Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0
( Zouma 53, Hazard 90 )

As a spectacle, this game was effectively ruined just before half time with a controversial sending off. Referee Mike Dean produced a straight red card to Gabriel after he flicked a leg out at Diego Costa. The Spain striker himself was lucky to still be on the pitch having seconds earlier raised his hands to Laurent Koscileny. Gabriel got involved in that sorry episode, and as matters continued, the two appeared to exchange verbals, the prelude to the sending off. Matters deteriorated for Arsenal when Santi Cazorla was shown a second yellow card late in the second half for catching Cesc Fabrrgas. The Gunners were a goal down by then courtesy of a Kurt Zouma header. With the two man advantage, Chelsea later doubled their lead when Eden Hazard’s shot deflected in off substitute Calum Chambers and past the stranded Petr Cech. The game had long ceased to have been any kind of contest by then, and that was in no small way to some controversial officiating from Dean and his team, leaving Arsene Wenger furious with the antics of Costa

” If you look well at the pictures, what he does to Koscielny before he pushes him down, he hits him in the face before the throw and he always gets away with it. Honestly, it’s surprising. I don’t understand Mike Dean’s decision at all. Not on the sending off. Why does Diego Costa stay on the pitch?

” That Gabriel is sent off, okay, I accept. He has not to react at all. After that, I think on their first goal, I couldn’t see a free-kick against us,” said Wenger who invited Dean to look at reflect on the decision making.

Under pressure from a baying Blues mob, where Cesc Fabregas was chief instigator for the sending off of Gabriel, Dean, having missed Costa taking several swipes at Koscielny, reacted to pressure from the Chelsea players.

” Koscielny has no choice if you look well at the pictures. Gabriel is guilty of getting involved. He should not have responded at all. Look at the pictures. It tells you a lot on the slow motion. It is quite surprising. Before the cross comes in he hits him.” Asked for his opinion on why Costa seems to get away with his controversial antics, Wenger said

” I don’t know, it is a question you should ask Mike Dean. We expected that type of game. It is no surprise but you expect the referee to make the right decision. I don’t deny Gabriel deserves to be sent off, he deserves it. He goes down well from very little but he should not have done it and he deserves a red card, I agree. But you want the referee to make the right decision.” An FA look at events from Stamford Bridge now looks inevitable.

What wasn’t inevitable was the way in which Arsenal were beaten. Cech returned to the ground where he enjoyed 11 successful years, and some assured saves from Pedro, Hazard and Costa saw the Gunners comfortable early on. Theo Walcott had an early sighter from Mesut Özil’s pass, but his angle of shot allowed Asmir Begovic to comfortably collect.

Fabregas found Pedro, but again Cech held firm, as did Gabriel when Hazrad tried to wriggle his way past. With John Terry named in the subs bench, Zouma was Gary Cahill’s defensive partner. Six minutes before the break and Walcott was about to breach the Blues high line with a run on Begovic’s goal, but Zouma was fast enough to thwart that attempted break.

Arsenal emerged a man light for the restart and were soon a goal in arrears too. Zouma headed in from Fabregas’s free kick, with Nacho Monreal switching off his player at left back. Chambers had been brought on for Francis Coquelin, as the home some again went close when Cech saved from Hazard again.

Begovic cannot have anticipated such a comfortable afternoon. Expect for a late move when Aaron Ramsey had a chance blocked by the Bosnian keeper after Walcott headed back a cross from substitute Olivier Giroud, Begovic wasn’t put under any pressure. Arsenal were down to nine men by then when Cazorla caught Fabregas and Dean got out a second yellow card for that challenge. Leaving Wenger to reflect on another poor showing from one of England’s top referees.

” It is about making the right decision. That is all you want. It is nothing to do with strength, they are professional people that just need to make the right decisions.

” I do not want to judge overall. I just think today that it is surprising that Diego Costa got away with what he did. At half-time we get a red card but he stays on the pitch. Overall I do not want to judge Mike Dean because I do not watch all the games that he referees.

” There is nothing to say. I think it made it difficult in the second half. It was 0-0 at half-time and in the second half Chelsea had to come out much more. I still feel we controlled the game quite well, even with 10 against 11, but we conceded a goal on a set-piece and that is a frustrating thing. When it is 0-0 and you lose a game from a set-piece when it is 10 against 11, then it is very difficult. The final 20 minutes of the game we came back into the game but we got Cazorla sent off, then it is game over,” concluded Wenger after Arsenal’s first away defeat of the season.

He and the rest of football will not have been too enamoured with events at Stamford Bridge. The FA have to now be firm and review elements of the Costa game that have no place anywhere in football.