Chelsea vs. Arsenal: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
The Blues got out to a lead early to take control of the match. In the sixth minute, Cesar Azpilicueta set up Juan Mata perfectly with a long pass across the pitch. With only the keeper in front of him, the forward was able to finish to get the 1-0 lead.
Things got even worse for Arsenal when goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny earned a yellow card for a foul on Ramires in the 16th minute. Frank Lampard was able to score on the ensuing penalty shot to help his side go up 2-0.
This was the second league match in a row where an early mistake cost Arsenal. Against Manchester City, Laurent Koscielny earned a red card in the opening minutes, and it cost his club dearly in the 2-0 defeat.
The second half, however, was a different story. Arsenal came out strong and was able to score early on. Theo Walcott took a great pass from Santi Cazorla and put it past the goalie to finally get his club on the board.
Over the next 30 minutes, the Gunners played hard but were unable to get the equalizer before time ran out. Even with many good chances late, the second goal remained elusive.
With the loss, Arsenal is continuing a disappointing trend that has seen the club fall further away from the top of the league table. It remains in sixth place, a full 21 points away from Manchester United in first place.
If things continue at this pace, the club will miss out on not only the Champions League but the Europa League as well.
Chelsea is doing better than Sunday's opponent, but the club is still not reaching expectations. After getting off to a great start, it is still solidly in third place behind Manchester United and Manchester City.
Already in January, the Blues have a loss against QPR and a draw against Southampton. They better hope that this victory will be able to fuel this squad to more consistency in the future.
Juan Mata, Chelsea, B+
Although Juan Mata did not have his greatest day with the club, he made good runs throughout the match and continued to put pressure on the Arsenal defense from beginning to end.
He also started off the scoring with a goal at the sixth-minute mark, a play that ended up being huge in deciding the match.
Although he did not have many other big plays, this was a very balanced performance for the entire club without many standouts. However, Mata was the one that was able to get his club on the board early.
Fernando Torres, Chelsea: B
The streaky player played relatively well in passing and attacking, but he continued his struggles by being able to get many scoring chances.
Fernando Torres has not scored since Dec. 23, despite the fact he is one of the leading scorers for his squad.
If Chelsea wants to win trophies this season, it will need much more production out of one of the more talented forwards in the sport.
Theo Walcott, Arsenal: B+
After receiving a new contract, Theo Walcott proved why he deserved it with a very active second half. He scored in the 58th minute and remained active throughout the end of the match to give his side a chance at victory.
There have been a few games where the talented young player has seemed invisible on the pitch, so this was a good performance that should hopefully fuel him to be a leader in the future.
Unfortunately, it took until the second half to wake up and stay onside.
Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal: C
Although the keeper had played pretty well lately, this was not one of his best days.
Wojciech Szczesny was in trouble early, but he allowed two goals in the first 20 minutes, putting his squad in a deep hole in the match.
With better play early, this could have had a much different outcome.
Chelsea has an uphill battle in the second leg in the semifinals of the Capital One Cup. The squad must travel to Swansea City already down 2-0.
Arsenal gets right back into Premier League play with a home battle against West Ham United.
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