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Costa strikes again to hand victory to Chelsea against Arsenal

Diego Costa put the game beyond doubt 12 minutes from time as Chelsea recorded a comfortable 2-0 win over London rivals Arsenal, with Coral now offering an odds-on price of 1/2 on them winning the title as a result.

Although the debate over the Brazilian-born Spain striker’s fitness rumbles on, the 25-year-old struck for the ninth time in the Premier League this season. The Gunners offered very little in terms of resistance throughout the match; the Blues organisation in defence proving hard to break down. Jose Mourinho has got his team playing as unit, and there are similarities in this squad to the one that he won the title with in his first season in England.

Without a doubt the defining factor is the work-rate of all XI players on the pitch, and like a Mourinho team, they are well organised, everyone knows their role and they penetrate with purpose. Case in point: Eden Hazard, just before the half hour mark, took the ball and danced into the area, only to be brought down by Laurent Koscielny, who dived in to hand the home side a penalty and receive a yellow card for his troubles. Hazard got to finish what he started and coolly slotted the ball to the left of Wojciech Szczesny.

Five minutes earlier, however, Hazard’s compatriot and Blues goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was lucky not to be knocked out, after the side of his head clashed with Alexis Sanchez’s knee, with the Chilean chasing a through ball. He did well to get to his feet and stay on the field, though the decision was made just a few minutes later, when it was deemed he was unfit to play on.

Chelsea seemed content to defend a lead, with Arsenal offering very little going forward. Jack Wilshere, and Sanchez had the best chances for the visitors, though the Blues appeared to be one step ahead of the game, with the Gunners perhaps lacking the dynamism offered by Aaron Ramsey who missed the game through injury.

Then with 12 minutes left to play, Cesc Fabregas returned to haunt his former club. With the home side on the counter attack, the Spaniard received the ball in his own half, and didn’t even need to look up. A trademark flighted dink split the defence with Costa timing his run to perfection. His first touch brought it down, and with another he lifted the ball over the helpless Szczesny to double the advantage, and put his team five points clear in the title race.