Premier League leaders Chelsea left Arsenal's title challenge reeling by beating the Gunners to increase the gap to 11 points on their London rivals. Didier Drogba guided an Ashley Cole cross into the top corner to put the visitors ahead.
Another Ashley Cole delivery was then diverted into his own net by Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen. Drogba put an elaborate seal on a deserved victory when he powered in a 25-yard free-kick late on.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had said the game was a moment for his players to show their strength but, instead, the defeat only served to blow a massive hole in his side's title credentials.
The last time they had been beaten at home was by Chelsea in May and, despite five free-scoring wins at the Emirates so far this season, the Blues again showed their power was superior to Arsenal's panache.
Wenger's side had quickly got into their passing stride but struggled to pierce the visitors' backline and Chelsea could have had an early penalty in their favour. Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka had a shot blocked by keeper Manuel Almunia when through on goal but, in the process, seemed to have been pulled down by Bacary Sagna.
There was little protest from Chelsea and they worked another opportunity which saw Drogba fail to get enough power on a header he angled straight at Almunia. For all their possession, Arsenal had little to show for it and they were handed the harsh lesson in the necessity of having a ruthless streak to their play.
Former Gunners left-back Ashley Cole responded to the boos greeting his every touch by curling in a cross which Drogba finished with aplomb for his ninth goal in his last nine appearances against Arsenal. Soon after, a whipped in Ashley Cole cross to the near post was diverted into his own net by Vermaelen as Arsenal were left stunned.
This was the cue for Wenger to introduce Theo Walcott and the Gunners thought they had pulled a goal back when Andrey Arshavin drove in a shot at the far post only for the goal to be disallowed for an earlier foul on Chelsea keeper Petr Cech by Eduardo.
The visitors boast the top-flight's meanest defence and showed why as they continually thwarted Arsenal to deny them any sort of a clearcut chance on the way to a fifth clean sheet on the trot. It was a defensive performance the home side might do well to take not of as they search to add the steel to their style that many critics argue they lack.
The Gunners were also clearly feeling the absence of injured striker Robin van Persie, who had scored two goals in a victory over Chelsea this time last year, as they lacked a cutting edge to their play. And, the home side almost fell further behind in bizarre circumstances. A Drogba strike ricocheted off Gallas and Frank Lampard and was set to creep into the bottom corner before Almunia palmed the ball wide.
But Drogba continued to prove a chief tormentor for Arsenal as he beat Almunia with a free-kick which gave him his 11th Premier League goal of the campaign and 14th in total. It was a three points earned with authority for Chelsea and proved the show of strength from them that Wenger was looking for from his side as the Blues also reinforced their position at the top of the table.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|