Juan Mata's excellent free-kick on twenty minutes found a resurgent Torres toe-poking the ball into the back of the net, and we were one nil up away from home. Albeit slightly against the run of play.
Some sloppy decision making from an otherwise mighty JT just before half time (he moved toward the goal instead of staying with Gervinho) found us going into the break all square. Which on the balance of play was about right.
The Gunners started the second half in top gear, and we were very much on the back foot (though never truly overwhelmed). That was until another Mata free kick from about 35 yards out found Vito Mannon in the Arsenal goal in two minds. An outstretched leg from defender Laurent Koscielny took the decision out of his hands, and just like that we were 1 v 2 up.
From there it was a fairly even (and exciting) game, with the action moving quickly from one end of the field to the other. If anything Arsenal probably shaded things (quality wise), as they were getting into some very dangerous positions and whipping in lots of crosses (I know, I know, very un-Arsenal!), especially down the right. On another day they could've got 2 or 3. Cech made up for a poor effort on their first goal with a couple of wonder saves during Arsenal's second half onslaught. But aside from those scares we were pretty solid in defense, and looked increasingly comfortable on the ball.
The downside of this game is that we didn't create a single chance / shot on goal from open play, the ENTIRE game (one off-side shot from Torres aside). And that has to be worrying for the manager. Because with the attacking players we've got now, we should be at least making their keeper work for a living. Teams like Bolton and Stoke may rely on set-pieces, but Chelsea certainly shouldn't.
Other things of note to take away from this game include: Oscar looked well off the pace (conceding needless fouls all the time as a result), and gave the ball away far too often. As did Luiz. No surprise there of course, because if there were Opta stats for his pass completion rate for passes over 10 yards, it would be ABYSMAL. And when you throw into the equation the amount of times Luiz gets caught the wrong side of the attacker, you have to wonder why on earth the manager doesn't start Cahil with JT instead.
These minor niggles aside though, today was job done against a very capable opponent. And with Man Utd losing at home to Spurs, we now move three points clear at the top of the table.
Brian M Logan