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Mata winner gives Terry lift

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29 Sep 2012 15:20:02

Mata winner gives Terry lift

Chelsea captain John Terry came through a hostile reception at Arsenal as the Blues consolidated their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League with a 2-1 win courtesy of Juan Mata's second-half goal.

Fernando Torres fired Chelsea ahead following some poor marking by Laurent Koscielny and Juan Mata's free-kick squirmed in to secure three points for the European champions after Gervinho had equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Former England skipper Terry was earlier this week found guilty of using racist language towards Anton Ferdinand by a Football Association hearing but could still appeal a verdict which saw him banned for four matches and fined £220,000.

Arsenal had made a lively start and on 11 minutes Abou Diaby created space for himself 20 yards out and shot fiercely at Petr Cech. However, the midfielder's injury jinx struck again as he was soon replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Chelsea took the lead on 20 minutes with a brilliant finish from Torres. A free-kick from Mata on the right was floated through the Arsenal penalty area towards the far post. Koscielny was wrestling with Torres, but the Spaniard was still able to hook the ball back into the net.

Before Arsenal could regroup, they were almost 2-0 down. Torres robbed Koscielny out on the left and tumbled as he darted into the penalty area. Torres claimed his heel had been clipped by Koscielny but referee Martin Atkinson was having none of it.

Oscar went into the notebook after another poor challenge on Mikel Arteta, who played a key role in the Gunners' equaliser after 42 minutes.

Patient build up from right-back Carl Jenkinson fed the ball back to Arteta, and he slipped Oxlade-Chamberlain down the flank. His low centre across the six-yard box was collected by Gervinho, who had sidestepped Terry and blasted a shot into the roof of the net.

Arsenal started the second half brightly, with Santi Cazorla snatching at an angled drive which flew wide. However, the Gunners were undone again in the 53rd minute. Once more Mata's curling delivery caused panic in the Arsenal penalty area - and a backtracking Koscielny helped the ball on with the slightest of touches into the corner past Vito Mannone's dive.

As the match entered the final 10 minutes, Olivier Giroud had a golden chance to snatch an equaliser in stoppage time, but was forced wide by Cech and could only smash his shot into the side netting.


PA

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