Chelsea vs Arsenal: Live Report

1533 GMT: Chelsea's Juan Mata, speaking on Sky TV, says: "It was a very, very good win. It was four or five games in a row we are not winning here at Stamford Bridge."

Frank Lampard takes the penalty kick which put Chelsea 2-1 up against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Chelsea achieve only their third home win under Rafa Benitez, hanging on victory after a spirited second half fightback by the visitors.

"Arsenal scored a beautiful goal by Walcott," Mata said, adding, however, that Chelsea were ready for the Arsenal fightback after the break.

"Top sides always try to win or at least draw."

1526 GMT: The result reinforces Chelsea's third place in the Premier League table, putting them five points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur though still six behind Manchester City in second place and ten adrift of leaders Manchester United.

Arsenal remain in sixth place, three behind Everton and six below Tottenham, so two places below the Champions League berths.

1524 GMT: Chelsea achieve only their third home win under Rafa Benitez, hanging on for a 2-1 victory over Arsenal after a spirited second half fightback by the visitors to Stamford Bridge.

95 mins: FULL-TIME: Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1

94 mins: In Arsenal's last chance, Wilshere nods a difficult header onto the top of Cech's net.

94 mins: Gary Cahill blocks a certain goal as Giroud slips a pass to Walcott right in front of the Chelsea net.

92 mins: Giroud is through again but once again he is on his own and has no-one to cross to.

90 mins: Five minutes of extra time.

89 mins: Giroud on his own up field puts in a surprise shot. Cech is alert is manages to block it.

86 mins: Ashley Cole gets a yellow card for a foul on Wilshire just outside the penalty area. Arsenal are awarded a free kick but no penalty.

84 mins: Almost immediately Ba bursts through the Arsenal defence and sensationally hurtles round Szczesny. Chelsea fans heave a sigh of disappoinment as Vermaelen intercepts the ball right on the goal line.

80 mins: Ba moved from Newcastle to Chelsea in the January transfer window and made an immediate impact for Chelsea when scoring twice in the 5-1 FA Cup third-round triumph at Southampton. He has opted out of playing for Senegal in the African Cup of Nations just starting in South Africa.

79 mins: Cheers from the Chelsea fans as Demba Ba comes on for Torres.

76 mins: A third break by Torres. This time he takes a shot himself though Bertrand, replacing Oscar, is nearby. It is the wrong option and Torres' attempt barely tests Szczesny. You certainly can't criticise Torres's work rate.

72 mins: A pitch inspection at White Hart Lane judges the surface playable so Tottenham's match against Manchester United will go ahead at 4 pm.

71 mins: This time Torres breaks down the right and looks to centre the ball to Mata. Sagna blocks the cross and ends the move.

68 mins: Classic solo run by Torres, easily outpacing Mertesacker. Alas, the ball runs slightly ahead of him and Szczesny grabs the ball.

64 mins: Walcott stays on his feet but stumbles after an Ashley Cole tackle, winning a free kick despite staying on his feet. Mata in anger kicks the ball away and earns a yellow card. Arsenal fail to profit as Cazorla's kick lands lamely among Chelsea defenders.

59 mins: Walcott thus not only lives up to his 100,000 pounds a week billing but shows that he can be highly effective down the middle, his preferred position.

58 mins: Cazorla puts Theo Walcott through right in the centre, he zooms through the Chelsea defenders and unleashes an unstoppable volley past Cech to bring Arsenal back into the match.

58 mins: GOAL! Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1

55 mins: Giroud is on the ball and almost through and Ivanovic tackles him backwards, as turning round might take too much time.

51 mins: The Arsenal fans are on their feet as their team start to fight back.

49 mins: The snow is thickening but Benitez is still just in his suit while Wenger is wrapped up warm in his usual insulated coat.

46 mins: A rare chance for Arsenal as Mertesacker strikes, forcing Cech to dive to his right to block the shot.

1430 GMT: Play resumes

1419 GMT: So, the weather is freezing and the Chelsea fans remain chilly towards Benitez but Chelsea's performance has been hot! Near-constant pressure has brought two goals, one a superb strike by Juan Mata and another an assured penalty conversion by Frank Lampard after Szczesny is adjudged to have pulled Ramires down in front of the Arsenal goal. Meanwhile, Arsenal have scarcley had a shot worthy of the name.

HALF-TIME: Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0

45+1 mins: Walcott makes a characteristic dash into a scoring position only to be ruled offside as the ball reaches him.

44 mins: Torres gets a chance. TV close ups show his foot slicing the ball away from goal. Oops! Let's be charitable. Maybe there was some snow on the ball.

43 mins: Yet another Chelsea atrack and Mata lobs the ball high from the right. Sagna, refreshed from his treatment, intercepts and clears the ball up field.

