Chelsea consolidated their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League with a 2-1 win that ended Arsenal’s unbeaten start.
Fernando Torres fired Chelsea ahead and Juan Mata's free-kick squirmed in to secure three points for the European champions after Gervinho had equalised on the stroke of half-time.
Arsenal made a lively start, as on 11 minutes, Abou Diaby created space for himself some 20 yards out and shot fiercely at Petr Cech. However, the French midfielder got injured and was soon replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Chelsea took the lead on 20 minutes with a brilliant finish from Torres. A free-kick from Mata on the right was floated through the Arsenal penalty area towards the far post. Laurent Koscielny was wrestling with Torres, but the Spaniard was still able to hook the ball back into the net.
Before Arsenal could regroup, they were almost 2-0 down. Torres robbed Koscielny out on the left and darted into the penalty area. However, as the Vito Mannone came out and he shaped to shoot, the Spaniard tumbled and Arsenal cleared.
Slowly Arsenal found their rhythm again. Gervinho was picked out at the far post and headed back across goal instead of at it. But the Ivorian soon equalised. After patient build-up play from right-back Carl Jenkinson who fed the ball back to Arteta, the Spaniard slipped Oxlade-Chamberlain down the flank. His low centre across the six-yard box was collected by Gervinho with his back to goal, and he turned to blast a shot into the roof of the net.
Arsenal started the second half brightly, with Santi Cazorla snatching at an angled drive which flew wide. However, the Gunners were undone again in the 53rd minute.
Once more Mata's curling delivery caused panic in the Arsenal penalty area and a backtracking Koscielny helped the ball on with the slightest of touches into the corner past Mannone's dive.
Arsenal had to regroup again, and were almost level when Cech brilliantly palmed away a looping header from Lukas Podolski.
Wenger had seen enough and made a double change after 66 minutes, bringing on Walcott for Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud, who scored his first Arsenal goal in the midweek Capital One Cup win over Coventry City, for Podolski.
Cech was on hand to palm away a deflected effort from Giroud as Arsenal looked for the equaliser. Gibbs tripped Mata on the edge of the penalty area to give Chelsea another dangerous piece. This time, though, his shot went straight into the wall.
As the match entered the final 10 minutes, Arsenal continued to press for an equaliser, but were frustrated by a combination of poor passing and determined defence.
Giroud had a golden chance to snatch an equaliser in stoppage time, but was forced wide by Cech and could only smash his shot into the side netting.
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|13 Apr 2013||v Norwich (H)|