Chelsea cement top spot
London - Chelsea cemented their position on
top of the Premier League as Juan Mata inspired a 2-1 victory over
London rivals Arsenal on Saturday.
Roberto di Matteo's side moved
four points clear of second placed Manchester United, who host Tottenham
in Saturday's late game, thanks to Mata's second half winner after
Gervinho had cancelled out Fernando Torres's opener.
Chelsea captain John Terry had to endure taunts from Arsenal fans after
this week's FA verdict that he was guilty of racially abusing QPR's
Anton Ferdinand in a Premier League match last October.
had the last laugh as Chelsea, unbeaten in the league this season,
secured their first win at the Emirates Stadium since November 2009 and
handed the Gunners their first league defeat of the campaign.
was a big challenge to play against a quality side like Arsenal," said
Chelsea manager di Matteo. "We are very pleased, we were excellent today
and deserved the win.
"Fernando Torres was excellent, his
contribution was very good. It was right to pick John Terry, he showed
his leadership again today.
"We pressed Arsenal and didn't allow them to find their rhythm," the former Chelsea and Italy midfielder added.
"We have one of the best goalkeepers in the world and (Petr Cech) that is why he is with us. He made two saves.
didn't just come and sit back we took the initiative and took the game
forward. We have a few knocks and bruises but we will assess them all
before the Champions League game."
The Blues took the lead in the
20th minute when Spain forward Torres produced an instinctive
close-range volley from Mata's free-kick.
After a slow start, Arsenal finally found some momentum towards the end of the half and equalised in the 42nd minute.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain whipped in a low cross from the right flank,
Chelsea's defenders were caught too deep and Ivory Coast striker
Gervinho took advantage of the space with a quick turn and blistering
finish into the roof of the net.
But Mata put the European
champions back in front as the Spanish midfielder's 53rd minute
free-kick curled across the penalty area and glanced in off Arsenal
defender Laurent Koscielny.