Chelsea surge clear with convincing win over Arsenal

Arsenal 0 Chelsea 3

Chelsea tightened their grip on top spot in the Barclays Premier League and put a massive dent in Arsenal's own title ambitions with a convincing win at Emirates Stadium.

The Blues, then under Guus Hiddink, were the last team to beat the Gunners on their own ground, ripping them apart 4-1 here in May.

While this encounter was nowhere near as much a one-sided affair, it still highlighted the gulf between the two sides' ability to produce a big performance when required.

Chelsea - who restored their lead on Manchester United to five points - grabbed a brace at the end of a first half in which Arsene Wenger's men had enjoyed plenty of possession, but without really troubling Petr Cech.

The Gunners were made to pay when Didier Drogba converted Ashley Cole's low centre, and Thomas Vermaelen's own goal effectively killed off the contest before the interval, with the Ivory Coast striker drilling in a late free-kick to seal matters.

There is, of course, plenty more football to be played before they crown the 2010 champions, but even with a match in hand, it is difficult to see Wenger's young squad - without Robin van Persie until at least April - clawing back what is now an 11-point deficit, and indeed they could still face a battle to secure a top-four finish.

Arsenal may have dedicated this afternoon's match to their charity of the season at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, but there was little compassion shown towards former Gunner Ashley Cole, who was resoundingly booed every time he touched the ball.

It had been a bright start from the hosts, with Bacary Sagna's deep cross flicked back into the penalty area by Andrey Arshavin, but Cesc Fabregas was unable to make decent contact.

Eduardo almost robbed England captain John Terry on the edge of the Chelsea box, but Ricardo Carvalho cleared the loose ball.

Chelsea, though, looked dangerous on the break and were somewhat unfortunate to see Drogba's run clear onto a pass from Joe Cole halted by an offside flag.

Nicolas Anelka, whose big break came at Arsenal, then went down in the penalty area as he got ahead of Sagna, but referee Andre Marriner was not interested.

There was a brief stoppage in play when the referee removed an object, which looked like a fake camera, which had been thrown on in the direction of Frank Lampard, the England midfielder fit again following a thigh injury.

Arsenal had plenty of possession, but lacked spark in the final third, with the absence of Dutch forward Van Persie painfully clear.

It was no real surprise when Chelsea went ahead on 41 minutes.

Terry played in Ashley Cole down the left, and he whipped a low centre across the six-yard box, where Drogba got in between the static Arsenal centre-backs to steer the ball into the net off the angle of post and bar.

Before Wenger could regroup his team in the dressing room, it was 2-0.

Cole was again the provider, as this time his ball from the left was deflected into the Arsenal net off Vermaelen's shin.

Wenger had to do something to inject fresh life into his shell-shocked side, and it came in the form of England forward Theo Walcott, defensive midfielder Alex Song the man sacrificed.

Arsenal certainly had more urgency following the restart, and thought they had a goal back when Arshavin smashed home from close range - but the effort was ruled out for a high boot from Eduardo on Cech.

Chelsea almost grabbed a fortunate third goal when Drogba's shot deflected off William Gallas and then Lampard, but Manuel Almunia made a quick change in direction and touched the ball around the post.

Arsenal were getting desperate and called for what would have been a harsh penalty as substitute Carlos Vela went down under a challenge from Branislav Ivanovic.

On 71 minutes, Ashley Cole was replaced by Paulo Ferreira, the England defender clenching his fists towards the travelling Chelsea fans as he left the pitch, before heading straight down the tunnel.

Arsenal threatened, but once again lacked a decisive pass at the key moment.

Drogba wrapped things up for Carlo Ancelotti's men when he smashed in a 25-yard free-kick with four minutes left.

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments