Premier League

Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Emirates Stadium
Diego Costa
Diego Costa scored his 10th of the season in the 23rd minute

Ten-man Arsenal missed the chance to go top of the Premier League as Diego Costa's winner gave Chelsea victory at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners never fully recovered from defender Per Mertesacker's 18th-minute red card, awarded by referee Mark Clattenburg after he hauled down Costa as the striker raced clear.

The revitalised Costa scored the decisive goal five minutes later, turning in Branislav Ivanovic's cross at the near post to make it nine Premier League games without defeat for Chelsea against Arsenal.

Arsenal's potency suffered after manager Arsene Wenger decided to replace striker Olivier Giroud and introduce defender Gabriel to compensate for Mertesacker's dismissal.

Analysis: Why Wenger was wrong to take off Giroud

Victory would have put Arsenal back on top but Chelsea survived in relative comfort to leave the Gunners in third place with Leicester City now holding a three-point lead over Manchester City at the Premier League summit.

Arsenal suffer pure frustration

Per Mertesacker is sent off

This was the day Arsenal were meant to lay the ghost of Chelsea, who went into this game unbeaten in their last eight Premier League games against the Gunners.

Chelsea very ambitious - Guus Hiddink

Even Wenger's bogey man, Jose Mourinho, was out of the picture after his sacking. Wenger has lost five and drawn six of eleven league meetings with his old adversary.

And yet it was the same old story for Arsenal as the frustration of their players and fans inside the Emirates reached boiling point long before the final whistle.

There was no shortage of spirit and endeavour from Arsenal in the face of the numerical disadvantage inflicted on them after Mertesacker's early red card.

If anything, it was inspiration and a little self-belief Arsenal lacked against a side that looked physically stronger in a game where Wenger's side was missing a warrior who could get in and among the visitors in those exchanges.

Their best effort of the match fell to Mathieu Flamini who attempted to convert Aaron Ramsey's through-ball with a kung-fu kick, where a header might have been more appropriate.

The result is hardly a terminal blow to Arsenal's ambitions but a wound inflicted in familiar fashion. It now remains to be seen how much of an after-effect there is.

Costa revival sparks Chelsea

Diego Costa goal
Branislav Ivanovic's pinpoint cross was converted by Diego Costa

Diego Costa suffered the abuse of Chelsea's fans in the aftermath of Jose Mourinho's sacking as they regarded his poor form and attitude as a key factor in the sacking of "The Special One".

The relationship is repaired now, with Costa regaining that mixture of marksmanship and menace that made him so significant in last season's Premier League title win.

Costa's near-post finish from Ivanovic's delivery was his sixth in eight games since Mourinho left - and it was not just that quality that helped Chelsea look much more like their old selves.

He got under the skin of Arsenal's players and fans, although he could hardly be blamed for his involvement in Mertesacker's red card when he was unceremoniously bundled over as he tried to race clear.

Costa departed to the resounding jeers of Arsenal's fans and cheers of Chelsea's supporters when he was replaced by Loic Remy after 68 minutes - job done and proof Hiddink's side are so much more effective when the Premier League's pantomime villain is on song.

Sanchez key to Arsenal title hopes

Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea: Red card was very harsh - Arsene Wenger

Having talked about the lack of warriors in Arsenal's line-up, one look at Alexis Sanchez back in action shows how he can fit the bill.

The huge roar that swirled around the Emirates when he emerged after 57 minutes to replace Joel Campbell was not simply out of a growing desperation as Arsenal struggled against Chelsea - it was a signal that so much of the rest of the Gunners' season rests on the shoulders of the world-class Chilean.

It was his first appearance since sustaining a hamstring injury at Norwich City on 29 November and it was understandable he looked a little rusty, but the strength, perseverance and sheer force of will to influence a game were still in evidence in this cameo.

This was a major setback for Arsenal's title hopes - but the return of Sanchez confirms all is not lost if they keep him fit.

Man of the match - Willian (Chelsea)

The Brazilian, arguably Chelsea's best player of the season so far, put in another good shift in midfield

The stats you need to know

  • Arsenal have now gone nine hours and 32 minutes without a Premier League goal against Chelsea
  • Chelsea are unbeaten in nine Premier League meetings with Arsenal (W6 D3)
  • Costa has scored six goals in six games under Guus Hiddink (all competitions)
  • Chelsea have won back-to-back Premier League away games for the first time this season
  • The Blues are on the current longest unbeaten run in the Premier League (W3 D4)
  • The Gunners have failed to score in consecutive league games for the first time since August 2012

What next?

The Gunners are at home to Burnley in the FA Cup next weekend, and the Blues are away at the MK Dons in the same competition.



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33Cech
  • 24Bellerín
  • 4MertesackerBooked at 18mins
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18Monreal
  • 20FlaminiBooked at 45mins
  • 16Ramsey
  • 28CampbellSubstituted forSánchezat 57'minutes
  • 11Özil
  • 14WalcottSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 75'minutes
  • 12GiroudSubstituted forGabrielat 22'minutes


  • 3Gibbs
  • 5Gabriel
  • 13Ospina
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 17Sánchez
  • 21Chambers
  • 35Elneny


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Courtois
  • 2Ivanovic
  • 5Zouma
  • 26Terry
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 12MikelBooked at 72mins
  • 21MaticBooked at 60mins
  • 22Willian
  • 4Fàbregas
  • 8OscarBooked at 11minsSubstituted forE Hazardat 77'minutes
  • 19Diego CostaSubstituted forRemyat 68'minutes


  • 1Begovic
  • 6Baba
  • 10E Hazard
  • 14Traore
  • 18Remy
  • 24Cahill
  • 36Loftus-Cheek
Mark Clattenburg

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamChelsea
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 0, Chelsea 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 0, Chelsea 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Kurt Zouma.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

  5. Post update

    Hand ball by Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal).

  6. Post update

    Offside, Chelsea. Nemanja Matic tries a through ball, but Loïc Remy is caught offside.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Héctor Bellerín with a cross.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Eden Hazard (Chelsea).

  10. Post update

    Mesut Özil (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by César Azpilicueta.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Eden Hazard (Chelsea).

  13. Post update

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal).

  16. Post update

    Offside, Chelsea. César Azpilicueta tries a through ball, but Loïc Remy is caught offside.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by César Azpilicueta.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. Eden Hazard replaces Oscar.

  19. Post update

    Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal).

As It Stood

2Man City23135545232244
5Man Utd2310762821737
6West Ham239953628836
11Crystal Palace2394102427-331
14West Brom237792230-828
20Aston Villa2327141838-2013
View full Premier League table

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