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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
September 29, 2012
• 7:45 AM
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 60101
Y. Gervinho 42'
Fernando Torres 20'
Chelsea become the first side to win at the Emirates for a third time, and in the process consolidate their position at the top of the table. Torres was a consistent outlet, Mata a creative spark, while Mikel and Ramires restrained Cazorla. The Chelsea defence performed very well as a unit, snuffing out any danger. A solid win for the league leaders.
Arsenal performed much better in the second half, retaining the ball with more ease, but rarely tested Cech. When they did, the Chelsea stopper was equal to the challenge. The Gunners missed Diaby, but could/should have equalised in injury time when Giroud was played in on goal.
FULL TIME!! It's all over. Chelsea extend their lead at the top of the table with a 2-1 win at the Emirates. Any reservations over the quality of opposition they've faced beforehand have been well and truly quashed with that performance.
90' + 4'
Mannone launches a free-kick towards the Arsenal box, but Chelsea clear and break. First Moses feeds Hazard, then Hazard releases Bertrand. The latter forces a corner, which Chelsea are in no hurry to take.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Ramires
90' + 1'
Gibbs comes infield and plays a reverse pass in behind the Chelsea defence for Giroud. The Frenchman is through, he takes a touch, steadies himself, and blasts the ball into the side-netting. A great chance for Arsenal wasted by Giroud.
Four minutes of stoppage time...
Arsenal are struggling to create any clear-cut chances against a deep Chelsea defence. Cazorla feeds Gervinho down the left, who returns the pass, but the Spaniard snatches at his shot and fires over the bar.
Chelsea are operating very defensively now, with Ryan Bertrand brought on to further solidify the defence. He's playing just ahead of Cole, with Moses switched to the right.
OFF THE POST!! Ramires gives away a free-kick on the edge of the box, and Cazorla's resulting cross is met by Koscielny. The Frenchman clatters his header against the post, but the linesmen's flag was raised for offside anyway.
A hobbling Luiz is replaced by Gary Cahill for the final ten minutes.
A delicate one-two on the edge of the box between Torres and Mata sees the latter brought down by Gibbs. The free-kick is in a dangerous position, but Mata fires his shot into the wall. Giroud headbutts Koscielny in his attempt to block the shot.
Gibbs is found in space about 35-yards out from goal. Ivanovic backs off, wary of the fullback's dangerous overlapping runs, so Gibbs takes a touch and fires a shot towards goal, but his effort his high and wide.
Terry meets a deep cross at the far post and heads back across goal. Moses is in space, with time, but attempts a rash 20-yard header and wildly misses the target.
Victor Moses, on for the peripheral Oscar, has lined up on the left wing. He's bringing more width and directness to Chelsea's offence already.
Giroud receives the ball in the box and, though he looks to be going away from goal, releases a shot which deflects off Luiz and floats high in the air, almost sneaking into the goal. Chelsea clear the subsequent corner.
Mata advances towards goal, cuts inside and looks to be about to curl a shot towards the far post, but Vermaelen makes an excellent tackle. Arsenal go up the other end and Cazorla threatens to shoot on the edge of the box but Chelsea's defence blocks the danger. The match is very open now.
Mikel has done an excellent job of containing Cazorla. The Nigerian has tracked Arsenal's playmaker, denied him space, pressured him on the ball and refused to allow him to control the match.
Ramsey, a source of great frustration for the home crowd, is replaced by Walcott, while Giroud comes on for Podolski. Wenger wants an equaliser.
Gibbs bursts down the outside of Ivanovic and whips a cross into the box. Luiz meets it but almost slices the ball into his own net. Chelsea clear the resulting corner.
Arsenal have had much better ball retention in the second half. But the more possession they have, the more opportunity Chelsea have to break. One such counter looks ominous for the Gunners, but Oscar slows down the move and overhits his through-ball.
Jenkinson has been an excellent attacking outlet for Arsenal. He's fouled on the edge of the box by Cole and Cazorla takes the resulting free-kick, but Chelsea clear the danger.
What a save by Cech! Gibbs crosses for Podolski, and the German's looping header looks to be going in until Cech dives through the air and pushes the ball clear. Arsenal retain possession and Ramsey attempts to drive the ball across goal but drags his shot wide.
Vermaelen has conceded two fouls which have resulted in goals, while Arsenal's defence has struggled to deal with the resulting crosses on both occasions.
Goal Juan Mata
GOAL!! Arteta loses possession and Ramires initiates a break, feeding Torres, but the striker is brought down by Vermaelen, who is yellow carded. Mata takes the resulting free-kick, and whips in a delicious cross towards the far post which evades everyone and nestles in the bottom corner. Koscielny may have got the slightest of touches, but Mata is claiming the goal.
Yellow Card Thomas Vermaelen
Podolski's intelligent run into the box is picked out by Gibbs. The German tries a pull back which is blocked into the path of Cazorla and the Spaniard's shot fizzes past the near post.
Yellow Card David Luiz
An overhit Chelsea corner reaches Oscar at the far post. He passes to Luiz, who tries to burst between two red shirts and dramatically falls to the ground. The Brazilian wants a penalty, instead he gets a yellow card for simulation.
Arsenal get the second half underway.
Arsenal have been unable to exert their usual dominance, with Chelsea edging the possession stats, and defended Torres' opener very poorly indeed. The Gunners have missed the physicality, power and gusto of Diaby in midfield. But they improved as the half continued, and scored an excellent equaliser.
Chelsea's front four have pressed well, affording Arsenal little time on the ball. They have retained the ball well and created a number of chances for Torres, though Hazard and Oscar have been slightly quiet around the final third. The Blues' defence looked very solid up until they conceded minutes before halftime.
