Chelsea claim fourth straight win over Arsenal

Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0

Chelsea moved four points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League after a goal in each half from Didier Drogba and Alex earned them a vital victory over London rivals Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.

Drogba backheeled Ashley Cole's low cross into the net at the near post five minutes before the break for his 13th goal against Arsene Wenger's side in 11 starts.

Defender Alex settled the contest with a powerful 30-yard free-kick in the 85th minute to hand the Gunners their second successive league defeat.

The tempo was set when Arsenal almost took the lead in the opening minute, with Bacary Sagna's.right-wing cross headed just wide by Marouane Chamakh.

Referee Mike Dean adjudged that the ball had deflected off a Chelsea defender and when the corner found its way into the six-yard box, Lauren Koscielny headed over from two yards out.

It was a wake-up call for the home side who responded with a Drogba free-kick that ballooned over the crossbar.

In the ninth minute, Chelsea almost opened the scoring when John Terry found Florent Malouda in the inside left channel but the France international's audacious chip was just over.

Arsenal hit back immediately with Andrey Arshavin forcing Petr Cech into a save when he cut inside from the left wing and unleashed an angled drive.

In the 19th minute Chelsea squandered another chance to open the scoring when Michael Essien rose unmarked in the six-yard box but headed Drogba's corner wide of the target.

Cech saved Chelsea in the 28th minute when he dived to his left to tip Arshavin's fierce 20-yard drive around the post.

Arsenal were enjoying as much of the possession as their hosts and Samir Nasri was a yard wide after outwitting the Chelsea defence on the edge of the penalty area.

Chelsea's frustration was growing and it was made worse then Drogba and Malouda were spotted arguing with each other in midfield.

But it clearly had an effect as in the 34th minute Lukasz Fabianski pulled off a great save to deny Drogba after the Ivory Coast striker had been put in the clear by Essien.

It was end-to-end stuff and a typical fast-flowing London derby that had everything but a goal - until the 40th minute. It was no surprise when the scorer turned out to be Drogba.

It was a superb move which led up to his finish. A quick free-kick eventually saw Ramires put Cole through on the left and when the former Arsenal full-back crossed the ball, Drogba backheeled it into the net at the near post.

The Gunners should have equalised in the 58th minute when Chamakh opted to take one touch too many on the edge of the penalty area and Ramires was able to block the danger.

But Chelsea should have made it 2-0 moments later when Anelka robbed Sebastien Squillaci and rounded Fabianski but the France international sent his shot into the side-netting.

In the 64th minute, Cech was alert enough to take the ball off the feet of Chamakh after Nasri's clever ball looked to have put the Arsenal man in with a clear opportunity to score.

Arsenal replaced Abou Diaby with Tomas Rosicky in the 71st minute as they looked for more invention in front of goal - and Rosicky soon forced Cech into a fine save.

However, Chelsea wasted another chance to kill off the game in the 73rd minute when Anelka raced clear of the Arsenal defence but his shot was somehow kept out by Fabianski.

Chamakh failed to hit the target from six yards when he sent a firm header just past the right-hand upright with 10 minutes left - and five minutes later Alex put the outcome beyond doubt when he crashed a 30-yard free-kick into the roof of the net.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea