Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal: Handshakes, handbags

Date published: Saturday 19th September 2015 2:40

Kurt Zouma

Gabriel and Santi Cazorla were both sent off for Arsenal as they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in which both sides reached their respective peaks.

Centre-half Gabriel fell victim to Diego Costa’s latest rendition of sh*thousery, in which the Spaniard was seen flailing his arms in the face of Laurent Koscielny before pushing the Frenchman to the floor with his chest.

Costa’s misdemeanors caught the attention of Koscielny’s team-mate, and after the pair were booked for their parts in the ensuing row, Gabriel was then shown a straight red card after kicking out at the striker seconds later.

It ignited a lifeless game between the two sides in which neither truly tested the opposition, with Asmir Begovic and Petr Cech saving tame attempts in the opening 45 minutes from Theo Walcott and Pedro respectively.

With Francis Coquelin hauled off at the break to make way for Calum Chambers, the hosts started to grasp the initiative, and it was defender Kurt Zouma who scored his first ever Premier League goal from a Cesc Fabregas free-kick which broke the deadlock after 53 minutes.

Alexis Sanchez has a half-chance to equalise on the hour mark after defensive confusion between Zouma and Gary Cahill allowed the Chilean in, but he miscued his finish under pressure from Begovic.

Sanchez had a relatively subdued game up against under-fire Branislav Ivanovic, who bizarrely was not only not dropped but started as captain after John Terry was benched by Jose Mourinho.

As Arsenal laboured to create any meaningful opportunity when both a goal and a man down, Mourinho did what Mourinho does by replacing Oscar with Ramires after 70 minutes, thereby shutting up shop with a 1-0 lead at home against 10 men.

Arsene Wenger responded by taking off the disappointing Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, bringing on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud in their wake.

The changes hardly had the desired effect however, as Santi Cazorla was sent off for a second bookable offence just minutes later, with a heavily-deflected Eden Hazard strike in stoppage time handing Chelsea their first home Premier League win of the season.

John Obi Mikel was then brought on in stoppage time as Mourinho managed to lift a second finger to form a ‘V’ in the direction of Wenger.

The defeat represents Arsenal’s second of the week after their demoralising Champions League reverse against Dinamo Zagreb, while it is also their second league defeat of the season.

For Chelsea, this is only their second Premier League win of the season, and it lifts them up to 11th.

Of course, all this pales in comparison to the real story of the afternoon: Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger shook hands.

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