Chelsea made it 12 games unbeaten as they ended Arsenal’s unbeaten start to the season at Stamford Bridge.
Arsene Wenger and his men made the short trip across London with low expectations, despite their prolific summer spending.
With Jose Mourinho’s side unbeaten in more than 10 Premier League, League Cup and Champions League games, few had tipped Arsenal to take anything away from Stamford Bridge, a ground which has become unhappy haunts for the Gunners in recent years.
The match, billed as the Cesc Fabregas show with the Wenger versus Mourinho subplot – began brightly as the Spainard settled into his now familiar role alongside Nemanja Matic in midfield as 8 in 7 striker Diego Costa also started.
It was not long until the old feud was ignited. Wenger, reacting to a poor Gary Cahill challenge on Alexis Sanchez, encroached into Mourinho’s technical area resulting in handbags between the two experienced managers before fourth official Jon Moss separated the two.
The tension on the sidelines was reciprocated on the pitch, as few clear-cut chances were carved out in the opening exchanges.
Chelsea were dealt a blow in the first half as Belgian goalkeeper Tibaut Courtois was forced off with a concussion after colliding with Sanchez, as the Chilean raced onto a through ball. Petr Cech came on to earn his first Premier League minutes of the campaign.
However, Chelsea recovered to take the lead just before the half hour mark. The impressive Hazard turned in Arsenal’s half and drove into the area and toward the clumsy Laurent Koscielny – who was lucky not to be classed as the last man by referee Martin Atkinson.
Hazard, who had never missed a penalty in the Premier League, sent Szczesny the wrong way to bring Stamford Bridge to its feet.
Chelsea frustrated Arsenal for long periods, with midweek match-winner Matic impressive. However the North Londoner’s had a good appeal for a penalty of their own turned down as Fabregas high hand deflected a Jack Wilshire effort.
Defensively infallible, Chelsea made the game theirs in the 78th minute as the ineffective Diego Costa clinically dispatched after being fed through by Fabregas.
Costa has now scored nine times with 16 shots in the Premier League and is second only to ex-Newcastle forward Micky Quinn as the most goals in his first ten games of the Premier League.
Arsenal, who spent over £65 million pounds in the summer, haven’t been able to acquire the talents of Costa and Fabregas, who have been revelations in the Premier League since their summer moves from La Liga.
After the match, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said: “The start of the season is good, but it’s just seven matches.
Arsenal played a good game and gave us a difficult game – but when we were 1-0 up, the game was almost in the pocket.”
Aversery Arsene Wenger said: “It was a very intense game – it was about not making a mistake and giving away the first goal.
After we were 1-0 down, we were unlucky. The second goal killed the game off.
Chelsea face another London side in Crystal Palace after the international break.