AT STAMFORD BRIDGE
CHELSEA 2 ARSENAL 0
LEADERS Chelsea moved five points clear at the Premier League summit after lethal frontman Diego Costa sealed victory for Jose Mourinho’s side in a bad-tempered London derby at Stamford Bridge yesterday.
Costa maintained his blistering goalscoring form by converting an inch-perfect pass from ex-Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas deep into the second period after Chelsea had seized the initiative with a first-half Eden Hazard penalty.
While victory ensured Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season continued, Arsenal slipped to their first league defeat as Arsene Wenger’s winless run against bitter rival Mourinho was extended to 12 matches.
Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez fired an early effort wide before Gary Cahill’s foul on the Chilean sparked a furious touchline confrontation between Mourinho and opposite number Wenger.
Midway through the half goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had to be withdrawn and was replaced by veteran stopper Petr Cech after failing to recover from concussion sustained in an earlier challenge with Sanchez.
Hazard provided the breakthrough in the 27th minute, his jinking run tempting Lauren Koscielny into a foul in the penalty area, and the Belgium winger himself coolly dispatching the spot-kick.
Arsenal penalty claims were turned down in the 64th minute despite Jack Wilshere’s shot from range striking the hand of Fabregas as the visitors failed to trouble Cech’s goal.
Chelsea settled matters 12 minutes from time when Costa sprinted onto Fabregas’ pinpoint through-ball and lobbed the advancing Szczesny with a clever right-footed finish for his ninth strike of the campaign.