It's all smiles at Stamford Bridge again; Chelsea's lead atop the table stretching back to five points after an Arsenal performance of surprising discipline and maturity at the home of the champions, Manchester City.
The Gunners arrived with last season's drubbings at the Etihad (6-3), Stamford Bridge (6-0) and Anfield (5-1) fresh in the memories, but departed with a blueprint for future away games of significance.
City enjoyed 65% possession in the first half, but fashioned just the 1 attempt and trailed to Santi Cazorla's 24th-minute spot-kick after Nacho Monreal was upended by Vincent Kompany.
Manuel Pellegrini's men upped the ante after half-time and had their southern opponents on the back foot, but some slack marking at a set-piece allowed Olivier Giroud to double Arsenal's lead, and from there the north Londoners never looked like relinquishing the advantage.
Cazorla was imperious throughout. Not only did the Spanish schemer score one goal and set up the other, he was Arsenal's best passer (54/59), recovered the ball 10 times and a completed a game-high 10/14 take-ons, 8 of them inside his own half to help relieve pressure.
At the other end of the spectrum, Francis Coquelin provided the Gunners with some steel in midfield, making 10 ball recoveries, 6 interceptions and 11 clearances, as well as winning 7/8 of his aerial duels.
- Cazorla has scored 5 goals in his last 8 Premier League games, after failing to find the net in his preceding 27 appearances.
- Cazorla has scored 4 penalties in the Premier League this season, more than any other player.
- Arsenal’s penalty was only the second foul Manchester City had conceded in the game.
- Since he arrived in the Premier League at the start of 2012/13 season, Olivier Giroud has scored 11 headed goals, 2 more than anyone else.
- Alexis Sanchez has scored only four goals in 14 away games (all competitions) this season, compared to 14 in 16 home games.
- Before today Arsenal had taken only 7 points from their last 16 Premier League games vs Chelsea/Man City/Man United.
- Laurent Koscielny (2m 25s) collected Arsenal’s earliest card in a Premier League game since Robin van Persie was cautioned after 1m 56s against Liverpool in November 2006.
- City (48) and Arsenal (47) have received the second and third most yellow cards respectively in the Premier League this season. Sunderland have been shown 55.
- City had to wait until the 36th minute before having a shot, their latest opening shot at home in the Premier League since October 2012.
- The Citizens have conceded 2 or more goals in 3 successive Premier League home games for the first time since September-October 2002.
- City have not won any of the 4 Premier League games Yaya Touré has missed this season (D3 L1).
- Jesús Navas lost possession 36 times in this game, the most in a Premier League game by a City player since James Milner in September 2010 (40 times).
- Man City had 16 corners against Arsenal, the most since they won 19 vs QPR in the title-winning game in May 2012.