Arsenal weren't able to follow up their excellent performance against Manchester City from last week with another performance of equal quality on Saturday. It appeared coming into their home match against Chelsea that the Gunners were building up momentum and looking to make a run at the top of the Premier League table, but they hit a brick wall against the Blues, who ran out fairly comfortable 2-1 winners.
Fernando Torres scored the opener after 20 minutes, turning in a free kick by Juan Mata, thanks to some terrible marking by Laurent Koscielny. The Arsenal defender had an absolute nightmare of the game, and it was his first of many errors and generally unfortunate moments. Two minutes after Torres' goal, he fell down on a ball over the top and allowed Torres to get through on goal, but the Chelsea striker whiffed on his shot.
Chelsea were the better side for most of the first half -- especially after Abou Diaby was forced out by an injury -- but the Gunners pulled a nice goal out of nowhere just before the end of the half. Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set it up, sending a low ball into the box for Gervinho, who scored on an excellent turn and shot.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, that would be the only positive contribution that Gervinho made to the game. It was a bizarre day for Torres and Gervinho, two players who generally contribute positively to their teams, but can't finish. Instead, both scored excellent goals, then proceeded to play very poorly for the rest of the match.
Chelsea's winner came on a free kick, and again Koscielny was partially at fault. The goal is currently being credited as a Mata goal, but it could be changed to a Koscielny own goal. After a Thomas Vermaelen foul, Mata took a free kick that looked like a cross, and not a shot, but it eluded his teammates. Koscielny had a chance to clear, but instead only got a slight deflection on the ball, which threw off Vito Mannone and prevented him from making a save.
Arsene Wenger responded with a couple of attacking substitutions that didn't really help, though the Gunners had chances to score. Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott did very little to help their team's cause after coming on. Arsenal did hit the woodwork twice in the match and forced Petr Cech into a couple of very nice saves, but looked mostly disorganized and lacking in ideas at the end of the match while they were chasing an equalizer.
With their win, Chelsea have padded their lead on the top of the table and will not be caught this week. Arsenal stay in fifth, and could potentially be passed by as many as five teams this weekend.