Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Score, Analysis and Grades

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Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Score, Analysis and Grades
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Chelsea won their fifth match in six Premier League clashes overall when they topped Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

The home squad squandered multiple chances and had one too many lapses in front of goal, surrendering gut-wrenching scores from Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.

Torres opened the scoring with a tremendous volley in the 20th minute. The ball drifted past the reach of Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone and left defender Laurent Koscielny with lots of explaining to do for his defensive lapse. 

After another amazing run by Torres that ended in a controversial no-call, Gunners striker Gervinho took a rare opportunity to shoot inside the box and leveled the match at 1-1 with a sweet turn-around blast high into the net above Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.

After halftime, Chelsea came out pushing the pace and got an early go-ahead goal from Juan Mata, who put a tricky free kick on goal. Koscielny was once again in the wrong place at the wrong time and knocked the ball past Mannone and into the goal.

Mata's 53rd-minute goal put the Blues ahead 2-1, and they would never look back. Arsenal had plenty of chances, notably a shot right past the post by substitute Olivier Giroud late in the match.

The Gunners had 17 shots compared to just 10 from Chelsea. One would have to consider Arsenal unlucky to get one goal from their four hits on target. 

The defeat is Arsene Wenger's first this season, while Chelsea move further ahead at the top of the EPL table with 16 points in six matches. 

 

Grades

 

Fernando Torres, Chelsea: A

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The Spanish frontman ignited the scoring and gave Chelsea a 1-0 lead with a brilliant volley in the 20th minute. He fought through the contact of Koscielny and gave the Blues a much-needed fast start on the road.

Torres was active throughout the match, keeping Arsenal's defense on their heels after demonstrating his talents early in the first half.

 

Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal: D

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny played a vital role on both Chelsea goals. In the first half, his inability to locate the ball on a free kick resulted in the Torres goal. In the second half, Koscielny tapped in a free kick from Juan Matta, giving Chelsea a 2-1 lead. 

To add insult to injury, Koscielny took a brutal headbutt from a teammate in the process of defending a late free kick.

 

Gervinho, Arsenal: B

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Gervinho had three goals coming into Saturday's match. He added to his tally with a wonderful turn-around strike in the box in the 42nd minute to level the match at 1-1. It was a much-needed score for the Gunners and gave them hope going into halftime.

With the score ending 2-1, Gervinho's goal showed just how difficult it is to score on a defensive-minded team as talented at the back as Chelsea. Still, he could have done more to help Arsenal earn a draw at home.

 

Juan Mata, Chelsea: A

Mata did well to put his second-half free kick on target, but it was Laurent Koscielny who did poorly to clear the ball. Mata was a force in midfield for the away side, though, making purposeful runs and dictating the pace to the Arsenal defense.

In the end, Mata's goal was the difference in the match and helped Chelsea to a hard-fought three points in the EPL table. 

 

Eden Hazard, Chelsea: B

The 21-year-old forward consistently forced the issue for Chelsea on Saturday, making superb runs with the ball and bringing an awesome energy to the pitch for the away side. The youngster drew five fouls in the first half alone. 

Hazard really stood out in midfield for Chelsea, showing why head man Roberto Di Matteo has so much confidence in him in big matches. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter for more EPL conversation, take and reaction. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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