Arsenal count the Costa in defeat to Chelsea
Matt Haynes | January 24, 2016
Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea
- Mertesacker dismissed for Arsenal
- Costa opens scoring
- Chelsea hold out for win
Visitors start fast
Arsenal, 15/8 to win the Premier League, may have been on a great run for the majority of the season, though normal service resumed at the Emirates, with the Gunners, once more losing to fierce rivals, yet, lowly Chelsea.
Seemingly not yet psychologically strong enough to overcome the record the Blues hold against them, Arsenal, again crumbled under the pressure, with a win needed in order to regain Premier League top spot.
As such, Chelsea flew out of the blocks with Willian and the returning Cesc Fabregas pulling all of the strings, with Arsenal appearing bystanders.
Midway through the half, the tone of the game changed, with Willian breaking again, releasing Diego Costa, who cut across Per Mertesacker, only for the German to slide in, clipping Costa in the process. Fans would have been forgiven for thinking they were at a West End play, for the amount of revolutions the centre forward made across the ground a clearly fabricated yell of anguish.
Subsequently, Mertesacker was sent off, Arsene Wenger bringing Gabriel Paulista on for the disgruntled Olivier Giroud to compensate.
Not long after, Chelsea made the advantage count and irony of ironies it was that man Costa, getting in front of his marker to turn in a Branislav Ivanovic cross.
Mathieu Flamini had the best chance of the half, following Theo Walcott being caught offside on numerous occasions, with the Frenchman’s delicate volley in the box beating Thibaut Courtois, though failing to find the goal on the stroke of half time.
Midfield battle reduces clear chances in second period
The second half was much of the same and while Arsenal tried to find an opening they looked devoid of imagination and one step behind.
Alexis Sanchez proved a catalyst when he came on, stringing moves together, though there was still no clear efforts at goal. Twice Arsenal had chances from goalmouth scrambles with Courtois failing to collect and fans must wonder how on earth they didn’t find the net.
With Arsenal pushing forward as the clock ticked down, Willian had an opportunity to round off the scoring on the counter-attack, though dragged his shot wide of Petr Cech’s goal.
The second period was ultimately a chess match, though truthfully, Chelsea’s checkmate was issued well over an hour earlier.