16 of them have been on target with nine resulting in goals.|
Fabregas, as he has been so often this season since joining Chelsea from Barcelona in the summer, was the creator, as a long pass sent Costa beyond Arsenal's defence to lift a finish over Wojciech Szczesny.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho:
"The start of the season is good, but it's just seven matches and beginning of October.
"'I'm even more pleased to win because we played against a good Arsenal. They played a good game and gave us a difficult game.
"We were able to deal with it without problems, which is fantastic. When we were 1-0 up the game was almost in the pocket."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
"It was a very intense game and very tight as well.
"It was about not making a mistake and not giving the first goal away. After that we were 1-0 down.
"We had good opportunities in the first half and we have to turn these into dangerous situations and finish them.
"After that in the second half it was all us and we were a bit unlucky. We made a mistake on the second goal, and the second goal killed the game off."
- 13CourtoisSubstituted forCechat 24'minutes
- 2IvanovicBooked at 53mins
- 24CahillBooked at 20mins
- 14SchürrleBooked at 66minsSubstituted forMikelat 69'minutes
- 8OscarBooked at 86minsSubstituted forWillianat 87'minutes
- 10E Hazard
- 19Diego Costa
- 3Filipe Luís
- 21ChambersBooked at 22mins
- 6KoscielnyBooked at 27mins
- 10WilshereSubstituted forRosickyat 83'minutes
- 19CazorlaSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 69'minutes
- 17SánchezSubstituted forPodolskiat 79'minutes
- 23WelbeckBooked at 90mins
- Martin Atkinson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Chelsea 2, Arsenal 0.
Offside, Chelsea. Branislav Ivanovic tries a through ball, but Diego Costa is caught offside.
Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).
Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Calum Chambers (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Kieran Gibbs.
Attempt blocked. Lukas Podolski (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Mesut Özil.
Substitution, Chelsea. Willian replaces Oscar.
Oscar (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Oscar (Chelsea).
Attempt missed. Lukas Podolski (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Mesut Özil with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by John Obi Mikel.
Substitution, Arsenal. Tomas Rosicky replaces Jack Wilshere.
Attempt missed. Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Danny Welbeck.
Substitution, Arsenal. Lukas Podolski replaces Alexis Sánchez.
Goal! Chelsea 2, Arsenal 0. Diego Costa (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas with a through ball.
Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Diego Costa (Chelsea).