HALFTIME!! Chelsea edged possession and took an early lead through Torres. But Arsenal, somewhat against the run of play, found a way back into the match with an excellent team goal finished by Gervinho.
45' + 3'
Torres and Oscar exchange possession in and around the Arsenal defence. Torres receives the ball, cuts inside and fires a shot into the side netting.
Arsenal suddenly have a stranglehold on the match. Jenkinson is marauding forward from deep, untracked, causing problems for a Chelsea defence that are counting down the seconds until half-time. The Blues need to regroup.
Assist Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
GOAL!! Jenkinson runs forward and back-heels for Arteta, who in turn feeds Oxlade-Chamberlain down the right. The English winger drills in a perfect cut-back for Gervinho. The Ivorian takes a touch on the penalty spot, swivels, and hammers a shot into the roof of the net. A really well worked goal.
Jenkinson runs forward from deep, offloading to Cazorla on the edge of the box. The Spaniard takes an out of character heavy touch, but squares the ball to Oxlade-Chamberlain. The winger sets himself to fire in a cross, but returned the ball to Cazorla whose shot is well blocked by the Chelsea defence.
Yellow Card Oscar
Gibbs totally overcommits allowing Hazard to race down the right. The Belgian reaches the byline and stops the ball dead, as Mertesacker slides past him, and then attempts an extravagant rabona cross which Mannone claims.
Yellow Card Aaron Ramsey
Gibbs steals possession from a ponderous Oscar and bursts forward before the playmaker fouls him. The Brazilian has been a passenger so far, miscontrolling the ball, losing possession and unable to affect the match.
Vermaelen, who gave away the free-kick that led to Chelsea's goal, picks up the ball just inside the opposition half and fires a hugely speculative shot towards Cech's goal. The Czech is untroubled.
An excellent cross reaches Gervinho at the back post. The Ivorian heads the ball back across goal and Terry calmly chests the ball back to Cech.
Arsenal win a free-kick in a similar position to that which Chelsea scored from, but Arteta's cross is headed clear by Luiz.
Oh Fernando! Arsenal looked to be laying siege to the Chelsea goal in search of an equaliser, but the Blues clear the ball. Koscielny retrieves it, only to be robbed by Torres. The Spanish striker is clean through on goal, but takes too long to release his shot and is eventually swallowed by a recovering Arsenal defence as he takes a horrible air kick. Torres claims Koscielny fouled him in the process, but the referee doesn't agree.
Assist Juan Mata
Goal Fernando Torres
GOAL!! Vermaelen brings down Hazard about 40-yards out from goal. Juan Mata takes the free-kick and whips in a dangerous cross to the far post. Torres, wrestling with Koscielny, manages to adjust his body and and maneuvers his foot around the French defender, stroking the ball into the back of the net at Mannone's near post.
Diaby has picked up an injury, forcing Arsenal into an early substitution. WIth no central midfielders on the bench, Oxlade-Chamberlain will replace the Frenchman and so Wenger has to reshuffle his team with Ramsey dropping back to partner Arteta.
Chelsea have had 60% possession so far. You don't often see that at the Emirates.
Diaby picks the ball up in the hole, about 30 yards out from goal. He takes a touch to set himself for a shot, but dummies, tricking the Chelsea defence, then hammers a shot at goal which is held by Cech.
Cazorla robs Ramires in midfield and feeds Ramsey. The Welshman drives forward and offloads to Gervinho. The Ivorian jinks forwards, feigns a stepover and then squares the ball for Cazorla on the edge of the box, but his shot goes high over the bar.
Both sides trying to establish their passing games as they fight for control of a congested midfield.
David Luiz takes a speculative 30-yard plus free-kick which bounces comfortably into the arms of Mannone. Chelsea quickly regain possession and Torres, breaking down the right channel, whips a dangerous low cross into the box which evades everyone.
Chorus of boos for both John Terry and ex-Gunner Ashley Cole when they receive the ball.
Chelsea get the game underway.
The teams are on the pitch at the Emirates, and we're just minutes away from kick-off.
Arsenal, markedly improved at the back under the coaching of Steve Bould, face a Chelsea defence that hasn’t conceded in 331 minutes of football. For all the attacking talent on display, this afternoon’s match represents a battle between two of the league’s meanest defences.
Couple of milestones at the Emirates this afternoon: Mikel Arteta will make his 250th start in English football, while Branislav Ivanovic makes his 100th start in the blue shirt of Chelsea.
John Terry returns to Chelsea’s defence, yet to begin his four match suspension for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, with Gary Cahill dropping to the bench. Frank Lampard finds himself on the bench once more, with Roberto Di Matteo continuing with his attacking trio of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard playing behind lone striker Fernando Torres.
Arsene Wenger makes just one change from the side that drew with Manchester City last week, as Thomas Vermaelen replaces Per Mertesacker in defence. Gervinho continues in his more central striker role. There’s no room in the starting XI for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Olivier Giroud, Andrey Arshavin or Theo Walcott, all of whom netted in Arsenal’s mid-week League Cup clash with Coventry.
CHELSEA: Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Mikel; Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres. SUBS: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Bertrand, Romeu, Lampard, Moses.
ARSENAL: Mannone; Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Diaby; Ramsey, Cazorla, Podolski; Gervinho. SUBS: Martinez, Mertesacker, Djourou, Santos, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's live play-by-play coverage of Arsenal v Chelsea. I’m Ewan Roberts and I’ll be guiding you through the next 90 minutes. First up, today’s line-ups…
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