38 mins: Sagna limps off for treatment, though after a tough tackle he runs on for 10 yards before falling to the ground and clutching a calf.

35 mins: Ramies miskicks and blasts the ball high over the Arsenal crossbar.

34 mins: Just as I mention Giroud, he sets up an opportunity for Wilshere with a neat chip from a very deep position - very deep for a centre forward that is.

31 mins: It does seem odd, however, that Wenger still has Giroud at centre forward as sole striker, despite Walcott's stated wish to play down the middle instead of on the wing.

30 mins: Ashley Cole has created several genuine chances already for Chelsea, already justifying his expected new contract. At the other end, alas, Walcott has yet to show he is worth his reported mega new salary.

29 mins: Mertesacker deals with another piercing cross from Ashley Cole on the left.

27 mins: Vermaelen heads a Mata cross to safety but Chelsea's pressure is now continuous. Ashely Cole comes close with a chance.

21 mins: Arsenal fluff the chance from a corner as Cech leaps up to collect the ball and then it is Chelsea who threaten, though the ball eventually slips over for a goal kick.

18 mins: Lampard's goal also sends a message to Benitez and club owner Roman Abramovitch, as the England stalwart has not been offered a contract extension and reportedly isn't going to get one.

16 mins: Szczesny apparently brings down Ramires down as the Chelsea player heads for goal, though referee Atkinson lets the Arsenal keeper off with a yellow card rather than a red. Frank Lampard steps up to take the spot kick and makes no mistake.

16 mins: GOAL! Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0

16 mins: PENALTY! For Chelsea

11 mins: Hazard has a couple of shots but neither looks dangerous.

10 mins: Cazorla breaks away for Arsenal and his rocketed shot wins "Ooohs" from the crowd. However, Cech in the Chelsea goal scoops it up.

8 mins: Arsene Wenger is furious, apparently not just at the goal but at a foul by Ramires, who stamped on Coquelin's foot, very effectively letting Chelsea through for Mata to score.

7 mins: Juan Mata puts the home side ahead with a diagonal run and just one-two-three touches of the ball before firing home over Szczesny.

6 mins: GOAL! Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0

5 mins: Walcott slips a cross to Giroud at centre forward but he fails it off to the right of net.

4 mins: Torres has had his hair cut much shorter. He looks a lot better but will it improve his goal scoring touch?

3 mins: Mertesacker brings down Torres, who wins a free kick. Lampard's kick fails to penetrate the Arsenal penalty area.

1330 GMT: Chelsea kick off and go on the attack.

1329 GMT: I hope Benitez has a warm thermal vest on, under his thin-looking suit.

1328 GMT: Sleet has been falling across London all day but the pitch is clear of slush and looks to be in good condition. Nor has the cold weather dampened the roar from the Chelsa fans despite disagreements with the manager.

1325 GMT: Benitz tells Sky TV he chose Torres rather than Ba to start the match because: "He's a good player. Hopefully he can score goals."

Asked why he left John Terry on the bench despite his availability after injury, the Chelsea boss said: "Ivanovic is doing well."

1323 GMT: Benitez, already a hate figure at the Bridge following his time with rivals Liverpool, has been unable to win over his club's fans since arriving as successor to the popular Roberto Di Matteo in November.

Their stormy relationship hit a new low on Wednesday when the Blues squandered a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw against Southampton, a result that continued Chelsea's miserable form at the Bridge this season.

1322 GMT: Chelsea have won just one of their last seven home league matches. That sole success was an 8-0 win over Aston Villa under Benitez's guidance, but the Spaniard has also overseen embarrassing defeats against QPR and Swansea.

1321 GMT: With Arsenal six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who host Manchester United on Sunday, and eight adrift of third-placed Chelsea, a victory would be a major boost to Wenger's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

1319 GMT: Under fire Fernando Torres also gets a start for Chelsea, with Benitez leaving in form Demba Ba on the subs' bench. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, however, opts to use his own in-form star, Jack Wilshere, from the kick off.

13:17 GMT: Two players with new contracts will put themselves in the spotlight: Theo Walcott for Arsenal, now said to be on 100,000 pounds a week, and Chelsea's ashley Joe Cole, expected to sign a one-year contract extension on Monday.

1314 GMT: Teams: Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Oscar, Hazard, Mata, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Marin, Terry, Demba Ba, Bertrand, Ake.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Coquelin, Diaby, Walcott, Wilshere, Cazorla, Giroud. Subs: Mannone, Koscielny, Andre Santos, Ramsey, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Frimpong.

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Welcome to AFP's Live Report on the Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea, struggling to impress under new manager Rafa Benitez, and London rivals Arsenal, battling to remain high enough in the table to retain their Champions League place.

About the author

Writer: AFP
Position: News agency